Mobile Billing – The Most Popular Offer Flows Explained

Offers and landing pages don’t all have the same performance. Indeed, their performance depends on the offer’s flow, country, operator’s requirements, market niche and even internet connection.

This means that – even in the same country – conversion rates can vary. In this article, you’ll check what impacts the conversion of different offers. Moreover, you’ll get to know the most popular offer flows.

When users find strategically placed banner ads on a website, they sometimes click them.

Immediately after, the offer displayed will vary according to the billing option activated.

Direct Billing Flow

Some carriers are able to identify the MSISDN automatically (the mobile number which identifies the mobile user), and the billing is made directly.

This means the money is taken directly from a cellphone’s balance. This flow is usually associated with the 3G connection, but it’s always determined by the billing system of the carrier.


Another important factor that affects the performance of a direct billing campaign is the type of opt-in the operator requires!

Single Opt-in

Users only need to confirm they accept the subscription service once. This means users reach the landing page, click the confirmation button and get subscribed.

Double Opt-in

Users confirm they agree to subscribe to the service. Then, they’ve gotta confirm again.

This means that – in this case – after users answer affirmatively on the webpage, they’re asked to confirm the subscription to the service for a second time.

They can either confirm on the landing page or by clicking on a link sent by SMS. Only after the second confirmation will users be subscribed.

As a matter of fact, this flow will have a lower conversion rate than the single opt-in, because the subscription process has one more step.

SMS Billing Flow

For this flow, users need to send or insert their mobile phone number in order for the carrier system to identify the MSISDN, as it’s not automatically recognized. This flow is commonly associated with the Wi-Fi connection.

In the SMS billing flow, some operators require users to send a message to a specific number (MO) or receive a pin code by SMS.

Then, this code has to be inserted by users on the landing page (MT).

Mobile Originated (MO)

Some countries and/or operators only allow users to be subscribed if they send an SMS message from their mobile phone number.

This is called the MO billing system, which means the SMS message is originated in the user’s mobile phone.

In this case, users reach a landing page. Then, a box appears, showcasing a number that’s usually referred to as LA (large account) or short code. This is where users need to send an SMS message with a keyword. Users only get subscribed after the SMS message has been sent.

This type of flow is usually associated with one-shot offers, in which users are charged only at the moment they send the SMS.

For some advertisers and/or devices, apart from a message appearing on the landing page containing all the necessary info, an SMS box with the user’s mobile phone can be opened. There, the keyword and LA will already be filled.

This is called the Click-to-SMS flow. In this instance, the conversion rate is much higher than in a traditional MO flow.


Mobile Terminated (MT)

This is a whole other flow! In fact, when users reach the landing page, the latter will showcase an empty box.

The idea?

For users to insert their mobile phone number.

If the mobile phone number is correct (based on the confirmation from the offers’ provider) users will receive a pin code in an SMS message for the number they’ve inserted.

When the pin code is confirmed, users get subscribed to the offer.

This is the MT flow, which refers to a message that’s sent to a mobile handset. For this flow, the conversion rate is higher than for MO.


Due to the fact that – for the latter – users actually have to send an SMS message from their mobile phone number. This means it’s obviously a more expensive service.

With the MT flow, the process is easier than with the MO.


The two flows described above will have different performances on the campaigns.

While the direct billing flow only requires a confirmation to the service, the SMS billing flow means users have to insert their personal info or send an SMS message.

As it’s more obvious to the user that they’ll be charged, the conversion rate for SMS billing is much lower than for the direct billing flow.

The payment for a conversion can also vary according to whether it’s CPA or CPI.

CPA is used for subscription services and it means cost per acquisition, action or conversion, while CPI is the payout for each app install.

Credit Card Billing

For some mobile offers, namely dating products, the billing option is usually made by credit card, which means users need to insert their credit card info in order to create their profile.

Some dating offers are based on subscription services, where the payment is on a CPA basis and users get access to private chats.

For this flow, the payout of an offer usually varies, according to whether it’s CPL or CPS.

CPL or PPL refers to cost per lead. This means the payment is made as soon as the profile is created on the offer. CPS or PPS stands for cost-per-sale. It occurs when users are effectively charged by the service.

For CPS campaigns, the conversion rate will be lower and the payout is normally higher.


Two reasons!

First: users may not be willing to introduce their personal data, such as credit card info.

Second: the process is clearer – users know full-well that they’re gonna be charged!

Final Notes

In fact, there are a lot of possible combinations for an offer flow.

If the conversion process is shorter, the conversion rate of a campaign will be higher.

The same is true for the opposite. This means that the longer the conversion submission, the lower the conversion  rate. Easy!

That’s why you can promote an offer for the same vertical and for the same country with performances which are completely different.

This is also why you find such diverse payouts for different operators/carriers in the exact same country!

And all these elements are simply impossible to control!

What to do?

You can only be aware of them and manage your campaigns accordingly!

Make it rain!


Mobile billing is exciting but you’re probably bursting with questions!

Ask them now and I’ll answer soon!

Helena - APAC Expert

  • Will Batts

    Very well written article. Thank You

  • Jesse