SMS message tracking: what is it and why should you track your SMS campaigns?

SMS marketing is a powerful but often underestimated marketing channel. Through text messages, you can get a hold of a high number of customers in a shorter period of time. But truth to be told, it is just a general statement. How can you ensure that your text message goals are reached and your SMS marketing is efficient? 

That’s where SMS tracking comes in handy. Monitoring key SMS marketing benchmarks will provide you a relevant insight into SMS performance. The Testelium team gathered the most vital insights on SMS tracking and analytics in one article. 

What is SMS tracking?

When you send an SMS, you’re reaching out directly to your customer or follower. It’s also one of the most efficient methods to connect with your client, as text messages are this type of communication that is most likely to be opened and read.

But as with any other marketing activity, sending messages is only half the story. The second one is to analyze the result and feedback on the campaign, make conclusions, and adjust your plans. These tasks are possible to execute only with SMS analytics and tracking.

There are special tools that can help you to track SMS messages. We would divide them into two categories. One of them includes tools like Google Analytics, which will analyze the engagement of customers. The second type consists of platforms like Testelium, which will track technical aspects: quality and speed of the routes, and the credibility of the delivery reports. 

Main KPIs to track your text message campaign performance

Here are the main indicators you need to pay attention to while tracking text messages.

Open rate

Open rate is the first thing you need to check. It shows the percent of people who received your message and opened it. A common belief is that SMS messages have an open rate of 98% percent — significantly higher than email, another popular marketing channel.

However, this number isn’t static and depends on other factors, like the quality audience you have chosen, time of the day the campaign was sent, etc.

Delivery rate

The delivery rate will notify you about the vitality of your subscribers’ base. When you send SMS messages, some of them may not be delivered. There are several reasons why this situation is possible (and we analyzed them in this article on delivery rate). 

It is important to find out why not all your messages reached the destination. If the number of failed deliveries is low, you may let it slide: some numbers may be disabled or your provider is facing temporary technical glitches. The average indicator for delivery rate is around 98%. So if your delivery rate is constantly lower than that you may need to look into that. 

The bad delivery rate may mean several things:

  • — a lot of numbers from your base are out of use;
  • — the quality of your texts is not satisfactory and, the messages are filtered by spam filters;
  • — your messages are sent through unreliable routes, and you need to replace your provider. 

Testelium can answer the question of how to track a text message delivery rate and notify you about fake delivery reports. Check our online SMS verification service and have control over your SMS deliveries. 

Delivery speed

As you can guess, delivery speed shows you how much time passes between the moment when SMS was sent to the moment when it appeared on the receiver’s phone. Usually, it is an insignificant amount of time, in the range of dozens of seconds. 

So why is it important to consider this indicator in your analysis of text messages? Abnormalities in delivery time may point that your messages go through suspicious routes, and this fact may seriously harm your SMS marketing. Your sender ID and future messages may be considered spam, the content you include may look different on the screen of the end-point receiver. 

Conversion rate

Before we contemplate CR or conversion rate, let’s understand what conversion rate is. Basically, a conversion is any possible action your receivers can execute. It might be a reply (although you can establish a separate KPI for it), a purchase made on your website, a sign-up to your blog. You may determine the meaning of conversion yourself, and even vary it for every other campaign. 

SMS conversion rate shows the number of subscribers that received a message and actually proceeded with the action. If it is a purchase or sign-up on the landing, you may add the UTM parameter to the link and separate the click and actions made from the SMS campaign from others. 

For example, your message was sent to 2 thousand subscribers. 5 hundred of them clicked the link, went to your website, and made a purchase. So, your conversion rate is 25%, and it is a great result! 

We consider conversion rate as one of the most essential indicators. It shows the real performance of your campaign, especially if your action is the one that brings profit, e.g. purchase or order. 

ROI for the SMS marketing campaign

Return on investment, or ROI, is definitely the most profound mark you may need in your SMS marketing analytics. It shows what percent of the spent cost was recouped and to what degree. 

To count the ROI of your SMS campaign, firstly you need to count how much money you managed to earn with its help. Calculate how many purchases were made and their value and subtract the cost of the SMS campaign. Now you have a number that shows the profit you managed to get. Divide it by the cost of your SMS campaign. The result is the percent of the ROI you got. 

Click-through rate

This indicator is relevant to track when you’re including links into your messages. The click-through rate (CTR) shows how many users of all those who received your SMS have clicked on the link and gone to its destination. SMS click rate benchmark is around 6%, and it is the highest result in comparison with email, search, and social media ads, according to Tatango and Signal. 

It is an important part of your message analytics that, along with conversion rate, can show how successful your promotion is. By the way, we have a few ideas on how to increase customer engagement with SMS.

Best reasons to use analytics & reporting

Analytic and reporting tools are a must-have for any company that takes SMS marketing seriously. Here is a set of main reasons why you should resort to them:

Deeper insight into the results of your SMS marketing

With an appropriate toolset, you will be able to track the real performance of your campaigns, the quality of the routes you use, and the behavior patterns of your clients.

Opportunity for optimization

With the relevant, real data on the performance, you can detect the bottlenecks in your campaigns, and optimize them until you reach the desired result.

Control over your delivery

Checking vital indicators like delivery reports and delivery time can help you to ensure the quality of the services that are provided by 3rd-party or operators.

How to track SMS campaigns with Google Analytics: step-by-step guide

Adding links to the SMS that you send out to your clients can be beneficial. But there is no point in doing that if you don’t analyze the clicks from the customers. And for that, Google Analytics will become really handy. 

Here are 4 steps on how you can track your campaign:

1. Select the landing page.

Before sending an SMS, you need to come up with the landing page that will appear when users press the link. It is important to tag the said page with a Universal Analytic tracking code. 

Select the landing page

2. Go to the URL Builder and create a URL.

Once you’re done with a landing page, open URL Builder, and using the input fields, add all the needed parameters to your future URL. Make sure to add “SMS” to the campaign source field if you want to see how many people are opening links from text messages that they received.

Go to the URL Builder and create a URL

3. Make the link shorter.

When you added all the parameters, you will get your link, Yet, it is highly recommended to make your URL shorter so it could fit the number of characters on the SMS.  You can use an external tool for that.

Make the link shorter
Bilty Link Shortener

4. Finally, make a test.

Send yourself a text message with your link and click it. Then, by using Real-Time reports under “Traffic Sources” you will be able to see if it actually works and if you will be able to track how many people opened the URL. 

Finally, make a test

How to track text message analytics using UTM codes

When you set up Google Analytics for your website to track the activity, there will be some parameters that will be set up by default. 

If you want to add custom categories, that’s when you need to use UTM parameters. There are 5 of those parameters that you can add: content, term, campaign, medium, and source.

Medium and Source parameters can be especially useful for your SMS campaigns. The medium allows pulling SMS campaign data and separating it from other mediums, for example, email.

The source will allow you to basically see the source of the click. Thus, if you need to check what clicks come from SMS, just set the source parameter as SMS.

Why should you use URL shortening for SMS campaigns?

If you have a lot of UTM parameters connected to your link, the link may look really long. Thus, may be really challenging attaching it to your SMS since there is a limited amount of symbols. Also, a long link may look untrustworthy to the customers, and they may not want to click it. 

Thus, a good idea will be to shorten the link. For that use, you may want to use some external link shorteners. You need to copy your full link and add it to the shortener. It will automatically convert it to the shorter link. It still will lead to the page you want. 

Using Google’s campaign URL builder

If you want to use Google’s campaign URL builder, this process is quite a piece of cake.

 The first thing you should do is to add a link that leads to your website. Then, you need to set up all the main parameters you want to track. Those could be the name, the source, and the campaign’s medium.  While you are setting up these parameters, your URL is created as you go. After that, you will get the URL that you can copy and add to your marketing campaign.

Using Google’s campaign URL builder

The big advantage of using this URL builder is that it will show you exactly where this will appear in your campaign report in Google Analytics.  In this report, you will be able to see various results, such as how many leads did the campaign attract, how many sales have you made, and so on.

Уour campaign in Google Analytics

How to use the data to improve your SMS campaigns

So, as we mentioned before, from the Google Analytics reports you will be able to see the level of customer engagement. You will be able to compare the results of different campaigns and see what marketing tactics work best. This will help you learn from your mistakes and create campaigns that really boost your sales. 

To understand whether your campaign was successful or not, you need to take into consideration such metrics as the campaign name, how many messages were delivered and how many of those were opened, and how many users actually clicked the link from the text message. If the results don’t satisfy you, you need to work on the listed things more thoroughly. 

Also, don’t forget to take a closer look at your link and try to imagine if it could look suspicious to your customers. If it does, you may need to look for a different tool for converting that will make it more reliable-looking. 

How can Testelium help in understanding the results of your SMS campaigns?

Testelium is an automated platform that helps businesses run SMS tests on real numbers. Basically, when you send a test text message with Testelium, your message is sent through various suppliers routes to the real phone of people from all over the world, and you receive a detailed text message report on your campaign.

Testelium offers the next features that will make your journey in SMS tracking easier:

  • — Sender ID Test: check if the name of the sender will suffer any changes;
  • — Timestamps and DLR: make sure that delivery reports from your supplier are valid and don’t experience any delays;
  • — SMSC check: detect what SMS center is used by your provider;
  • — PDU data: get access to the raw data of your delivered and undelivered messages;
  • — API integration: implement SMS verification API into your existing platform.

Contact our team, and our specialists will be glad to pick the most suitable and efficient payment plan for your business.

Summing up

Tracking the delivery and performance of SMS campaigns is a key to success in your marketing activities. Fortunately, the market has a lot to offer for marketing departments in the field of analysis of text messages. 

Keep track of major technical indicators, determine what performance KPIs will give you the most objective view, and operate reliable data to tailor your messages and build solid promotional and engaging strategies.