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SMS Marketing Performance Benchmarks

SMS Marketing Performance Benchmarks

Popular management consultant Peter Drucker is well-known for coining the term "you can't manage what you can't measure." That's true across many aspects of business including SMS marketing campaigns. That's the main reason you should establish SMS marketing performance benchmarks early in your planning process; it will help you manage, measure, and improve your campaign for optimal success.

When it comes to SMS marketing, you’ll be looking at marketing data such as click-through rates, how many people subscribe to your campaign as well as unsubscribe, what is the rate that subscribers convert to customers, and how eagerly they redeem things like coupons or special discounts.

By analyzing this data on a regular basis, your SMS marketing team will be able to make better decisions about what kind of campaigns work best for your customers, prospects and subscribers. You’ll get to know your subscriber list better and begin to understand what they want from their relationship with you. Nurturing this relationship for the long-term will help you build brand loyalty and create a ready-and-waiting audience for future product and service releases.

How is My SMS Campaign Performing?

Most SMS text message platforms will provide analytic information as part of their product bundle. Begin by exploring the data that your service automatically collects and get to know how your dashboard works. By understanding the basics, you’ll be building the foundation on what to do with SMS marketing data.

Ideally, you started your SMS marketing campaign with some measurable goals in mind. For instance, if you began with no subscribers, perhaps your goal was to build a list of 100 prospects in the first quarter of the year. If you already have a mature subscriber list, you may set a goal of directing 20% of your existing customers to visit a new product page and redeem a special discount.

Once those goals are established, you can better determine what to do with SMS marketing data.

What to Do with SMS Marketing Data

SMS marketing analytics is only useful if it drives your organization to change its behavior. Be sure to put a process in place within your organization to review your SMS marketing performance benchmarks on a regular basis and decide follow-up actions.

For example, let’s say you run a local restaurant and would like to build an SMS contact list. You begin a tabletop campaign, which offers a 10% on a customer’s next meal if he or she opts-in to receive text messages from you. If your goal is to build a subscriber list, but dine-in traffic is low, you may find that the tabletop campaign was not as successful as you expected by reviewing SMS campaign data.

Perhaps you decide to shift to your take-out customer base, offering the same discount advertised on take-out receipts, bags or flyers. If you successfully obtain twice as many subscribers during this campaign, your restaurant may want to target this audience for future marketing efforts.


The average CTR for SMS campaigns is around 19%, much higher than CTR for email campaigns, which hover just above 4%. However, whether or not you have a low CTR as one of your SMS marketing performance benchmarks depends partly on what your CTR goal was in the first place.

If you’re targeting an average CTR of about one-fifth of your subscribers continuing onto your website for more information, and you find you’re well below that, you may want to consider some common reasons:

  • Poor testing of what links are most appealing to subscriber base
  • Inappropriate timing of SMS campaigns, reaching subscribers when they are busy
  • Slow loading of website pages
  • Mismatch of content to audience

Once you understand the cause of your low CTR, you can adjust your campaign, messaging, and timing to try to boost future CTR.

High Unsubscribes

Although many organizations measure how many people opt-in to new campaigns as one of the key SMS marketing performance benchmarks, looking at the number of people who unsubscribe often gets overlooked. This is one of those SMS benchmarks that can tell you whether you’re reaching the right audience with your campaign.

If you find you have a high unsubscribe rate, you may have a disconnect between what you’re promising and what you’re actually delivering. For example, if your SMS marketing team creates a catchy campaign that encourages a vast number of people to opt-in to your SMS marketing list to perhaps get a trendy trinket, but the reward is disconnected from your product or service, those people may soon lose interest and unsubscribe.

You may want to consider how frequently you’re sending text messages. Sending too many messages can irritate subscribers who then choose to unsubscribe. However, failing to offer value on a regular basis can also result in high unsubscribes. A good rule of thumb is to send SMS messages two to four times per month.

Is My Conversion Rate Good?

The average conversion rate for SMS text campaigns is around 50% when special discounts, promotions or deals are included in a text campaign. However, when you’re using conversion rate as one of your performance measures, it’s important to measure against your own organization’s goals.

For example, if your business is launching an SMS strategy, it may be more important to build your subscriber list instead of converting subscribers to customers immediately. Having an interested and engaged audience that’s anxious to take advantage of your company’s ongoing specials and exclusive offers will eventually result in high conversion rates. You may just need to be a little bit patient to get there.

If, on the other hand, you have a mature SMS strategy and find that you’re still not achieving your conversion goals, you’ll may want to consider these common causes:

  • Lack of a clear CTA
  • Failure to identify company, product or brand
  • Poorly targeted offer
  • No expiration date to create a sense of urgency

Campaign Optimizations

In order to improve the results of your SMS marketing performance benchmarks, you may want to pay special attention to ways that you can optimize your SMS campaigns. For example, be sure to target your text message campaigns.

Most SMS services will allow you to subdivide your target audience list so you can be very specific about your messaging. For example, you may run multiple campaigns targeted toward individual consumers, business customers, or non-profit partners. By designating keyword opt-ins, you can segregate these lists in your SMS contact files, making it easy to target future campaigns.

Be sure to take advantage of automatic trigger features of your SMS service, which allow you to immediately confirm or respond to an incoming text message or opt-in request. Be sure to time your text campaigns appropriately, ideally in the early evening when most people are more welcoming of marketing text messages, and include a concise message and a specific call-to-action. Don’t forget to clearly identify your company so your organization’s brand is reinforced when your subscribers click on your message. Finally, you may want to establish some A/B testing so you can identify the most effective SMS campaigns for your organization.

DialMyCalls offers several tools to help you track your SMS marketing performance benchmarks easily. Sign up for a free account today, and take advantage of a free trial period. We can help you create SMS marketing campaigns quickly and affordably as well as provide the data you need to measure your campaign’s long-term performance.

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