Blog/Advanced Tips, Beyond Texting

Find Out How Much Money SMS Is Making Your E-Commerce Store

Learn step by step how to track revenue from your SMS campaigns.

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Have you ever read an article on the latest and greatest marketing tool and wanted to scream, “SHOW ME THE MONEY”?

Sometimes it can seem like you’re the only one channeling your inner Jerry Maguire. (Trust us, you aren’t.) 

The problem isn’t you or your love of movies from the ’90s. The problem is that marketing attribution can be complicated, with multiple data sources and channels that occasionally tell conflicting stories. On top of that, tracking this data requires set-up, discipline, and organization.

We also know that it’s not urgent. If you don’t respond to suppliers, your products are not getting manufactured. If you don’t pay your taxes on time, you can face fines. As long as your products are selling, you can keep the lights on. Does it matter where these sales come from?

The long-and-short answer is yes. When you invest precious time and money into building marketing channels, you want to know if they are helping your bottom-line.

In the world of text marketing, there are many statistics out there that illustrate its effectiveness. Heck, one of our e-commerce customers, Baby Tula, reported a 1,668% ROI from SMS marketing.

Other e-commerce customers that we talk to reference high coupon redemption rates and increased sales. They believe text marketing is working for them, which is fantastic. But something nags at us when we hear they aren’t tracking the exact dollar-return. We know part of the story, but not all of it. 

With this in mind, we want to help e-commerce marketers find out how much money SMS is making them.

It’s not just ROI data you gain through this. Once you start tracking SMS website traffic, you can explore customer engagement and behavior on your website. Insights from this data can provide an informative feedback loop and grounds for more marketing experiments. 

In this guide, we explain the steps you need to take to track revenue from your SMS campaigns. The technique below applies to any e-commerce marketing channel, so even if you aren’t currently sending SMS, it’s worth a skim. 

If not, you have full permission to yell “SHOW ME THE MONEY” at us.

You’ll Need Google Analytics 

Love it or hate it, Google Analytics (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 is 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. 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 your e-commerce platform’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.

Automating Your Campaign Reports

Most e-commerce platforms have a report that tells you how your business is doing and what marketing channels are generating sales. The problem is that these reports stop there. You know email contributed to a certain percentage of sales, but you can’t pinpoint the exact emails that worked. As you build out your marketing operation’s sophistication, this insight matters.

Still, logging-in to yet another tool can be problematic for the time-strapped e-commerce entrepreneur. Thankfully, you can share these reports automatically via email so that you don’t have to remember to log-in to GA every week. 

Once you’ve accessed the campaign data, you can click share in the right-hand corner:

Next, click share. This pop-up will appear:

From here, you can set the frequency of the report, whom you want to send it to, and the day of the week you wish to receive it.

One Last Thing

Even though this might seem like an overwhelming amount of information, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Google Analytics has a bunch of advanced e-commerce reports that look at sales funnels, product performance, as well as attribution across multiple channels. 

Don’t be discouraged, though. It’s okay to look at basic reports when you are just starting; the other data doesn’t matter too much at this stage. 

Knowing what, and how much, different channels are contributing to your bottom-line is a gigantic leap forward. 

Once you find out how much money SMS is making your online store, be sure to let us know. 🙂

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