Measuring a Mobile Campaign

When I discuss mobile campaigns I’m focusing on opt in text messaging. We already know how to measure mobile advertising, with click-throughs, and possibly actions, if you’re lucky. Opt in text messaging is a little different. It’s most similar to an email campaign, but with SMS there are usually more metrics available due to the mobile device on which the text is received.

I’ve helped design hundreds of campaigns for Mobile Commons clients and would like to share some of the most common metrics that help prove the success of mobile campaigns.

Opt Ins: These the number of subscribers on the SMS list currently. The number of opt ins all time (including people that have opted out of the list) is probably important as well. In almost every case, the number of opt ins is the most important stat in the campaign. In most cases, the number of opt ins determine if the campaign is a success or a failure. When many people are subscribed it’s possible to try a lot of different approaches and when no one is subscribed it really doesn’t matter what communications you try.

Unfortunately, the opt in stat is a bit of a trick – it’s not a mobile stat at all. The number of opt ins really measure the effectiveness of the media promoting the campaign (and that’s valuable too). If a TV commercial asks people to text in PEPSI, the number that text in are primarily a measure of the clarity of the commercial and perceived benefit of taking the action. If you compare the number of people that text in from the commercial and the number of people that visit a website or call a phone number that would give a better idea of the effect of mobile on a campaign.

Since opt ins are a good way to measure the effectiveness of a media campaign, it can also work to compare different media campaigns. It’s possible to set up different campaigns, or different opt in keywords to measure what channel, media or commercial cause the most people to pull out their phone and text in. At Mobile Commons we’ve tested this several times. We’ve tested the same TV commercial on different stations and we’ve tested the same message on Twitter, Facebook, radio and through QR codes. (In the latter test, radio CRUSHED twitter radio and QR).

Phone Calls: On unique aspect of a mobile campaign is that it takes place on a mobile phone. Generating phone calls is probably the second most common goal for mobile campaigns that I’ve worked on. Tracking the number of phone calls placed and calculating a conversion rate based on the number of text messages asking people to call in are both good measures of a mobile campaign.

Why would you want to drive and track phone calls? Different organizations drive phone calls for different reasons, but the most popular reasons are for advocacy, donations or purchases, to set up appointments or for customer service.

The number of calls made and the conversion rate are only the two most high level stats that are important to track. It’s important to track who is making the calls, how long they are staying on the phone, and whether or not their calls are being connected. It’s also important to pay attention to what promotions are driving calls, as calls can be generated from text message or the web in many cases.

Clicks: Link shortening services can make it easy to track how many opted in subscribers are clicking on links included in text messages. If you are trying to drive subscribers to mobile web pages, it’s important to understand mobile web browsing habits.

It’s best practice to direct links to pages on your site that have content. Sending a visitor to your home page on a mobile phone is not that valuable – mobile visitors won’t surf your site on a phone, as much as they would do on a desktop or laptop. Obviously it’s advisable to have web analytic software to track mobile web visitors and measure the value of each click.

One surprise that we found is that you can find your biggest influencers/evangelists by tracking web clicks. At Mobile Commons we not only track how many clicks each link gets, but we track who clicks on the link, and how many times they click. When looking through the data, we discovered that certain subscribers were clicking a link 50 or even 100 times – and always from different phones and browsers. It quickly became apparent that a single subscriber wasn’t clicking 50 times, they had Twittered the link, or posted to Facebook, and their followers had clicked 50 times.

Text Responses: Sometimes measuring success is as simple as keeping track of how many people respond. Since their is no “open rate” with text messaging, response can be the most basic action that subscribers are asked to take. Believe me, people will reply to text messages – as if they were texting the CEO of the company!

Asking people to respond is fairly straightforward, depending on the campaign. It’s important to follow up with people appropriately and offer increased engagement for people that are looking for that.

Forwards: Forwarding a message, or telling a friend can be tricky with text message. There are basically 2 ways that subscribers can forward to a friend, and they each have different tracking mechanisms.

The first way subscribers can forward your message is simply by forwarding the message on their phone. In this case the message should be written to ask users to forward the message, and ask the recipient of the forward to take some action. For example the message could read “Forward this message to a friend, and ask them to text JOIN to 12345.” In this case the keyword JOIN should be unique to the forward, and the best measurement is to track how many forward recipients take action by texting in.

Some texting platforms offer a Forward to a Friend feature. In this case a subscriber can send a message to their friends through the messaging system and the system should be able to track how many messages were sent to friends, and also how many friends took action. Tracking is much better with this method, but the user experience suffers. With the second method, the original subscriber must tell the messaging system their friend’s number either by text or the web.

Generally tell a friend is a recommended promotion for messaging. When the recipient is asked to forward on their number, we’ve seen as high as a 15% opt in rate from friends. This has been lower when subscribers use the system’s mechanism to opt friends in to the campaign. The Tell a Friend feature works much better from the web especially on a redirect page after a click to call.

This post has been longer than expected. Hope it helped. Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions or leave comments.

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One Response to Measuring a Mobile Campaign

  1. Pingback: Ten Rules to SMS Marketing « Life and Life Only

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