Monday, June 22, 2009

Tagga Interactive SMS Campaigns

Tagga is a new SMS service that made it easy for individuals to set up free interactive SMS campaigns. Since then the company has shifted gears, changing its business model to help larger marketing agencies (the sort with actual budgets) set up their campaigns. Now the company has closed a $400,000 funding round led by a number of independent investors out of the US, Canada, and the UK.

Tagga’s core service remains largely the same: pick out a shortcode (we’ll use ‘TECH’ for this example), and then invite people to send ‘TECH’ to 82442, Tagga’s special phone number. You decide what these vistors receive after opting in, with messages that can include things like an invitation to check out your website or an interactive poll.

Tagga’s intial business model was to append ads to the end of its outgoing messages. CEO Amielle Lake says that the company swapped models in November after finding that advertisers weren’t yet biting at the chance to appear at the end of the texts. What the company did notice, however, was that some of North America’s 30,000 advertising agencies needed a good way to manage SMS campaigns and had no idea how to do it.

Thus, the new Tagga Agency Platform was born. The company now helps marketing agencies create SMS-based campaigns, allowing them to schedule when they’d like their messages sent out, create voting campaigns, and build mobile websites. The service also takes care of any issues involved with carrier fees and device problems. Lake says that 12 advertising firms have signed up for the service, and that some US government representatives are building SMS campaigns as well.