5 min read

Tracking and Optimizing SMS Conversions

By Scott Desgrosseilliers on Mar 18, 2022 3:09:20 PM

Every ecom brand would love a 10% lift in revenue. This is achievable if you put the same thought and effort into your SMS campaigns as you do with your paid media and email campaigns.

Let’s take a look at this food ecommerce company below for the past 30 days.  Notice “Attentive”, his SMS provider, is pulling in $47k.  (side note: Wicked easily tracks Attentive, Postscript, and Klaviyo SMS, among others)

multi touch marketing attribution optimize sms conversions
  1. These SMS conversions are being mis-attributed inside of your ad platforms

  2. These SMS conversions came from your existing email list
  3. If you can figure out the top of the funnel marketing that got the email optin that led to the SMS…you could make some $

To figure out how to scale your SMS revenue, first thing you need to do is dive into your SMS campaigns to see which ones are working and which ones aren’t.

We head over to Wicked Reports’ ROI reports and choose the Last Click ROI model.  We want to pick the model that matches your marketing intent. 

SMS intent is usually “click and buy please!", so using Last Click attribution is the correct model for that.


Keep in mind this attribution fact of life:  It is very likely that your ad platform reporting is both over and under-reporting the impact and insight of paid media and SMS working together.

Whaaat? Over and under reporting? Has Wicked Scott gone off the attribution rails (again)?

No, let me explain. Because understanding this can give you an edge you can exploit for increased revenue and ROI - and who doesn’t love to earn while they learn?

Ad platforms OVER report conversions at the bottom of the funnel because they IGNORE the SMS click that converted the sale. In this case, 401 sales that could have been over reported.  This can be the reason why you jack up ad spend on something that looks great in Facebook’s metrics, only to discover that the sales don’t increase after the ad spend increase - unless you also were sending the same SMS messaging to the same Facebook adset at the same time - which is unlikely.

Ad platforms UNDER report conversions at the top of the funnel.  Where do you think all these SMS conversions came from, your good looks?  No - they came from ads and marketing to cold traffic, that captured the email optin when someone was interested and not ready to buy yet, and now, finally, this SMS struck a nerve and they pulled the trigger on your fantastic offer.

Or, even better, this SMS conversion is a repeat customer, which drives up the ROI and LTV of those top of the funnel ad campaigns - which you will only know if you have a marketing attribution tool.  Ad platforms have almost no concept of customer lifetime value.

Rather than being frustrated with the ad platform reporting inefficiencies, instead, it’s a great opportunity. Kind of like buying BitCoin at $1k, trading stocks in the 90s when the spreads were $1, or buying a Beanie Baby in th emid 90s (as long as you sold by 1999).

So the action plan for the advertiser making the SMS coin becomes the following:

    1. Find the best SMS campaigns and make sure all SMS subscribers get them.

    2. Try his/her best to get the email subscribers to optin for SMS, and then send the successful SMS campaigns to them. (notice you don’t just blindly start spamming all your SMS messages - some of them are crappy. Only send the ones that convert people!)

    3. After a wave of SMS conversions, look at the updated top of the funnel ROI metrics to see which paid media campaigns, which might not have been profitable at first, are actually killing it once these delayed SMS conversions are factored in!

I want to literally shout point #3 from my proverbial rooftop.  This is how the Jedi marketers using multi-touch marketing attribution do it.  (People like Umzu -> https://www.wickedreports.com/umzu )

They MURDER it.  And they do so with a system that scales ad spend BEFORE IT IS EVEN PROFITABLE AT TOP OF THE FUNNEL.

Back to our food ecom team - what should they do with all their SMS conversion data?  Let’s look at the SMS campaign performance:


A lot to unpack and optimize here - sweet!

SMS optimization works just like email optimization:

  1. High sales - make sure this gets automated to each new SMS subscriber

  2. High clicks, low sales - SMS message was enticing, but offer needs optimization

  3. Low clicks, high sales - SMS message needs optimization, offer is solid.

Looking at the above data, “february-2022-mystery-box” has low clicks and high sales - time to tweak that SMS message.  Once people saw the offer, they liked it, just not enough clicks over to the offer.

“Andy-b-day-sale” crushed it - I suggest more staff bday sms sales in the future!  Maybe a birthday every month??

The welcome series is also doing great.

One other observation jumped out from this data.  The count of new customers from the SMS campaigns is really low relative to the amount of sales that occurred.

This means that the SMS campaigns are much more effective on existing customers.  This marketer should make sure that the successful campaigns have run on existing customers, while attempting to optimize them for non-buyers at the time of send.

One you’ve optimized your bottom of the funnel SMS, the next step is to optimize the top of the funnel paid media that acquired these leads.  More on that here.