7 Best SMS Marketing KPIs For Analyzing Performance

Perhaps you’re from the days of a strict character count and spending hours on a work of art that looks a little something like this:

=( : o )

Or, perhaps you have no clue what I’m talking about, and your SMS game has known nothing other than picking the right animal you’re feeling: 

No matter how far back your history with SMS goes, you’ll have history. For XX years, SMS has been a staple in the way we communicate—and it’s continuing to evolve. Brands are still relying on SMS today to promote and sell more. 

If you’re working with one of those brands utilizing SMS, we’re about to guide you through the seven KPIs you need to be tracking to determine a successful SMS strategy. 

Grab a C| _ | this one’s a good’en. 


  • What is SMS marketing? Short message service (SMS) Marketing is a text message campaign that businesses send to (potential) customers to sell more products. 
  • SMS is still, very much, a large acquisition player for marketing teams: 41% of consumers prefer SMS communications over email. 
  • There are seven SMS KPIs you should be tracking: Delivery rate, CTR, Opt-in & Opt-out rates, Conversion rates, lifetime value, and list growth. 
  • By understanding your SMS KPIs you’re able to better re-strategize and deliver text messages that customers love, and convert for your product. 

SMS KPIs to track to stop your campaign being left on read 

Without further ado, let’s get into these KPIs and what they mean for your SMS campaigns. 

1. Delivery rate

Delivery rate = the number of messages that arrived safely in your receivers’ inboxes against the number sent. 


Why track it? Delivery rate will help highlight if you’ve got false positive numbers in your database. Meaning phone numbers that are the correct format and length, but not in use. 

Delivery rate can help highlight how accurate your list is, whether people are providing false numbers just to get access to something gated that you’re offering, or if your list needs updating. 

A high delivery rate is great. A low delivery rate means you’ll need to reassess the mobile phone numbers and remove any failed deliveries, as well as reassess how you’re collecting, storing, and managing them. 

2. Click through rate

Click through rate = the number of people that clicked a link in your SMS taking them out of their messaging application. 

Why track it? Your click through rate is a huge indicator of a few things. It can affirm whether your CTA and copy around it are doing their job and selling that link click. CTR can also be an indicator of brand trust and brand sentiment. It can highlight if you’ve segmented your campaign well and are selling the right product to the right person—or not. 

A high click through rate is what everyone wants. A low click through rate will need an in-depth investigation. Perhaps people don’t trust your link structure or your brand. Perhaps they aren’t interested in what you’re selling. Or, perhaps your link is broken! 

3. Opt-out rates 

Opt-out rates = the number of people that are choosing to stop receiving communications from your business. 

Why track it? This is a worrying one to see rising. High opt-out rates can imply people don’t remember signing up to receive your text messages and consider them spam. They can also imply someone has deemed what you’re selling irrelevant to them, or find your messages annoying/too much. 

High opt-out rates mean you’ll need to reassess how you’re collecting phone numbers, sending frequency, and what you’re saying. 

Note: As painful as receiving an opt-out is for your business, don’t over complicate the process in hopes you’ll keep someone on your list. Make opting out clear and simple. If you risk frustrating customers with a lengthy opt-out process you’ll face bad press, and may be breaking a few laws—depending on where in the world your business is based. 

4. Conversion rates 

Conversion rates = number of people that are actually doing what you intended for them to do with the SMS, e.g, buy, sign-up, engage with. 

Why track it? Conversion rates are the starting point behind understanding the ROI of your campaign. They let you know if your copywriting skills are up to scratch, your CTA is clear and the user understands what you want them to do. They also highlight if your flow is, well, flowing. 


Note: It’s important to set up appropriate UTM tracking for conversion rates. If you have the capacity to do so, each SMS audience segment should have a unique UTM so you can dive into the details of which messages (going to which groups) are working. 

5. LTV

Lifetime value = the financial profit a particular customer brings your business during their time engaging with you. 

Why track it? Lifetime value is often used in SaaS, but it’s not limited to traditional SaaS pricing models. LTV of SMS customers can help determine how much revenue they drive for your business, off the back of an SMS campaign. This helps you understand and predict ROI of future campaigns. 

6. Opt-in source

Opt-in source = the number of people signed up to receive your text messages and from where. 

Why track it? These KPIs will help you understand the most effective acquisition channels for your business. It will help determine where you’re finding customers that are likely to click, engage, and invest in your product, and those that are not. Understanding this KPI will help you determine where to put your customer acquisition efforts in the future. 

7. List growth 

List growth = the number of people signing up to receive your SMS. 

Why track it? List growth is a fantastic all-around signal that you’re doing something right. If people are signing up to receive communication from your brand it’s because you’ve caught their attention and they want to learn more about it. 

Putting your SMS campaign messaging aside, this is a great pre-campaign factor to showcase that you have growing interest in what you do. If your numbers are going downhill from there, then you’ll be able to reassess your efforts going on everything post sign-up and better deliver on opt-in expectations. 

Quick-win SMS efforts to implement today 

Despite the SMS campaign you’re running, there are always a few easy-win optimization points you can look out for to ensure you’re driving the positive KPIs high, and those worrying KPIs low. A few favorites are: 

Segment and get personal 

First up, some of your KPIs may be falling flat because they’re just not personal enough. You’ll need to go beyond using someone’s first name to get personal these days. Segment your audience down to the microlists going on their demographics, but also their acquisition channel, product engagement, purchase history and more. 

Get into the nitty gritty of their likes and dislikes and ensure your text messages are using this information as the backbone to their context. 

KISS your customers 

Before you go jumping in declaring your love and sending your customers a @–>—>— you need to know that KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid. When in doubt, simplify your messages. Don’t over-complicate things, you’re meeting your customer in a very personal space, don’t make them do any more thinking than you’d want to do on Sunday morning. When in doubt, simplify. 

Add some spice

Simplicity doesn’t mean you can’t have spicey. Your engagement KPIs may not be pulling the numbers you’re looking for because your messaging is just too dull, or doesn’t feel like the experience customers know and love to be your brands. Find ways you can add flair to your messages, and thread personality into your character count. 

Use emojis! 



Listening up? People love emojis. They’re common ground for everyone, help you pack some personality, a punch, or charm, into a message, keep your character counts low, and a picture can say a thousand words, right? In fact, 72% of consumers feel positive about brands that use emojis. 

Keep your links worry-free

Unfortunately, the rise of AI has seen the rise of cybercrime and hacking attempts are more difficult to spot than ever before. To stress this, it’s predicted that there will be 97 cyber victims per hour in 2023. It’s understandable that people are reluctant to click links these days. Make their job easier, and provide branded links people trust rather than UTMs that may raise suspicions. 

That’s a wrap: go and jump into those DMs

That’s everything on SMS marketing KPIs for analyzing your text message campaigns. Track these KPIs closely, give yourself enough time to gather sufficient data before jumping to any conclusions, and then optimize to your heart’s content. 

Done well, you’ll soon begin to see an uptake in your SMS marketing campaigns, and can rely on this channel as a leading channel for your business’s growth. Good luck, and happy messaging! |M|/


Homer Simpson:  =( : o ) 

Coffee: C| _ | 

A Torpedo under water: ~^~^~'====>`~^~^~^~^~ 

Waves: _.~”~._.~”~._.~”~._.~”~._ 

Rose: @–>—>— Mailbox: |M|/

About the author

Ray Slater Berry

Ray Slater Berry is the content lead at Skale. He has been working in social media, content marketing, and SEO for nine years. He specializes in the tech, innovation, design, and product sectors. He is also a published psychological thriller author with his first novel, Golden Boy, and is the creative director for his content agency: DSLX.

Add comment