Marketers are taking advantage of a growing segment of mobile marketing that yields some of the highest participation rates, conversion rates, and consumer enjoyment than any other medium. Text message marketing is growing at an exponential rate, and with this growth is a new opportunity for marketers to analyze campaign effectiveness in a way they may have never thought of before.
When first trying to grasp the basics of text message marketing, ignore the technical components and consider the goal of an SMS marketing campaign similar to that of an email marketing campaign: to build a list of interested subscribers who agree to receive your promotional messages. When measuring the effectiveness of an email campaign, the two key metrics upon which email marketers typically focus is open rate (the percentage of received emails that are opened) and click-through rate (the percentage of URL links sent in an email that are followed to a website). Since text message and email marketing campaigns have the same goal of using digital communication to attract subscribers, these same kinds of analytics are valuable for gauging the effectiveness of SMS campaigns. But are marketers taking full advantage?
While the open rate of SMS marketing messages is not currently measurable, studies show that text messages are opened 97% of the time. Click-through rate, on the other hand, can be easily measured, but not all advertisers do so. Here are 6 reasons why click-tracking is vital to a truly successful mobile campaign:
1) Click-Tracking Helps Segment Subscribers
Next time you send out an SMS marketing message to your list, include a URL that is unique to each subscriber in the campaign. Since each URL has only one recipient, any activity on that link can be clearly identified with its user. Click-tracking will allow you to quickly understand which of your subscribers are following your links—data that then allows you to further filter customers by interest.
The filtering click-tracking allows can further be used to modify and customize your follow-up messages. You can follow up with the interested clients to give them further information or incentive; you can follow up with the non-clicking subscribers with a different offer.
2) Click-Tracking Helps Follow Viral Activity
Mobile campaigns can go viral quickly. Your promotional text message can be shared between other phones and broadcast channels in just one click on most devices. By specifically tracking unique URLs in your outgoing messages, you can see how your message is being passed around over time. You can even encourage the opt-in of new subscribers.
When a user visits his or her unique link, code within the site being visiting can allow you to capture more data about the type of device the person is using to view the web-based content. This data, “User Agent” data, identifies a visitor’s device, operating system type/version, and browser type. Record this information and query it every time a new visit goes to that unique URL. If the User Agent data detects a different device or browser, there is a good chance that a new person has been forwarded your content.
When you note that the site has been visited by people outside your subscriber list, track the source of viral activity by tracing the URL back to the original subscriber. Click-tracking enables you to identify visits from non-subscribers so that you can then encourage the new visitors to opt into your mobile campaign.
3) Click-Tracking Introduces You to Your Subscribers
Your SMS marketing messages are limited to 160 characters each. This leaves little room for questions about your subscribers’ interests. Sending multiple messages to a subscriber asking for details sometimes works, but too many inquiries become tiring for the end user and difficult to automate. Linking subscribers to a mobile-friendly website that asks more qualifying questions about a subscriber’s interest is a simple, efficient way to capture more information. Because the URL is unique to the subscriber, you can automatically associate any captured data with its original subscription account.
4) Click-Tracking Helps Your Customize For Devices
Studies show that in all forms of advertising, digital or print, the more personalized the message, the better the results. With a proper tracking campaign—one in which each link in an outgoing message is unique to a single subscriber—you can capture useful information about each device that receives your text messages. User Agent data can again be helpful because its device detection can tell you which device-specific applications you should promote. User agent data can also be used to serve web pages and content more compatible with specific devices, thereby optimizing the experience for your users based on what you know about their technology.
5) Click-tracking Allows Your to Perform Multi-Variant Tests
Link activity on a URL means there is interest in what you’re offering: the more clicks, the higher the interest. Studying click-through rates for each of your messages will give you a solid understanding of what offers interest your customers.
You can make maximum benefit of click-tracking if you use the data to tweak your campaign as you go. Consider, as an example, the model recently used by the email marketing application Campaign Monitor in which two different messages were sent to a random sampling of subscribers. The click and open rates were then studied to see which message performed better, and the remaining subscribers received that message. Implementing a message-testing system like this saves money and yields much higher results.
6) Click-Tracking Tracks Conversion
Just as you would use website banner ads and emailed links to track a subscriber through the entire purchase process, you can use click-tracking to do the same with your texted offers. Implementing click-tracking, even with Google Analytics, is a solid way to build data and track the transactions for specific customers.
Retargeting becomes a possibility at this point, too. Using funnel tracking and cart abandonment history, you can see what product a user was actually interested in and then follow up with additional incentives.
Click-tracking within your text message campaigns is not difficult. Thinking about SMS marketing the same way you think about email marketing will help when coming up with strategies to measure the success of your campaigns.
If your text message marketing application does not include a robust tracking service, do not be discouraged. You can at least get started by using something as simple as bit.ly to shrink any long URLs, and then track their activity. While each link will not be unique to each subscriber, it’s a great first step down the path of SMS conversion tracking. Eventually, when your campaign warrants more sophisticated tracking data, click-tracking can provide useful, individualized information about your subscribers’ interests and purchase habits, helping you market to them in the most cost- and time-efficient ways.