Mobile marketing has been around for a long time now and has become fairly commonplace in the marketing mix for many experienced marketers and small business owners. However something you don’t hear a lot about in mobile marketing is text message click-through rates (CTR) – i.e. the rate at which consumers click on links embedded within text messages sent as part of a sms marketing campaign. In fact, if you look up CTR in Wikipedia they don’t even mention CTR in SMS at all! By definition it’s the number of times an ad is shown (impressions) divided by the number of times that it is clicked on and then expressed as a percentage.
As a mobile marketing company who specialise in sms marketing it’s imperative that we constantly measure the effectiveness of sms marketing and compare it to other forms of marketing. So as embedded web links are becoming increasingly more popular in sms campaigns how does their CTR stack up compared to other forms or marketing and digital advertising? First of all lets compare it to email marketing which has a lot of functional similarities to sms marketing.
E-Mails: According to MailChimp the world leader in email marketing the average CTR they receive through their millions of email marketing campaigns is a pretty meager 4.2%. So in real terms for every 1000 people who see the link about 40 will click on it.
Text Messages: According to the American mobile marketing company TextBoard, the average click through rate on marketing text messages is a much larger 19.3%. That sounds very impressive right? However when you consider that many may not have a smartphone and therefore not capable of running a web browser, and others who do have smart phones may not have data plans, the CTR is even more impressive. In real terms for every 1000 people who view the text message about 200 will click on the link.
Here is a great info-graphic from TextBoard which compares the CTRs of sms marketing and email marketing:
With that percentage of 19.3% in mind it’s also worth looking at the CTRs in other slightly less comparable forms of digital marketing. Here are the numbers:
Banner Ads: A 2% CTR would be considered very successful with averages somewhere around the 0.2 to 0.3 percent in most cases. That said this obviously depends on the ad in question, where it’s placed and how relevant it is to the audience. In real terms for every 1000 people that see the ad about 3 will click on it.
Google Ads: If you have ever run a Google Adwords campaign you will be familiar with the sort of CTR you get. Again it depends on the ad and the audience but the average is about 0.4%. So in real terms for every 1000 people who see the ad about 4 people will click on it.
Facebook Ads: As facebook try different ways to display their ads their CTR varies from ad type to ad type and from year to year but a 2010 independent report by Webtrends showed that the average CTR for Facebook ads was 0.051%. Again in real terms for every 1000 people that see the ad you are not guaranteed even a single click!
Obviously Facebook Ads, Google Adwords and banner ads are a somewhat different marketing medium than mobile or sms marketing, but to compare the figures is still interesting. Email marketing on the other hand is very similar to mobile and sms marketing in as much as the recipient has the prerogative to open it or not, and once open, to click on any links or not.
Another huge advantage to embedding links in your marketing text messages is that each person who clicks on the link you then know they possess a smartphone which allows you to send them further more relevant content which may also contain web links. In addition to that by driving those people to a mobile site it brings up the opportunity to gather even more data on that consumer like their personal interests and basic demographic info. This in many ways is the start of the process of building up a more holistic view on the subscriber which is where we believe the future of sms marketing lies. There is also of course the validation of the value of your sms marketing message that the person wanted to see more and showed their interest by clicking on the link.
Lastly, in addition to the circumstantial evidence that the campaign has been successful by virtue of the amount of clicks, with proper web analytics in place you can precisely measure the ROI of the sms marketing campaign by tracking the entire campaign from the sending of the text message to the purchase of the product or service. As we saw in an earlier post on this blog Ireland may soon edge towards a smartphone penetration of 70% so we see a big future for embedded mobile web pages within marketing text messages.