Do you know how well your SMS marketing campaigns are performing?

There are some key metrics SMS marketers have to keep track of knowing where all your figures fall is part of running the most successful campaign possible. 

If you’re not sure how to measure your SMS marketing success, no need to worry . This guide will walk you through

  • Key metrics to measure for success.
  • How to benchmark SMS campaigns.
  • What to test to improve your campaigns.

Let’s get started.

8 Key SMS marketing campaign metrics to measure.

1) Click-through rate

Your click-through rate is the percentage of SMS recipients who clicked on a link in your text. This is an important metric to monitor because getting subscribers to click a link and take action is the goal of your campaign.

(Total Clicks / Delivered Messages) x 100

If your CTR is high, it means your text is relevant to recipients. If it’s low, it could mean recipients are finding your message or offer less relevant. Measuring CTR is the first step towards improving your campaign and getting the desired actions from subscribers.

2) Delivery rate

Your SMS delivery rate is the percentage of text messages sent that reached a subscriber’s inbox.

(# Delivered Texts / Total # of Texts Sent ) x 100

It’s easy to waste money sending to bad numbers like landlines, disconnected or Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP numbers. If your SMS marketing software provider doesn’t build smart systems to handle these; you’ll waste usage limits and money.

3) Reply rate

Your reply rate is the percentage of people who respond to your text. If the goal of a specific message in your campaign is getting a response from recipients, you want to measure the response rate.

(# Unique Replies / # Delivered Messages) x 100

Reply rates show how engaged your subscribers are. It also tells you how effective your message is. Does it encourage your receiver to respond? Is the CTA powerful enough? Reply rates are also significant because it facilitates lead generation — you can use it to understand which subscribers are loyal, so you can move forward with them in a more strategic way.

4) Unsubscribe rate

Your unsubscribe rate is the percentage of your SMS recipients who unsubscribed during a campaign. This happens when a recipient responds with “STOP” or “UNSUBSCRIBE” to your messages.

(# Opt-Outs / # Subscribers at Campaign Start) x 100

There are numerous reasons people unsubscribe from your SMS list. Rates can be high when subscribers no longer find your messages valuable. Or if you send too many messages, if subscribers don’t recognize your business, or if your texts are misleading or questionable.

5) Conversion rate

Your conversion rate is the percentage of recipients who took the desired action from your text message.

(# Conversions / # Messages Sent) x 100

What affects conversion rate typically happens after someone clicks-through the link in your message. For example, if a conversion in your campaign means booking a demo, you want to make sure your website is optimized for scheduling. If you’re running an abandoned cart campaign, you want to make it easy for customers to recover their purchase.

6) Acquisition cost

Your acquisition cost is the amount of money you spend to win a new customer.

Total Campaign Expenses / Total New Customers

High acquisition costs could mean many different things. If you don’t target the right audience, it’ll be more expensive to acquire customers. If you don’t segment lists, you may be sending the wrong message to the wrong audience, which results in higher costs. Knowing your acquisition cost, you can find ways to improve your campaigns to boost conversions and sales.

7) Campaign ROI

Your campaign ROI is the overall return on investment from your SMS campaign.

(Total Sales – Total Investment) / Total Investment

Measuring SMS ROI is similar to measuring the ROI of any marketing campaign. The problem is knowing when to measure the return on investment, for example, a text message today could affect your results a year from now.

8) List growth rate

Your list growth rate refers to how your subscriber list has grown over time.

New Subscribes – Unsubscribes / Total Subscribers Over Campaign

If you aren’t growing your SMS list, you won’t get far with your marketing efforts. People unsubscribe, they could go cold or change phone numbers. You want to keep running campaigns to grow your list at a reasonable rate.

5 Steps to Benchmark SMS Marketing Success.

Benchmarking your current SMS marketing performance is essential if you want to measure the success of any campaign. It helps put your SMS data in context, so you can better understand what’s working and where you may need to improve.

Here are five steps to benchmark your SMS marketing success you can take today:

1) Chart campaigns

The first step is to look at past campaigns from 3-12 months ago and chart the metrics mentioned above. At minimum, you want to track response rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and ROI.

Chart data so that it’s continuous over time and can help you spot trends in data at specific intervals or over time.

2) Determine averages

Your next step is to calculate the average of the campaign metrics in Step 1. Add up each of your values for the metrics, then divide that number by the total amount of SMS campaigns sent during that period.

For example, if you sent four campaigns that received 29%, 24%, 31%, and 35% click-through rates, your average click-through rate would be (29 + 24 + 31 + 35) / 4, which equals 29.75%.

3) Find outliers

After you determine averages, look for outliers in your charts.

Outlier on graph

Image via Math Open Reference

Image via Math Open Reference[/caption]

Say you have an average response rate of 32%, but one campaign message saw a 63% response rate. You can see why the rate was so high and replicate it, so that you can improve the response rate of future campaigns.

4) Discover patterns

When looking for patterns in your campaign data, ask some of the following questions:

What trends am I seeing over time?

Do specific campaign types tend to do better than others?

What messages are people responding to?

Identify any links between your data and use it to improve your next campaign.

5) Set baselines and goals

Last but not least, set baseline goals for your SMS marketing metrics. You want to compare campaigns, see what works (and what doesn’t) so you can ditch the bad ones and improve the good ones.

For example, let’s say one of your messages had a high response rate compared to your baseline. You’d want to take a look at that message and understand why it did so well. Was it your messaging? The offer? When you know what works, you can improve it for the future.

What to test to improve your SMS campaigns.

Now you know what key metrics to look after and how to benchmark your success, let’s look at some ways to improve these metrics and get better results from your campaigns.

1) Topic

What you talk about in your text message can have a significant impact on response rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.

Aim to tag new subscribers and segment them in your lists based on interests, behaviors, or how they subscribed to your list. You can use this information to send subscribers more relevant offers and messages that get clicks.

Once you segment your subscribers, it’s important to keep monitoring their activity. Paying attention to what they respond to (and what they don’t) can help improve your SMS campaign and create better products and services for your customers.

2) Call-to-action (CTA)

As with any marketing campaign, a strong CTA is a key to generating clicks and conversions. But how do you know which CTA works best?

Although your CTA is just a few words, it needs to provide value, get attention, and create urgency. Examples of CTA’s you can test are:

Book Now

Shop Now

Click Here


Text to Win

Show this text (for brick-n-mortar retailers)

3) Timing

The time you send a text can affect response rates and click-through rates. If you send a text at the wrong time, for example, for a free pizza promo at 9:30 AM, you’ll notice engagement rates are much lower.

Research suggests that 29% of businesses identified anytime — followed by weekdays between 09:00 to 12:00, and 12:00 to 15:00 — as the best time to send a text to subscribers.

Although timing can depend on many factors, it’s important to test and track what times people better engage with your messages, so you can improve SMS performance.

4) Offers

You’ll also want to test different offers to see how it impacts click-through rates and conversions.

To improve your SMS performance, send compelling offers that inspire action. Here are some examples:

Extra reward points or cash

Bonus upgrade on trial basis

Discount on next purchase

Free product

Additional samples

To make your offers even stronger, consider surveying your subscriber to find out what they like. The more relevant your offer, the better results you’ll see. Use a text message marketing template to get set up and start polling customers today.

Final thoughts

While it may take some time to set metrics and benchmark campaigns, it certainly makes sense to take a logical approach to measure success and get the best results. Plus, after you set it up once, it’ll take minutes to record and track your progress.

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