How to Analyze SMS Marketing Results: 3 Metrics to Track

Nonprofits new to SMS marketing and those looking to improve their SMS marketing results

Every nonprofit professional understands how important analytics are. Whether you’re tracking donor behavior, fundraising campaign success, or the effectiveness of your marketing, analyzing your nonprofit’s data is the best way to learn how well your strategies are performing and how you can improve them.

The same is true for SMS marketing. If you’re new to this marketing channel, however, you may not know what data to track or how to interpret your metrics. To help you get started, we’ve pulled three key metrics from Mogli’s SMS marketing guide to explore in this article:

  1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  2. Opt-Out Rate
  3. Conversion Rate

We’ll cover each of these metrics in detail and walk you through various ways your organization can leverage them. But first, let’s make sure you have the right systems in place to track this important data.

How do you track SMS marketing data?

To track performance data for your SMS marketing campaigns, you’ll need technology that can automatically record your texts’ engagement metrics and create reports that help you visualize and understand your data.

There are a few different systems you can use to track text marketing data:

  • An SMS marketing app: If you use a specialized text marketing app to send and receive messages, explore its reporting capabilities to see how easy it is to track engagement data. The best apps will integrate with your database to seamlessly track, analyze, and report on custom key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Your constituent relationship management (CRM) software: CRMs with robust reporting capabilities can also help you track text marketing data. However, this may require purchasing an add-on product or creating a complex custom solution to meet your needs.
  • Fundraising software with marketing automation tools: Some full-suite fundraising tools include text-to-give and other text marketing features. If you use one of these tools, check to see what kind of reports it allows you to create and how simple the process is.

Whichever tool you use, make sure you can access intuitive dashboards and easily create custom reports. This way, you can choose the SMS marketing metrics you want to report on and monitor your progress at any point in time.

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Once you have the infrastructure in place to track key metrics, start by evaluating your messages’ click-through rate (CTR). CTR measures the percentage of people who click through a link in a message out of everyone who receives it.

You can track the CTR of specific messages or campaigns to learn which types of messages resonate most with certain groups of supporters. To calculate a message’s CTR, use the following formula:

([Number of people who clicked a link] / [Number of people who received your text]) x 100 = CTR

For example, say that you sent a text asking supporters to learn more about a proposed immigration law as part of your nonprofit’s awareness campaign. In the message, you included a link to a blog post on your website that explains what the law is and how supporters can take action to make their voices heard by lawmakers. If you sent the text to 900 recipients and 267 of them clicked on the link, your CTR would be 29.7%.

Since the average CTR for text marketing messages is 19%, you can conclude that your message was effective in this scenario and emulate the strategies used during the rest of your campaign.

2. Opt-Out Rate

Text marketing should help you cultivate relationships and retain donors, not lose them. However, you’re bound to have some supporters that sign up for text messages only to opt out of them later. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • A supporter received too many or too frequent messages.
  • Some donors found your message content irrelevant.
  • They prefer another communication method over text messages.
  • Your contact information was outdated and you sent a message to the wrong number.

You can determine if specific aspects of your strategy are causing recipients to opt out by calculating your opt-out rate, which is the percentage of text message recipients who opt out of receiving future messages.

Monitor your opt-out rates and investigate further if you see any spikes in the number of contacts who opt out. Was there a specific message that may have caused it? Are contacts in a certain segment opting out at higher rates?

For instance, Double the Donation’s recurring giving guide explains that different demographic segments often prefer different communication methods. If you see that the opt-out rate for your segment of Gen X monthly donors is higher than normal, you might determine that you need to shift your monthly giving text strategy to focus on younger donors.

3. Conversion Rate

Finally, the most important metric to analyze, especially when it comes to SMS fundraising campaigns, is your message conversion rate. Conversion rate measures the percentage of text recipients who take a desired action out of everyone who received the message.

What your nonprofit classifies as a conversion will vary depending on the goal of the message and what you explicitly ask recipients to do. Commonly, nonprofits might consider conversions to be actions such as:

  • Making a donation.
  • Taking a text survey.
  • Registering for an in-person or virtual event.
  • Signing up to volunteer.
  • Sharing a post on social media.
  • Signing a petition.

To calculate the conversion rate for a particular text message or SMS campaign, you first need to determine what qualifies as a conversion. Then, use this formula:

([Number of conversions] / [Total number of text messages sent]) x 100 = Conversion Rate

Use your text marketing app or your CRM’s SMS features to set up and track conversion actions. Then, determine which messages and campaigns generate the most conversions, and explore the content of those messages to find out why they were so effective. You might find that more personalized messages lead to more conversions, for instance, or that texts about a specific aspect of your cause inspire more donations than others.

With the insights you gain from these metrics, you can refine your SMS marketing strategy based on the tactics that work best for your unique support base. It won’t be a one-and-done endeavor, though—make sure to monitor your KPIs consistently and revisit them often to keep improving your approach.