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Freemium wireless provider TextNow continues to invest heavily in TV advertising. Back in October, the company launched a TV commercial called Priceless Connections. It informed viewers that they offer an unlimited talk and text plan for $0/month. That commercial followed up two other TV commercials that TextNow had aired heavily in the earlier part of 2020. Both of those commercials also made it a point to emphasize that TextNow offers free wireless service.
And now TextNow is back at it again. Wave7 Research just reported to its subscribers that the company has launched yet another TV commercial. The ad entitled "Community Players" began airing nationwide in early December. It has already amassed over 1,000 airings which is pretty impressive for a provider that continues to emphasize that it offers free wireless service.
TextNow's new ad features a man doing a theatrical performance where tells his audience that they can get a free second number that can be used for "dating or a side hustle, buying and selling online, and calling long distance." It's a 15 second short that's airing on networks such as Fuse.
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TextNow's free plan includes unlimited nationwide talk and text over a cellular data network. It is an ad-supported plan and requires the use of the TextNow app. Customers can elect to upgrade their plan to remove the ads for $9.99/month. Plans with data begin at $19.99/month for an offering with 2GB of high-speed data and unlimited 2G with mobile hotspot. TextNow's freemium business model must be pretty successful for them to continue to run nationwide ads on TV, either that or they are doing some serious deficit spending in order to pick up new subscribers.
“It is interesting that a ‘freemium’ provider such as TextNow is advertising extensively on TV and that TextNow has been able to amass millions of views on YouTube. The MVNO thinks there’s a market for secondary phone lines for ‘side hustles’ and for giving out during online shopping.” – Jeff Moore, Principal, Wave7 Research
Is There A Digital Advertising Trend Forming In Prepaid?
A few weeks ago, BestMVNO reported that Verizon's prepaid brand Visible was amassing large numbers of views for several of its videos on YouTube. Collectively, three of the videos garnered more than 17 million views in a little over one month's time. Visible's YouTube channel only has 3.69k subscribers, so clearly they have been putting marketing dollars into those videos and serving them as ads. A Visible spokesperson confirmed to Wave7 Research that the ads have been running in "paid media channels for digital advertising." Indeed, I have seen those same videos play on PlutoTV and as video ads displayed on various websites.
In examining TextNow's YouTube channel in preparation for this article I've noticed a similar pattern as Visible's YouTube channel. TextNow has a playlist entitled "Commercials" and in it are 11 different videos. One of the videos was launched five months ago and it now has over 9 million views while another from five months ago has over 10 million views. Several others in that time span also have more than half a million views each. TextNow's YouTube channel has just 15.2k subscribers. So it's pretty safe to say that TextNow is also running "paid media channels for digital advertising." I reached out to TextNow for commentary but had not received a response by article publication time. You can check out TextNow's YouTube ad that has over 10 million views down below. It's a short, 10-second clip.
I also examined the YouTube channels of several other prepaid providers including Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, Metro By T-Mobile, Mint Mobile, and Straight Talk Wireless. All of those providers except for Straight Talk Wireless and Cricket Wireless have published videos in the last 6-months that have obtained at least half a million views each. In fact, all of them have received more than 1 million views except for Mint Mobile which released a video two weeks ago that now has nearly 600k views. Interestingly, of all the providers examined, Cricket Wireless is the only one to have more than 50k YouTube subscribers with a total count of 157k. And Boost Mobile appears to be third in digital advertising spend next to TextNow and Visible as Boost released four videos two months ago that have collectively accounted for over 14 million views. Boost's YouTube channel has 42.5k subscribers.