An introduction to the frequently misunderstood and grossly underestimated PIN Submit
Mobile has been one of the driving factors behind the growth of digital advertising over the last decade. In fact, one might name it simply the driving factor.
It has grown so much, so quickly that it now makes up a substantial percentage of total spending on digital advertising. In many nations, it is the majority. This is largely due to the Mobile Apps revolution that quickly followed the introduction of smartphones.
Normally, when an affiliate or advertiser thinks of mobile advertising, he thinks of in-app and mobile web. The former being advertisements placed directly in smartphone applications (a huge plus since it gives the advertiser access to Apple and Google’s device tracking identifiers). The latter is simply an in-browser ad designed for mobile screen dimensions.
However, there is another side of mobile advertising that is oft forgotten nowadays. And that is the PIN Submit.
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It goes by many names
You’ll find that the PIN Submit has many names and marches under many banners.
It might be called Mobile Content, PIN Submit, Mobile Offer, or Premium SMS.
Premium SMS is perhaps the most descriptive because it highlights the primary difference between it and other forms of mobile advertising – it depends on old school SMS.
It’s a different way to engage – but it’s still similar to what you know
SMS is generally not what comes to mind when one thinks of mobile advertising in 2019. However, in this particular case, it is still extremely effective. Why?
- Almost all smartphones can still receive SMS messages
- It’s far easier than most other forms of payment (like a Credit Card)
But be careful – PIN Submit is not SMS advertising.
Above all, it is an easy and painless means of payment for mobile users (or simply users with a mobile phone – and that’s everyone).
One of the most interesting and appealing aspects of PIN Submit offers is convenience.
In order to actually get money from a customer, one generally needs him to give some kind of payment information. This is often his credit card number, his Paypal, or any number of modern digital payment options.
This process is quite a hassle. Worse, it gives lukewarm customers a long pause wherein they can rethink and reconsider. Is this something I really need? Is it something I really want? Jeez they need my credit card…
The payment page is generally the deadliest part of any funnel since it’s the part that actually asks the customer for something other than their time.
PIN Submits offer a very elegant solution to this problem.
Rather than requiring users to pull out a credit card or enter other kinds of payment information, PIN Submits require a simple cellphone number.
Usually, the user doesn’t need to input anything more. No credit card number, no address, no security code, no expiration date, just a simple cellphone number.
One of the primary benefits here is that just about everyone knows their phone number offhand, while very few can rattle off all their credit card number.
So how, then, does a customer pay for a service?
When the user is presented with a mobile PIN Submit ad, and they decide that they’d like to make a purchase, they type in their phone number. Then they (usually) receive a text with a PIN code that they need to type out in their web browser to confirm that they’d like to make this purchase.
Once that is done, the payment is made automatically.
Through their cellular contract
The user will convert instantly, but they won’t pay until later that month when they receive their cell bill. There, they’ll see the invoice for whatever service that they paid for using PIN submit.
Paying for online purchases later on their phone bill is something to which most smartphone users are accustomed, as it is one of the default ways to pay for apps in the App Store.
For the online marketer, this system can be the ideal payment method for certain (generally low cost) services and products.
And due to the ease of payment, conversion rates can be extremely high.
Somewhat aggressive to super aggressive
There are multiple different kinds of PIN submit, each requiring a different payment flow.
The one described above is known as an “MT Flow.” This means that the user has to type in his phone number, then receive a text with a PIN code, and then put the PIN code back into the site to confirm the purchase.
Another common PIN Submit flow doesn’t actually involve a PIN. With the so-called “MO Flow,” the user simply puts his phone number in and is sent a text message. He then simply has to respond (via SMS) to this text message in order to confirm his purchase.
Naturally, this is a much simpler conversion flow and, therefore, a bit more aggressive. But it’s far from the most aggressive PIN Submit strategy.
The most aggressive is known as Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number or MSISDN.
MSISDN is a payment flow that places a charge on a user’s cellular bill with no more confirmation than a button click or even just a page visit on his mobile phone.
Naturally, this is extremely aggressive and prone to abuse. For this reason, regulations make this payment structure untenable in a lot of Western countries.
Further, even when it is allowed, it can be a real risk to the user, as he might not know that he purchased a given good or service and could be quite angry should he find an inexplicable charge on his monthly bill.
For this reason, you should be very explicit about what action leads to a charge when presenting your offer to the user.
However, if used correctly and in a region where they are allowed, they can be extraordinarily profitable if only because the conversion flow is push-button. It asks very little effort of the user, which naturally means that the conversion rate is much higher.
What kinds of offers?
Since PIN Submit is, in essence, nothing more than a specific way to make payments, there are a diverse number of offers available.
However, there are two things to keep in mind regarding PIN Submit offers.
One, they are often of relatively low-value in terms of payout. The most comparable thing today would probably be the purchasing of apps for your phone. Think about the average cost. It’s relatively low, right? Well, it’s the same for PIN Submit offers. PIN Submit offers will often be phone wallpapers, ringtones, games, smartphone utilities, one-off astrology readings, etc.
Most of these aren’t going to have very high price points, so likewise, payout will be relatively low. But conversion is relatively easy given the simple and painless way of making the payment.
The second thing to keep in mind is that most of these offers are network specific. That is to say, that successful conversion is only possible on a certain cellular network.
Careful about networks
Mobile PIN Submit offers aren’t that much more complicated than other kinds of offers. However, there is another aspect of targeting that needs to be taken into account when running PIN submit offers.
Why? Well, the means of payment depends on the network itself. When the user converts, the purchase is added to his phone bill. This means that there needs to be a certain level of integration and compliance between the entity making the actual offer (and therefore placing the charge) and the network itself that eventually passes the cost onto the user at the end of the month.
For this reason, these offers are often only valid on a given cellular network in a given geographic area.
Low risk of fraud
There’s another huge benefit to PIN Submit offers that hasn’t been mentioned yet, and that is that there is a very low risk of fraud. Due to the conversion/payment flow and the fact that the payment is immediately placed on an actual user’s bill, there is a very limited risk of fraud.
This means that PIN Submit offers can be run in geographic areas that are generally problematic due to high rates of fraud.
Where are these still good strategies?
So, where would one run a PIN Submit offer in 2019 and beyond?
In many western countries, they have been heavily regulated and can be rather difficult to run effectively. The old mainstays of PIN Submit offers (wallpapers, ringtones, horoscopes, etc.) have all moved onto the App Store.
This isn’t to say that PIN Submit offers in the West aren’t worth running, just that you have to be very careful in choosing them.
But the best place to run such offers is in areas like Sub-Sarahan Africa and certain parts of Southeast Asia.
These places tend to have two characteristics that make PIN Submit offers quite attractive.
First of all, PIN Submit payments are not too heavily regulated (though there are generally still compliance concerns to which you’ll have to conform).
Secondly, in these regions, the cellphone is the primary portal into the wider web. It is the main point of contact with eCommerce, and purchasing small items through PIN Submits is still quite common.
PIN Submits may seem a bit old school, but they deserve more attention. While most affiliates and Ad Networks have moved onto something else, a properly placed and well-targeted PIN Submit offer can be extremely profitable.
It’s simply a matter of finding the right offer for the right telecom network in the right GEO!
Naturally, it’s a lot of work, and there are more moving parts than usual, but more Ad Networks and affiliates should give the old PIN Submit a try.
PIN Submits are offers that have a payment flow that is cellphone-dependant and adds a charge to the buyer’s cellphone bill rather than requiring him to enter his credit card information. While there are different flows, the general one is to type out one’s phone number, receive a text with a PIN, and then put that pin back in the site to confirm the purchase.
This means of payment makes conversion significantly easier and also greatly lowers the risk of fraud.
On the other hand, PIN Submits are highly regulated in most Western countries and only function on certain telecom networks. So one has to be able to target users with a certain cellular provider in a certain geographic area.
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