Google Analytics 4 tracking for SMS campaigns

Updated 8 months ago

Looking for more detailed reporting for your recipients once they open the links in your SMS campaign? 

With Google Analytics, you can see a more complete picture of the journeys your users take once they’ve read your text. Once you’ve tagged your link, link clicks should be visible in default Google Analytics 4 reports under the ‘SMS’ channel. Or you can create custom explorations to choose the metrics you want to see.

Here’s how.

By default, Google uses ‘UTM parameters’ which is extra data added to your URL. We like to use the Google Campaign URL Builder tool.

In the URL Builder tool, add the following information:

  • Website URL – the destination URL where the link should take the user
  • Campaign Source – identify the source of the traffic (we recommend that this is either 'sms' or ClickSend).
  • Campaign Medium – specify the medium of the link (this should be ‘sms’)
  • Campaign Name – we recommend using the same name you use for your campaign in the Dashboard (with hyphens instead of spaces between words)
Screenshot of the Google Campaign URL builder tool showing UTM campaign, source and medium on a link

Click the Generate button and it will automatically create the tagged URL for you. All you need to do is copy it.

Tip: the URL and parameters should all be lowercase.

Shorten your tracking link to reduce your message character count, using the Short Link function in the Dashboard. You can do this when you write the message content in the SMS Campaign screen (after you’ve chosen your recipients and sender information).

Just copy your URL from the campaign URL builder tool and paste it into the link shortener.

Screenshot of ClickSend dashboard SMS campaign screen with the link shortener button highlighted

Tip: it’s a good idea to send yourself a test campaign to ensure the tracking link fires correctly.

3. Track performance in Google Analytics 4

The easiest way to find traffic from your SMS campaigns is through the standard Traffic acquisition report. You can view this report by clicking Reports > Acquisition > Traffic acquisition in the left menu. 

In GA4, SMS is now a ‘Default Channel Group’ – like paid search, referral, email, etc. As long as you include ‘sms’ in your tracking link against source or medium, you should see this traffic here.

Want more detail or flexibility?

Build your own custom SMS report by clicking Explore and create your own exploration report.

Copy this example for a basic SMS campaign report split out by countries. Or you can use different combinations of dimensions and metrics, or try using funnel and path explorations, to create reports that suit you.

We've unimaginatively named our SMS campaign ‘test2’. Then in Step 1 we set utm_medium to sms (so it would be attributed to the SMS channel) and utm_campaign as test2.

Start with a blank exploration, then follow the steps below.

Google Analytics 4 exploration showing SMS campaign report by country
  • Name your exploration.
  • Add dimensions by clicking the + on the right of Dimensions in the Variables column. Search for session default channel grouping, session campaign and country, then choose them and save.
  • Add metrics by clicking the + on the right of Metrics in the Variables column. Search for total users, sessions, average session duration, views per session, choose them and click save. (or whichever metrics you’re looking to track).
  • Drag and drop your dimensions into the Rows section.
  • Drag and drop your metrics into the Values section.
  • Add filter: create a filter where ‘Session default channel group’ contains SMS.

This will give you a report of all sessions that came from your SMS campaigns, split up by the campaign name and the country of the user (this dimension can be omitted if sending within the same country). 

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