Top 9 Ways to Measure Your SMS KPIs

Dikran Seferian
Dikran SeferianContent Writer

Published: Oct 23, 2023


With text message marketing already commonplace in the business world, it pays to know if you’re doing it right. Harnessing the full potential of this mobile channel doesn’t stop when you hit “send.” You’ll want to measure the performance of your SMS messaging endeavors. While there’s so much you can measure, a number of key metrics stand out. From click-through rates to keyword engagement metrics, these SMS KPIs will ultimately tell a success story.

What Are SMS Marketing KPIs?

Short for key performance indicators, KPIs in SMS marketing are measurable metrics that you use to track and assess campaign performance. As the name suggests, they indicate how all your campaigns are performing. 

SMS KPIs allow you to make data-driven decisions about where or how to spend your time and resources. By gaining valuable insights, you can measure the effect of your overall SMS marketing strategy on your brand, identify areas for optimization, and determine which initiatives to focus on.

Key SMS Marketing Metrics You Should Focus on

A handful of important SMS marketing KPIs come to mind when trying to launch successful marketing campaigns. Taking these deliverables into consideration and optimizing your strategies accordingly will help you reach your SMS marketing campaign goals.

1. Click-Through Rate of SMS Messages

As valuable as it is, the SMS click-through rate (CTR) only applies when your messages include a specific link to a relevant webpage. Make sure to always monitor the number of clicks your links are getting to figure out how engaging your SMS campaigns are. If the click-through rates happen to be low, chances are the content you’re delivering isn’t very relevant or engaging. 

To calculate this metric, divide the number of recipients who clicked on the link by the total number of contacts who received your SMS text. Boost your SMS CTR by making sure your message is short, straightforward, and appealing. Use phrases like “limited time only” that evoke FOMO; adding visuals where possible also helps. 

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2. Average Order Value

The average order value (AOV) refers to the average amount that is spent per order. This is one of the most essential SMS metrics you should keep an eye out for when figuring out how to enhance your business performance. 

To find the AOV, take your total revenue and divide it by the number of orders. Let’s say you got 4,200 orders from your recent text marketing campaign, resulting in $70,000 in revenue. In this case, your store’s AOV will be $16.66. You can improve this SMS KPI by upselling, cross-selling, and offering volume discounts. 

Other ways to maximize AOV include setting a minimum order value and offering a bonus for reaching it, like free shipping, a discount code, or a complimentary gift. 

3. Conversion Rate of SMS Marketing Campaigns

When it comes to text message marketing, conversion rates indicate the number of recipients who actually made a purchase after clicking on a link from your SMS text. Dividing the number of orders by the number of unique visitors and multiplying the result by 100 will give you the average conversion rate. 

Suppose you got 6,900 website visits from a link, which then led to 4,700 purchases. That’s a conversion rate of 68%. To boost your SMS conversion rate, make sure your website is easy to navigate and has a simple yet appealing design. Make sure that the link takes the recipient directly to the relevant page and the checkout process is straightforward. Limited-time free shipping offers can help too.

4. Delivery Rate

Maintaining your customer database goes a long way. But don’t forget that people can change their phone numbers or simply unsubscribe from your SMS list. That’s why it helps to compare lists of messages sent and delivered. Consider checking the database on a regular basis to keep it effective. 

The rate of undelivered messages for each campaign shouldn’t normally exceed 3–4%. Otherwise, it’s likely that some of the contacts you’re trying to reach are either out of the coverage area or have changed their phone number. It’s also possible that there’s an issue with the mobile carrier.

5. List Growth

No matter how good your text content game is, it won’t be worth a dime if nobody is reading your messages. A rich contact list is the backbone of your SMS marketing strategy and goals. That being said, make sure your contact list is always expanding and your SMS marketing campaigns are reaching more people. Monitoring monthly list growth (or decline) allows you to figure out whether or not your marketing efforts are on the right track and whether your text marketing campaigns are reaching the right people. 

To determine your subscriber growth rate, divide the latest number of contacts by the baseline number of contacts and subtract one. For example, if you started with 420 subscribers and currently have 700, that means you have a subscriber growth rate of 66%. Key SMS subscriber list metrics worth measuring include the total number of contacts, the number of additional contacts per month, and the list growth rate over each month. 

6. Return on Investment (ROI)

One of the foremost SMS marketing metrics has to be none other than return on investment (ROI). You can calculate this KPI by dividing the profit from your SMS campaign by the investment amount and then multiplying by 100.

Let’s say you sent out 15,000 text messages, costing you $145, and the campaign generated $33,000. To put things into perspective, your SMS marketing ROI in this case will be 22,758%. A proven way to boost your SMS ROI is by leveraging automation. This helps you save both time and money. 

7. Unsubscribe Rate

It doesn't matter how many subscribers you have; you should always allow them to unsubscribe from future campaigns. Providing a way for customers to opt out is one of the best practices in text message marketing. But if you notice there’s a growing number of opt-outs and lost subscribers, chances are you’re not engaging in relevant content marketing or sending anything of value to your audience. 

To quantify the SMS opt-out rate, you’ll want to divide the number of contacts who opted out by the total number of subscribers. Consider setting an SMS benchmark of no more than 3% for opt-out rates, and make sure to track results from Google Analytics to learn from your previous campaigns. 

8. Average Response Times

Average response times are SMS marketing KPIs that you can use to measure the efficiency of your marketing team. The majority of recipients often read incoming text messages just a few minutes after receiving them. In turn, they expect you to respond to their messages just as quickly. With that in mind, it’s important to reply to customers’ messages as quickly as possible. 

Aim to respond to messages within 30 minutes of receiving them—the sooner, the better. Measuring this SMS KPI on a monthly basis and working to keep it at a minimum will help you boost customer satisfaction. It's also an effective strategy for increasing loyalty with your target audience.

9. Keyword Engagement Metrics

SMS keywords are a great way to grow your contact list and boost customer engagement. You can evaluate the number of customers who are using your keywords. This lets you determine their effectiveness at prompting your audience to take the desired action. Does your CTA inspire a sense of urgency? What if you offered a discount for texting the keyword?

One SMS marketing idea involves testing various CTAs to pinpoint exactly what encourages recipients to take action with keywords. For example, you can set up two variations of messages asking people to opt in. One can say, “Text COFFEE to join our list and get a free beverage of your choice,” while the second can say, “Text LOYAL to subscribe for special offers every month.” Both keywords can add the recipient to the same SMS list, but using them separately allows you to understand what encourages people to subscribe to your SMS campaigns.

SMS Campaign Metrics Vs. Other Marketing Channels

SMS key performance indicators play an integral role in complementing and improving the goals of other channels like email marketing and push notifications. 

These metrics offer valuable insights into how effective your SMS campaigns are. You can use these insights to fine-tune targeting for campaigns on other channels. For example, let’s say you found that a certain SMS campaign has a high CTR with a specific audience. Tailoring email and push notifications accordingly will guarantee more relevant communication across all channels. 

The same goes for tracking conversions. You can pinpoint which SMS strategies are converting leads into customers and use that information to optimize objectives for email campaigns and other marketing fronts. The result is a more effective and harmonized omnichannel approach.

The Role of SMS APIs in Tracking KPIs

SMS APIs are key for tracking KPIs in SMS campaigns. They allow for personalization, seamless data collection, and integration with CRM systems. You’ll also benefit from real-time monitoring and campaign evaluation. All of these contribute to optimizing SMS campaign performance and improving the customer journey. 

SMS APIs also enable scalability as well as cost efficiency. This makes them a valuable solution if you’re looking to boost engagement and maximize the return on investment in their SMS marketing efforts.