What’s the best way to measure the success of SMS? This article is for marketing leaders at e-commerce brands who want to measure the impact of text messaging on their business and their customers. As your marketing channels increase in quantity and complexity, you need to account for the ROI of each channel so you can justify your costs and prioritize your efforts.
In this article, we’ll cover:
First, let’s define success and the categories of potential impact that SMS (really, any new channel) can have on your business. Consider these areas of impact when planning your SMS rollout:
The revenue numbers reported by your marketing software are going to be — let's be generous — "optimistic" about how much revenue it generated. Most likely, these numbers will reflect the sum of all revenue from customers who received a message and then purchased afterwards, regardless of what other (paid, owned, earned) channels the customer might have been influenced by.
Revenue reported by Google Analytics will be conservative. It typically illustrates last-touch attribution (which channel the customer clicked on last before purchasing.) Concierge, by default, reports on what's visible in Google Analytics. The downside of last-touch attribution is it does not take into account work that was done by other marketing channels leading up to that moment. It also under-reports traffic associated with your campaign, since some customers will just type in your direct website URL.
The truth is somewhere in between the platform-reported and the Google Analytics-reported results. If you're looking for a more nuanced attribution model, evaluate attribution platforms like Rockerbox (used by Concierge customers) or call in an attribution specialist so you don't reinvent the wheel.
If you want to dive into the nitty-gritty yourself, you can create holdback cohorts and run an A/B test for incremental revenue yourself (described below).
Revenue/send: How many messages did you send and how much revenue was generated (on average) from each recipient
Get out of the numbers for a moment. Behind every phone number on your subscriber list is a real person receiving your message. When their phones ding or buzz, your
Get out of the numbers for a moment. Behind every phone number on your subscriber list is a real person receiving your message. When their phones ding or buzz, your customers might be feeling hopeful, curious, or excited. Make sure you're putting yourself in your customers' shoes when deciding what to send, when to send it, and how frequently to send SMS messages.
Opt Out Rate: Your SMS opt-out rate is a good leading indicator of how appropriate and relevant your messages are. Opt-out rates vary widely by brand and depend on why people signed up in the first place. Try not to take it personally; some people just receive too many messages overall. It's a gift to know that you won't be sending to people who aren't interested in hearing from your brand.
Response rate: If you campaign includes a prompt to reply (e.g. when you send a poll or a question), response rate is another good measure of engagement. What percentage of recipients sent you a message back?
Net Promoter Score (NPS): If you're not in the habit of regularly measuring your Net Promoter Score, or another customer satisfaction measure, it's a good place to start. How does your NPS compare for SMS subscribers versus non-subscribers? How does NPS change after someone subscribes (before and after)?
Rolling out a new channel can be a lot of work. Concierge partners closely with marketing teams at e-commerce brands to make the process painless and (nearly) effortless. You'll need incremental creative assets like copy and imagery. Your SMS campaigns needs to go on the marketing calendar. SMS campaigns needs to be coordinated with email campaigns. Your customer experience team need to be ready to respond to your inbound service inquiries.
If you are into DIY testing and want to demonstrate incremental revenue from SMS, here's what to do.
Let’s say you’re about to announce a new product and you’re planning an email and SMS campaign to your subscribers.
Separate your SMS subscribers into two equal cohorts of 50% each. One will be your “holdback” cohort and the other will be your “recipient” cohort.
Send your SMS campaign only to the recipient cohort and delay sending to the holdback cohort.
After 24 hours, measure revenue per customer for the recipients and compare it to revenue per customer for the holdback cohort.
NEXT: Send the message to the holdback cohort and watch the revenue per customer catch up to the original recipients.
This approach provides two data points:
Using these two data points, you can craft your own compelling narrative about the incremental revenue impact of SMS when added into your marketing channel mix.
Note: Make sure you have a statistically significant number of SMS subscribers before attempting this type of testing.
Determine the impact you intend to have — on revenue and on customer experience — when planning your SMS rollout. Don’t forget to consider the customer experience!
Ensure that your team is prepared to take on the incremental work of managing and responding to SMS campaigns.
Don’t reinvent the wheel with marketing attribution. If you need more complex attribution, enlist the help of a specialist and/or a platform.
Run experiments for fun and profit
If you'd like to schedule a free SMS strategy session with Concierge, we'd love to help you make texting a profitable and delightful part of your customer experience.
Overview of retention marketing and how SMS supports customer retention for e-commerce brands.