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How to Use Google Analytics to Track Your SMS Marketing Campaigns (w/Screenshots)

April 19, 2019 Posted by in Other

Digital marketing has significantly changed the way companies conduct their marketing strategies toward gaining new customers, promoting products, improving brand awareness, and staying one step ahead of competitors. In today’s times, a digital marketing campaign can offer insights that traditional marketing methods were never able to provide, therefore it is easier for marketers to improve their efforts and make the most of what modern marketing brings to the table.

Regardless of your industry, of whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or online business, digital marketing will help you not only increase your marketing ROI, but also gain access to information regarding the performance of your campaign. With projections showing that digital marketing spending in the United States will increase from $57.29 billion —an amount reached in 2014— to $103.37 billion in 2019, it is of utmost importance that companies and marketers are well-informed on its role and methods. An important part of understanding the significance of digital marketing is knowing which method to choose for your business, or how to seamlessly integrate various strategies together.

According to a Forbes report, people are now conducting more than half of their internet searches from their mobile phones, and sending 16 million texts every minute, therefore focusing on SMS marketing needs to be a priority. Especially since, due to modern technologies, text message marketing can now be paired with a wide range of alternative digital marketing methods, such as proximity marketing, social media marketing, and more. But before we discuss SMS marketing campaigns, let’s have a look at Google Analytics and the role, it plays in marketing campaigns, and how it can help your business maximize its marketing efforts.

The Role of Google Analytics in Marketing Campaigns

Launched in November 2005, Google Analytics is a service provided by Google, which tracks and reports website traffic—currently being the most widely used web analytics service on the web used by 56,8% of all websites. Whether you want to know where your website traffic comes from, differentiate between visits, or analyze other metrics of your website traffic, Google Analytics can provide that for all businesses. As for marketing campaigns, this means an opportunity to analyze and understand their impact, regardless of whether they were successful or not—therefore, it is also an opportunity for further improvement.

When it comes to modern-day marketing, analyzing its parameters is as important as executing it through effective methods and knowing how to target and segment your audience. If in the past, there were rarely any means of gathering feedback from traditional marketing methods, such as newspaper ads, today technologies such as Google Analytics and all other marketing trackers have considerably changed that.

Tracking Marketing Campaigns Using UTM Parameters

Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters are used by marketers to track and analyze the efficiency of marketing campaigns across various traffic sources. These parameters will tell you more about the clickthroughs you receive from your campaigns, and can also help you differentiate the visits, if you are currently running more than one campaign.

Also, they can help you differentiate between similar links, call-to-action buttons, or content that you might have in the same SMS, email, or various ad campaigns. They show which marketing channel is more effective in terms of time on site, pages per visit, bounce rate, and more.

The five UTM parameters are:

  • utm_source – Identifies the specific source that is sending traffic to your website. An example could be a Facebook ad, Google search, etc.
  • utm_medium – The type of traffic being sent to your website such as social media, search, display, etc.
  • utm_campaign – The individual name of your campaign such as “2019 Holiday Promotion”.
  • utm_term – Identifies paid search keywords that triggers an ad to appear such as “red shoes”.
  • utm_content – Differentiates between similar links or content within the same ad or SMS message usually indicative of testing between different types of Calls To Action like “Free 14 Day Trial” or “Request Your Demo”.

Therefore, your URL with UTM parameters will look like this:

https://www.example.com/?utm_source=m360&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=sale&utm_term=keyword&utm_content=textlink

Out of the five, utm_campaign, utm_term, and utm_content are optional parameters, with only utm_source and utm_medium being required for setting up your URL.

Further, we are going to discuss how using UTM parameters can help you better track your SMS marketing campaigns, and the advantages of using a modern text message marketing solution such as M360 for paring with Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics to Track your SMS Marketing Campaigns

The benefits of tracking your text message marketing campaigns and finding out how many website visitors you have from a specific SMS campaign you are currently running are numerous. As previously mentioned, nowadays people spend a significant amount of time on their smartphone, therefore it is wise that your SMS marketing campaigns always include a URL either with further details, compliancy details, or anything else you want your customers to know in addition to the content of the SMS.

When using a full-featured solution for broadcasting your text messages, there is no need to worry about the size of the URL, as it comes with an URL shortener, therefore you don’t have to worry about UTM parameters lengthening your URL.

Example of URL with UTM Parameters for Your SMS Marketing Campaign

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or an online business, whether you are a retailer or a restaurant, text message marketing campaigns are highly beneficial for brand awareness, promoting products, loyalty programs, improving your customer database, and many others. When your message contains a link to your website—as it should—tracking the visitors of the SMS campaign with the help of Google Analytics with give you powerful insights into how the campaign is performing.

As previously mentioned, the mandatory UTM parameters are utm_source and utm_medium, therefore your URL will look like this:

https://www.example.com/?utm_source=m360&utm_medium=sms

Let’s say you are a retailer running a summer sales campaign, with two different links in your SMS, and want to track one of the links, but also want to use all UTM parameters for your URL. In this case, your URL will look like this:

https://www.example.com/?utm_source=m360&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=sale&utm_term=summer+sale&utm_content=link1

You can set up these values manually, or use a UTM parameters tool such as the Campaign URL Builder from Google Analytics, which gives you a simple and effective solution for setting up parameters for your URLs by simply filling the required fields.

Example of URL with UTM Parameters for Your SMS Marketing Campaign

Setting Up New Channels in Google Analytics Beyond the Default

The more information you gather and analyze from your SMS marketing campaigns, the easier it will be to track its success, and make improvements to future campaigns, thus setting up channels beyond the default should concern all businesses and marketers. In Google Analytics, a channel is a group of several traffic sources that have the same medium. The default channels are: organic search, paid search, display, direct, referral, social, email, and other. Yet setting up channels beyond the default ones, such as a SMS channel will offer significantly improved insights into your website’s traffic and how your campaigns are influencing it.

Doing so is easy and can be done in just 6 easy steps:

1. In Google Analytics click on Admin in the lower left corner

Step 1- In Google Analytics click on Admin in the lower left corner

2. In the far right panel, click on Channel Settings > Channel Grouping

Step 2 - In the far right panel, click on Channel Settings > Channel Grouping

3. Click on the ‘Default Channel Grouping’ link.

Step 3 - Click on the ‘Default Channel Grouping’ link.

4. Select “Define a new channel” and name it “SMS”.

Step 4 - Select "Define a new channel" and name it "SMS".

5. Under “Define rules” select “Source / Medium” and “contains” then input “M360/ SMS” in the empty field next to it then select Done.

Step 5 - Under "Define rules" select "Source / Medium" and "contains" then input "Straightxt / SMS" in the empty field next to it then select Done.

6. Scroll down and click ‘Save’.

Step 6 - Scroll down and click ‘Save’.

Your default channels will now also include the SMS channel, making it simpler for you to see which are the visitors who came from your text message marketing campaign and how those visitors engaged with your site relative to other channels such as social, email, search, etc. However, it can take up to 24 hours for Google Analytics to start reporting on this channel so set this up before you launch any campaigns.

How to Use Google Analytics to Track Your SMS Marketing Campaigns (wScreenshots)

Using Google Analytics to track your SMS marketing campaigns is a wise business decision regardless of what your business is, for as long as you send out text messages containing URLs directing to your website, you will need to know how many of those were clicked on. Make sure that you are always implementing your SMS marketing campaigns with the help of a modern solution such as M360, which allows for URL shortening, so you can use all the UTM parameters you wish, without having to worry about length.


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