Unstructured Supplementary Service Data doesn’t really help, does it?
Introduced in 1997, USSD was a protocol for mobile phones to communicate with networks for various purposes, including balance enquiries and airtime purchases. This was particularly relevant in Africa where the lack of buying power had resulted in prepaid airtime bundles, which required detailed management.
With low internet penetration at the time, USSD quickly became a transaction platform, gaining momentum and never looking back.
USSD is a rather clunky, but effective menu-based program with options to guide the user through various processes. Typically, these are airtime bundle purchases, but the menu can also lead a customer through profiling questions and can have open text fields to collect something like an email addy.
For Instance, a question is followed by a set of options and instructs them to reply with the corresponding number that aligns with their answer choice.
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Because USSD is low on data use, it works particularly well in areas with low signal strength or in a population with a predominance of Feature Phones.
So, if your target market is rural or may be budget conscious remember USSD; it still works like a bomb.