Who doesn’t love a little Hollywood gossip every once and awhile? If you do, most likely you’ve visited famed Hollywood gossip site TMZ for your fix. If you’re a true diehard fan of Hollywood gossip, you may have signed up for TMZ mobile alerts, which sends you a text message straight to your mobile device when breaking “news” happens.
Below is a recent mobile alert that TMZ sent to their subscribers about the recent legal issues Reese Witherspoon and her husband have been having in connection with a recent police stop. What I don’t understand about these TMZ mobile alerts is why they link to their mobile homepage http://m.tmz.com, when they could be linking directly to the article that they’re referencing in the text message. This has a few advantages which I elaborate on below.
1) By linking directly to the article in the text message, TMZ will see higher click through rates. Why? When people receive a text message that includes a link, they have to make a decision about if they have time to open that link, which can be impacted by that subscriber’s mobile device, internet speed, if they’re connected to wifi, etc. By not linking directly to the article mentioned in the text message, it’s pretty obvious to a subscriber that they’re going to click on the link to http://m.tmz.com, then have to search through the articles, then click on the article that was mentioned in the text message. Way too much work in my opinion, especially when a subscriber is going to make an almost split second decision if they’re going to click or not. If the subscriber doesn’t click because it seems like too much work, that means one less visitor to their website.
2) By linking directly, and using a link shortener with built in analytics, TMZ would be able to track the amount of traffic that each individual text message brings to the website, and better yet, figure out wording, phrases, topics that generate higher click-through rates. This would then help them select stories and message copy in the future that would perform the best.
3) You have to remember that people still forward text messages, but with a generic link like http://m.tmz.com, I don’t see as many subscribers forwarding these text messages, as it’s just not valuable enough to forward in my opinion. Now if each text message had a direct link to the article, I believe subscribers would be much more likely to forward the text messages, which would drive even more traffic to their mobile site.
The only reason I can think as to why they don’t link directly to each article is TMZ is trying to increase page views, by having each subscriber go to the homepage, then click through to the specific article they were interested in. That’s 2 page views compared to 1 page view, which can make a difference to overall advertising impressions. Even with that being said, I would wager with Harvey Levin that if they linked directly to the articles, this would significantly increase the click through rates from the text message alerts, and offset the loss of the additional page views.
What do you think Harvey Levin, can we get a unique link directly to the article mentioned in the text message?
Think this a good idea for TMZ mobile alerts, let me know your feedback in the comments below.