How to Conduct Testing in SMS CampaignsMobile marketing campaigns via SMS are one of the most effective campaign types available to marketers.  With nearly 100% open rates, advanced targeting capabilities and nearly unlimited reach, SMS is becoming one of the most successful digital marketing channels around.  Its high success rate doesn\’t mean that adequate testing isn\’t necessary, however, and thorough experimentation via split testing should always be a top priority.

Split testing has long been associated with more traditional digital marketing channels such as email and online marketing, but its usefulness is easily applied to next generation channels like SMS as well.  In most cases, the advantages are amplified by the addition of new variables introduced by marketing to mobile devices, such as varying carrier networks, geography, timing, increased regulation regarding user privacy and other elements that need to be taken into consideration.

In marketing to the mobile channel, it\’s important to test all variables to determine what produces the highest engagement, response and conversion.  Elements like sending patterns, calls-to-action and even the contact acquisition strategy all affect the success of your campaign in the end.  The limited nature of SMS in terms of message content means testing and re-testing is extremely important to determine what will be most effective with your audience.  You already know your subscribers are likely to view your SMS message, but without well-optimized content, how do you know whether they\’re likely to act on it?   How do you know what will limit the unsubscribes?   This is the power of split testing.

Let\’s say you have an active SMS subscriber database of 5,000 users.  Segment a small portion of your database as a test group, designating 10 percent for split testing.  Within the test group, designate half the users to \”group A\” and the other half to \”group B.\”   This gives you two sub-groups to test different versions of your campaign to see which is likely to be most effective.  For group A, you can send a message on a Monday morning offering a 10% off coupon, for example, and then send a different message offering a slightly different coupon to group B. Similar experiments can be conducted with any variable in your campaign including time of day, geography, call to action or any other variable.

At the end of the split test, you can easily determine which sub-group performed the best.  You can then repeat the process by changing other elements and sending to additional test groups until you\’re satisfied you\’ve optimized thoroughly.  At this point, simply send the final campaign to the rest of your database and rest assured knowing you\’ve taken all the necessary steps to ensure the greatest success.

Marketers new to SMS are often blinded by promises of guaranteed open-rates and case studies of wildly popular campaigns that seem to blow every other channel out of the water in terms of effectiveness.  In reality, it all comes down to detailed planning, knowing your audience and most importantly, thoroughly testing each and every campaign to ensure you can realize all the immense benefits SMS marketing has to offer.