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Two Simple Ways to Track SMS Campaigns

Tracking metrics is vital for any marketing campaign. We share two ways you can track analytics to build a stronger business.

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Tracking and evaluating your SMS campaigns is the best way to get to know your audience, find what works, eliminate what doesn’t, and make your text messaging strategy the best it can be.

The biggest mistake most companies make? They put the cart before the horse. In other words, they send out several campaigns and then decide they want to track their performance.

Instead, you should plan to measure, evaluate, and analyze your campaigns from the very start. The best marketers think about measurability at every stage. 

In this article, we’re going to explain the exact steps you need to take. 

You’ll learn: 

  • The most useful key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • How to draw the best insights from measurements
  • How to evaluate ongoing performance

Ready? Let’s go. 

How to Decide Which SMS Campaign Metrics to Track

To understand your audience behavior and make informed decisions on your marketing strategies, you need to track your SMS campaigns.

There are a variety of ways to measure your campaign’s success. The ones important to you are dependent on your overall business and campaign goals. 

However, as a starting point, we recommend you use the following three metrics to understand if your campaign is working:

  1. Delivery Rate

Unlike email, an SMS delivery confirmation means your text is in your recipient’s inbox. Not a junk or spam folder, the main inbox through which all of your recipient’s messages are sent and received.

Your delivery rate will let you know if any of your contacts are invalid numbers and better understand the quality of your list. 

  1. Unsubscribe Rate

If you send out a mass message or campaign to your contact list there will be people who unsubscribe.

Rather than burying your head in the sand ignoring unsubscribe rates, you should be analyzing the reason for unsubscribes. 

If it’s one or two, you can consider it par for the course. However, if it’s a high number you should start looking into your SMS content to understand why your contacts aren’t reacting to it how you’d like them to.

  1. Click-Through Rate

If you’re using SMS as a marketing channel, then chances are there’s a link in your text message that you want contacts to click.

Your CTR is a measure of what percentage of people are clicking on it. You can adjust your message and strategy according to whether you have a high or low CTR.

The good news is if you’re new to SMS campaigns, you’ll likely see an increase in CTR compared to other marketing channels. A contact list of phone numbers is more likely to be active and engaged than a list of email subscribers, simply because people spend so much time on their phones.

Of course, there are a variety of statistics you can track when building a successful SMS campaign. We suggest you start with the three metrics above and track more as you learn and grow. 

How to Track SMS Campaigns

Tracking SMS campaigns doesn’t need to be hard. In fact, you can use software and tools you’re already familiar with.

We’re going to talk you through how to track the basics using SimpleTexting’s Analytics tool, and how to collect more data with Google Analytics.

1. Use SimpleTexting Analytics to Track Your SMS Campaigns

If you’d rather stick to one tool for your SMS needs, the SimpleTexting analytics feature enables you to track, export and analyze your data.

To start with, you’ll need to be a SimpleTexting user, so sign up and start your 14-day free trial before we continue.

Unlike Google Analytics, there’s minimal setup for you to do before you start tracking analytics. 

In fact, your campaigns, keywords and auto-responses are all broken down automatically within our analytics tool. 

When you open up our dashboard, head to the Analytics tab in the bottom left of the screen.

From there, you’ll have an overview of your text message performances over the last billing cycle.

This can be edited based on the timeframe you’re looking to track. Select one of the alternate cycles to take a look at your campaign performance within different dates.

Scrolling down your screen, you’ll see a Detailed Breakdown tab, containing all of the statistics you need for full SMS campaign analysis.

SimpleTexting has already divided the most important data for you, enabling you to have a thorough overview of the analytics you should be considering.

If you’d like to take it one step further, you can also export the data using the Export CSV button, and upload it to your own analytics software instead. 

Analyzing data doesn’t have to be complicated, but keeping a track record of your campaign’s success is an important step in building a powerful marketing campaign.

2. Use Google Analytics to Track Revenue of SMS Campaigns

If you’re looking to take your analytics to the next level, you’ll need Google Analytics (GA).

Love it or hate it, GA is currently the foundation for tracking revenue generated from specific digital marketing campaigns. 

If you have GA but rarely log in, we understand. There’s a lot of information in there, and it can be off-putting for novice users. If you don’t currently have GA set up, this tutorial from Moz will help you get started. 

When it comes to metrics, GA is the most effective way to understand your revenue sources. 

To see revenue figures in GA, you’ll first need to enable e-commerce data in your analytics reports. To do this, log-in to Google Analytics and access your settings. 

Navigate to the “View column” and then click “Ecommerce Settings”.

Screenshot of Google Analytic's settings page

Once there, ensure that “Enable Ecommerce” is on, as shown below:

The exact technical set-up of your e-commerce tracking will largely depend on the e-commerce platform you are using. 

For all of the major players, the implementation process is reasonably straightforward. Here are some platform-specific guides:

For other platforms, it can get pretty technical, but if you are up for the challenge, you can find Google’s implementation guide here.

Using Google’s Campaign URL Builder

Google’s campaign URL builder is every data-savvy marketer’s secret weapon. It’s a free tool that enables you to quickly build a custom URL for each of your digital marketing campaigns, including SMS. 

Contained within each URL are pieces of information you set, that are subsequently communicated to your GA account. For example, if you are sending customers emails, you can see the exact emails that lead to purchases. Here is an example of Google’s URL builder in action:

Once you have inputted the above parameters, the tool then generates the following URL:

The campaign is SimpleTexting, the medium is SMS, and the campaign name is welcome_offer. This URL tells Google Analytics that your visitor has come on to your website via your welcome offer SMS. 

This Google Sheet can help you build AND keep your URLs naming conventions organized. The latter is crucial if you want to have an easier time making sense of the subsequent data.

Once you are ready to include the link in an actual SMS, you will need to use our Link Shortener feature. Shortened links look much sleeker in the message you send, plus you’ll use fewer characters. Link shortening leaves you more characters to create click-worthy campaign content.

Viewing Your New Data

To view the campaign data, all you need to do is access GA, go to Acquisition, and then click on “All Campaigns”:

Once you are in All Campaigns, find the campaign source that you set. In the example above, the campaign was “SimpleTexting”. 

You can click on that to see the campaign medium (SMS). Then click on it again to see the individual campaigns (welcome_offer). Below is the data from the example URL we generated:

To the right, you can see your primary e-commerce data: conversion rate; the number of transactions; and revenue. 

You can also see how long users from this campaign spend on your website and the number of pages they viewed: Both are great metrics for understanding an audience’s engagement with your website.

It’s worth noting here that there can be discrepancies between other tool’s revenue data and Google Analytics. That is because these platforms do a much better job of handling canceled orders, refunds, and promotions. 

On the other hand, once a customer is served a confirmation page, a transaction and corresponding sale are registered in GA.

How to Use the Data to Improve Your SMS Campaigns

So you’ve gathered the data, but what happens next? You need to utilize your findings to your advantage. 

Here’s what you can do to see an improvement in your SMS campaigns.

  1. Adjust Your Messaging

If you’re familiar with A/B testing, you should also be applying it to your SMS campaigns. 

A/B testing is when you send out two different varieties of the same message. Using different lengths or different types of language, you discover which message performs the best with your target audience.

Even if your SMS campaigns are performing well, you’ll never know how a change in message could improve your campaign until you try.

You could:

  1. Move the URL link to a different place within the message
  2. Make the language more informal or formal
  3. Add emojis or images to your messages
  4. Adjust the length of your text message

Trial and error is the only way to find the messaging campaign that works best for your audience. 

  1. Change Your Messaging Times and Frequency

Do you have a strict campaign schedule? If so, it may be time to become a little more unpredictable.

If you find your SMS campaigns are performing better on some days than others, start to adjust your campaign to suit your audience. 

Rather than send a message at 5PM, why not try sending one out at 7AM. If you text your subscribers every day, find out what happens if you drop to every other day.

Surprising your customers with a last-minute offer or deal is a great way to re-engage them. Adjustments as easy as changing your schedule could make all the difference to your campaign’s success.

  1. Update Your Contact List

The average text message has a 98% open rate. If you’re averaging far below this, you likely have an outdated list of subscribers.

It could be for a number of reasons; they don’t need your services, they’re no longer in your area or they aren’t your customers anymore.

Sometimes, the best answer is to spring clean your contact list and start again. It’s better to message 50 active, engaged subscribers than 250 inactive ones.

Use your new data analysis tools to better understand what’s working and what isn’t. If things aren’t going your way, you now know how to adapt your strategy to what your audience wants. 

Grow Your Business With SMS Campaign Tracking

When you’re new to analyzing and tracking metrics, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. 

How you measure your analytics is up to you, the most important thing is that you do it. SMS campaigns offer an invaluable insight into what your audience wants and don’t want.

With a cohesive tracking strategy, you can understand your customers’ behavior to evolve and grow your business.

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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