I’ve been receiving promotional SMS messages from iLoop Mobile. Their “iLoop Market” program is intended to showcase mobile campaigns that iLoop thinks are good and interesting. Last week’s iLoop Market offering arrived on-time and on-schedule. Here’s what they like:
So far so good. I tap the url (http://super8.mtiny.mobi), which looks like it was made for mobile so my expectations start to rise (seriously, few sites are actually made for mobile). Here’s what I see as I hold my phone in the ‘normal’ (i.e., vertical) position:
Hmm. Made for mobile? Doesn’t look like it. I try rotating the phone to check the horizontal view – maybe it was made for a wider screen (e.g., iPad)?
Hmm. The sky and clouds. I scroll down to see the menu I already caught a glimpse of a second ago.
This is starting to look better. It fits the width of the screen nicely and doesn’t require any horizontal scrolling. Though, why I had to scroll down so far to see it I don’t know. Curious about the movie I tap the VIDEO link. I’m taken to a page with the word ‘TRAILER’ and an image. I try tapping the image. The screen flickers but nothing seems to be happening. I click again. Same. Then, I notice the notifications area on the top of my phone. Something appears to be downloading. Hmm. Ok. I open the notifications screen and see that I’m downloading two copies of a file with a HUGE name that ends in ‘.tv’. I’m assuming this is a trailer for the movie. I cancel one download and 8 minutes(!) later have a video to watch.
Notice the file size – more than 5 megabytes; they could have warned me.. This video is larger than most apps I’ve downloaded. Well, I waited long enough for the download, I look forward watching it. I tap the video and a very high quality video starts to play.
Problem is, I don’t hear anything. It is a silent trailer? I put my ear closer to the phone’s speaker and while I do hear something it is soooo quiet. I have to keep my ear so close to the phone that I can’t watch at the same time. The audio is also messed up somehow. The voices sound like they are under water. I can’t understand a word.
I go back to the web site and try tapping ‘UPDATES’. A page loads that asks for my phone number, email and birthdate.
They don’t really tell me what they propose to ‘update’ me on. Hmmm. I’m on a mobile phone so I guess they’ll send stuff to my phone but why do they want my email and birthdate? Reluctantly I enter the information (though I did shave a few years off the birthdate!), check the “I hereby certify” box and tap Submit. A largely blank page loads thanking me for signing up and assuring me I’ll be the first to know about all the latest news for Super8 (apparently things will be changing often). A minute or so later I receive a text-message from 33287:
Really? They want my date of birth? I JUST entered it into the web page along with my email and mobile number! They already know my (fake) birthdate. I’m not doing this.
What could have saved this campaign?
Well before we get into how this should be fixed I want to acknowledge that I received the url from iLoop Mobile and not from Paramount. I don’t know if Paramount intended for the URL to be accessed from anything other than an iPad, on which it works well. iLoop, however, should know better than to promote such a broken experience. Is this what their clients can expect? I’m just sayin’.
First, this site needs to fit the screen in the vertical position. This is the most natural and likely position from which someone will be clicking on the url from an SMS.
Second, the image of the sky and clouds is cool but this is mobile. Get me to the content without making me scroll down. The link menu on the web site should be ‘above the fold’.
Third, the font needs additional contrast. It’s dark grey over black and some of it is very, very small. Mobile – and the inherent variety of devices/screens – calls for something more crisp and easy to read.
Fourth, use a lower quality video, and stream it rather than download it to the device; space can be precious on mobile devices. This also helps you be data-plan friendly; not all users have unlimited data and 5mb is a good size chunk of a person’s data plan. If you insist on the high quality be sure to tell people up front. Video is a challenge in the mobile environment so be sure to test on many devices and networks.
Fifth, tell users what they are going to receive updates on and by what means. The subscription page asked for both mobile number and email address. What will be sent to these? Set a clear expectation here.
Sixth, explain why you want – and require – a birthdate. Blatant and unexplained solicitation of data creates suspicion, particularly in a personal medium like mobile.
Seventh, connect the databases. The subscription page required a mobile number and a birthdate. The resulting SMS should reflect that knowledge and NOT ask for birthdate again. It should simply thank the person for subscribing and ask them to confirm by replying with “YES” or “OK”.
Eighth, test the program on multiple devices. This one worked ok on an iPad using WiFi but completely broke down on an Android phone using 3G service.