What’s the average SMS marketing conversion rate?

SMS marketing conversion rates can be as high as 40% for some industries. Check out our latest data to see how your text strategy stacks up.

SMS marketing conversion rates are not set in stone, and there’s little to no transparency about what the industry benchmark should be. 

You created a whole content calendar for a social media campaign? Welp, the algorithm has been updated and your strategy is no longer relevant. Were you hoping for an X% conversion rate because a 2016 study reported that it’s possible to do so? Tough luck, market conditions and purchase behaviors have changed since then. 

We get the struggle, and we know it’s never-ending. But we can do our bit to help—and that’s by publishing original research on SMS marketing that tells our readers what benchmarks they should aim for

On that note, grab a copy of our study on SMS marketing conversion rates. You can also get the key highlights of benchmarks (filtered by industries) below. 

SMS Marketing Conversion Rate Benchmarks in 2024
OverallBetween 21-30%
Commercial ServicesBetween 21-30%
ConstructionBetween 21-30%
Consumer ServicesBetween 11-20%
E-commerce/Retail Between 11-20%
EducationBetween 21-30%
FinanceHigher than 20%
HealthcareHigher than 20%
Manufacturing Between 21-30%
Technology Between 31-40%

Before diving in further, here’s a quick 101 on SMS conversion rates: Simply put, it’s the number of customers who take a desired action (like purchase, signup, or provide customer feedback) after you send SMS texts. 

(We’ll also cover how to calculate SMS conversion rates below.) 

How to calculate the conversion rate for SMS marketing

In our latest study, we also uncovered that customers spend most of their time on their phones checking text messages —-  even more time than they spend scrolling social media apps, listening to music, or writing emails. 

This is why it comes as no surprise that brands like Whisker Seeker routinely seek a 25% conversion rate on their SMS promotions and companies like Toroe Eyewear have focused on increasing their e-commerce store’s conversion rate by 200% using text marketing. 

You can achieve these results, too. If you want to understand how well your SMS marketing campaigns fare in the grand scheme of things, here’s how to calculate key metrics:

  • SMS Click-Through Rate: (Total Clicks/Total Messages Sent For a Campaign) x 100%
  • SMS Conversion Rate: Number of Desired Actions/Total Messages Sent For a Campaign
  • Cost Per Acquisition: (Total Cost/Number of Purchases or Sign-ups) x 100%

How to increase your SMS marketing conversion rate

In a world where people spend an average of 40 hours a week on their mobile phones, most of which check SMS within 5 minutes of receiving them, your mobile marketing strategy should include bulk SMS marketing.

Here are a few tips on how to convert more text message recipients.

1. Include a clear call to action (CTA)

Even though text messages are short, you need to communicate what you want your recipient to do quickly and clearly. The call to action should be immediately apparent to your recipient. No clever wordplay or unnecessary words are needed here.

Most phones only display the first few words of a text message in the phone’s messaging app. This means it’s essential to communicate what the text is about in the first sentence. Otherwise, you risk your customers deleting the message before they even read it.

For example, a sweet and simple promotional SMS like this one will do the trick too:

A promotional text message with a clear CTA
Short message from UrbanClap that has a direct and clear CTA

2. Personalize your message

As a marketer, you know that personalization matters. One study from Marketing Charts found that visitors who viewed three pages of personalized content converted at double the rate as those who only saw two pages with customized elements. 

While personalizing web content and landing pages can be a complicated undertaking, it’s not hard to send personalized texts. A lifestyle brand may decide to address customers by their first names, whereas a financial services company may wish to use a title and surname for a more professional feel. With SimpleTexting, you can do both.

A text message that's been personalized with the subscriber's name
Text message from Nykaa that uses personalization as a tactic to engage with users (i.e., the customer name is added at the start of the copy).

3. Send texts by contact interests and behavior

One of the biggest issues with SMS conversion is that messages can feel a bit too similar—there’s no uniqueness separating your text from your competitor’s. 

To tackle this, send targeted and segmented messages to your audience. For example, if you have information about a customer’s location, purchase preference, buying patterns, or any other data from previous interactions, you can use that information to your advantage. 

A text message targeted to a specific customer
Text message from Vodafone that uses personalization as a tactic to engage with users (i.e., the customer name is added at the start of the copy).

You can collect user data with SimpleTexting. Our software lets you save user notes, full names, contact details, birthdates, and other such details through which you can segment your lists and personalize your campaigns. 

“We appreciated the ability to make it conversational, where guests are asked to reply back with their email and then that information is stored. That’s what set SimpleTexting apart for us.”
Erin Corcoran

Erin Corcoran

Director of Technology, Mendocino Farms

[Side Note: Another way you can stand out from the crowd is by using your unique brand voice and visuals. For example, if you have a witty voice on all other channels but SMS, it’s time to replicate that voice on text messages, too. Or, if you only use branded visuals for other marketing communications, then the same needs to be done for SMS, too.]
A text showing off a brand's unique voice and tone
Example of an SMS by Larry Kim that uses a unique brand voice to engage with its subscribers

4. A/B test your messages to see what works

Brands that run A/B tests for email campaigns report a 37% higher email marketing ROI than brands that don’t run any A/B tests. The same is likely true for SMS campaigns. 

(If you’re interested, this article will walk you through how to run an A/B test to improve your SMS marketing.)

While you don’t need fancy software to test out every minor element in your SMS, a major change (e.g., changing your offer) will allow you to test out the impact of different offers on conversion rates:

A diagram showing how an A/B test should look
Example of an A/B test with two different offers (one offer promises a 10% discount, the other promises free shipping)

One SimpleTexting customer independently ran a test to determine whether including a photo using MMS increases the click-through rate:

An A/B test including an SMS and MMS message
Two variations of an A/B test, one without any image, the other one with an image of a dish

They found that the campaign with an image had a CTR that was 52% higher than the campaign with no image.

5. Make your offers feel exclusive 

An older 2018 study revealed that American customers are 94% more likely to opt for an exclusive offer over other perks like price matching and VIP service. 

The same insights can be true for today, too, as even in recent years, more than 57% of customers believe that a brand’s effort to build a relationship is a big driver in developing customer loyalty. 

This is why we recommend creating exclusive offers for your customers (e.g., early access to a sale, promotional offer, product launch, etc.) to allow them to have an emotional connection with your brand. 

A text from Coach that highlights a text-exclusive deal
Example of a text message from Coach that promises exclusive access to the preview of an end-of-season sale

In fact, brands like Glossier have taken this advice one step further and created exclusive micro-communities with their top brand loyalists. In these communities, customers get access to early product launches and freebies in return for honest feedback. 

6. Send regular reminders

Your customers have a thousand things on their minds. It’s entirely possible that purchasing from your brand (even though they might have added products to their cart) has slipped their minds. 

Hey, we’ve all been there!

To prepare for these situations, create abandoned cart messages and workflows and send your customers reminders about what they’re missing out on. 

Pro Tip: Many companies often tend to club these text messages with exclusive offers like free shipping or discounts. 

7. Don’t forget about your landing pages

Last but not least, if you regularly see high click-through rates but low conversions, the problem might not be with your SMS campaigns but rather with your landing page. 

To ensure your landing pages result in decent conversions, here are a few things you can do:

  • Ensure your SMS offer and your landing page offer match.
  • Check if your site is optimized for mobile phones (since customers are likely to be on their phones when reading text messages). 
  • Verify if you have a clear CTA with minimal distractions on your landing page. 
  • Analyze if there’s anything disrupting user experience (e.g., long website load times, multiple form fields when purchasing a product, no trust signals or social proof on the landing page, etc.). 

Alternatively, if you’re unsure what your click-through rates and conversion rates should look like, especially for your industry, you can grab those insights in the report: Access SMS Marketing Conversion Rate Report

Get ideal SMS conversion rates with SimpleTexting

I’ll cut to the chase: You need an SMS tool to implement the tactics mentioned above, and we happen to have a solution that has delivered results for brands like Target, Chik-fil-A, Nissan, Allstate, and more. 

And we’d like to help you out. 

You don’t need to commit to anything just yet, but you can sign-up for a free 14-day trial to see how SimpleTexting works in action. 

Alternatively, if you have any questions about SMS marketing conversion rates, feel free to book a demo and chat with our team on the topic!