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This test will make you rethink driving web traffic from SMS

We recently split test email vs SMS to direct customers to an online registration form. It was on behalf of a financial services customer, with the aim of learning about the intricacies of cross-channel journeys and impact on overall performance.

While the results may be impacted by the industry and the use case, the results are too strong to ignore.

The test also threw up some interesting learnings for usability, cross-channel customer journeys and campaign optimisation.


The use case

Customers with ‘cold’ loan applications – that is, they had abandoned the process before completion – were contacted by one of two methods:

1. An email advising they had nearly completed their application, with a link out to their secure login.

2. An SMS containing a shortened web-link that also went to the secure login page.

In both cases, the landing page was mobile optimised when viewed on mobile (so 100% of the time for SMS recipients).


The test parameters

Ultimately the customer wanted to see which communication medium drove the highest conversion rate, with conversion being a completed application form. We ran 5000 contacts for each medium, with open rate, click-through rates and conversions (loan applications) all tracked.


The results

Here are the results for the ‘conversion funnel’ for each medium:


Key findings

1. Using SMS was 5 times more effective in driving conversions due to vastly superior open rates and click-through rates.

2. Click-through rates on the SMS were significantly higher. The most likely explanation is that SMS carries more urgency and importance, though the brevity of the SMS might cause more customers to click through for more information.

3. Having clicked through, recipients of the email had a higher completion rate. This is most likely due to a superior desktop experience on the application form. Improving the mobile experience would definitely be a priority as the campaign evolved.


Key take out

Intuitively most marketers use email to drive web traffic, thinking an all-online customer journey would produce the best results.  However, the superior read rates of SMS make it a clear winner.  By employing weblinks in the copy of the SMS, marketers have a potent tool that remains vastly under-utilised.


For a free trial of Upwire’s SMS capabilities click here.

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