Sending an SMS campaign

Need to send an SMS campaign today? Maybe tomorrow, next week, month, or year? This article is designed to get you sending SMS campaigns - in your own time.

Sending an SMS campaign

You have worked hard to create an SMS campaign, now it's time to send it out to the world! To send an SMS campaign, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Save & continue button on the top right-hand side of the page
  2. Select Select all to send to all of your SMS contacts, or check the specific address book that you wish to send to

    SMS_dashboard.jpgThe 'Send campaign' page will display.

  3. Choose whether to send the SMS campaign immediately or schedule it using the date and time picker
  4. Click Continue
  5. You're taken to the Send page, where the total amount of contacts that you're about to send to will be confirmed. Here you’ll also see:
    • the ‘From name’ that will appear for those who receive the campaign
    • your number of available sending credits (which needs to exceed how many credits this send will use)
    • whether or not your message includes Unicode characters
    • the address books you’re sending to
    • the send time
    • the number of recipients
    • the estimated credits you’ll use for this send (this is an estimate only and doesn't account for longer messages due to personalisation)
  6. Click Send campaign


Sending a test send of an SMS campaign

The test send function is initiated by clicking the Test send button, which is available in various places within the application. One of them is in the page where you compose and edit your SMS campaigns. It can also be accessed in the 'Test send' column in the 'Unsent' and 'Sent' sections on the SMS dashboard. To do a test send:

  1. Select the Test send button. The 'Test send' side panel slides in. To add a new mobile number to your 'Test' address book, select New test address. Enter the phone number in international format, and then click Create. Please note that you can't add suppressed contacts to your test address book. If you see the 'Errors found' message when trying to add a new address, this is likely to be the reason why.
  2. Select a test number to choose contacts to send to (hold Ctrl to select multiple addresses). You can also search for them by their phone number. ,
  3. Select Test send to confirm the send, once you've made your selections.

Using the outbox

The SMS outbox is where sent campaigns sit whilst they're being sent, or if they're scheduled for sending. Once all the sends are processed, the campaign moves to the 'Sent' area. If you're only sending a small campaign, you won't see your campaign on this screen as it will be processed too quickly.

Up until the time of send, you can cancel campaigns in the outbox, which sends them back to the 'Unsent' section, if they haven't been sent before, where you can edit and rescheduled or send them. If they’ve been sent before, the campaigns return to the 'Sent' area. The outbox has a column where you can see what date and time the campaign is scheduled to be sent; it also has a summary icon. If you click on the Summary icon, more information is shown about the send including the ‘From name’ you’re sending from, whether or not the message contains Unicode, the address books you’re sending to, the number of recipients and the estimated credits for the send.

Cancelling and modifying scheduled sends

You can cancel or modify a scheduled SMS send up until the time of send.

Cancelling your scheduled SMS campaign

To cancel an SMS campaign, go to the 'Outbox' area and click on the Cancel send icon that'll be next to the message you’d like to cancel, then select ‘Cancel send’ in the side bar.

Modifying your scheduled SMS campaign

To modify your SMS campaign, click the Cancel send icon and select 'Cancel send'. If the message has never been sent before, it will return to the 'Unset' section, where you can edit and reschedule it. If it has been sent before, it’ll return to the 'Sent' section. To modify this message, copy it. The copy will appear in the 'Unsent' section where you can make any edits you need before rescheduling.

Any sent or unsent SMS campaigns you've created can be copied, allowing you to easily edit an existing campaign without having to start all over again from scratch. To do so:

  1. Navigate to the SMS 'My campaigns' section
  2. Select either the 'Sent' or 'Unsent' tab, as appropriate
  3. Find the campaign you wish to copy, and click on the Copy icon
  4. Give the copied campaign a new name. Once complete, click Save.

Selecting SMS send speed

Similar to email campaigns, you can throttle broadcast SMS campaign sending speeds. Selecting a send rate for your SMS campaigns is a great solution to control the flow of inbound responses. You can turn on throttling, even if an SMS campaign is an immediate or a scheduled send.

To use this feature, you can find it on the Send campaign page (under Campaigns) when you’re creating a campaign, next to the Select send time area. The send will be broken down into chunks (of 100 contacts) over the time period you select, therefore the minimum number of contacts required for throttling to work is 100.

You can use the default sending speed, meaning as soon as possible, or spread the campaign send out over 1, 2, 3, 6, 12 or 24 hours.

Sending a single SMS message

To send a single SMS message to a single contact (and this contact doesn't need to already exist in an address book):

  1. Go to Contacts > Send single message

  2. The 'Send single message' page firstly confirms how many SMS send credits you have remaining

    SMS_send_single_message.pngEnter the intended recipient's number and the message you wish to send to them. Again, if you exceed 160 characters (or 70 characters if you're using a non-Latin alphabet/character set), then your message will flow into a second SMS, as indicated by the counter at the foot of the message.
  3. Once happy, click Send.

The message is sent immediately. A page will confirm the message has been sent, along with the amount of send credits you have remaining.

The contact that you've sent to will also be added to your 'All contacts' SMS address book if they didn't already exist before.

You can also send a single SMS message via our API, using the Send SMS message operation in REST and the SendSingleSmsMessage method in SOAP.

SMS message length and Unicode

The length of an SMS message

SMS messages are constructed in sections, referred to as segments. Message sends are costed and charged per segment. In most geographical locations around the world, a single SMS segment represents a maximum of 160 standard GSM characters. Spaces between words are also counted as characters. When typing your message, be aware that the longer it gets, the more it will cost.

Long SMS messages

SMS messages containing more than 160 standard GSM characters are referred to as long messages. Smartphone handsets can combine or stitch multiple SMS segments into a single message. This is referred to as a concatenated message.

When segments are stitched together, seven characters are sacrificed per segment to facilitate concatenation. Therefore, the maximum character count for long messages are:

  • 2 message segments: 153+153=306 standard GSM characters
  • 3 message segments: 153+153+153=459 standard GSM characters
  • 4 message segments: 153+153+153+153=612 standard GSM characters

Standard GSM character set

The standard GSM set contains most widely used characters in everyday language: all Latin characters (A-Z), digits (0-9), plus a few special characters such as Ö and è. For each standard GSM character typed into a message, a single character space is consumed from the SMS segment.

Extended GSM character set

In addition to standard GSM characters, certain characters from the extended GSM character set, such as € and { symbols can be used in SMS messages. The 160 segment count remains, however these characters will use additional space (x2 spaces per character).

Unicode (non-standard GSM)

Non-standard GSM characters are referred to as Unicode characters. Unicode provides a set of additional characters, including punctuation marks, mathematical symbols, technical symbols, arrows, and characters making up non-Latin alphabets such as Thai, Chinese, or Arabic script and Emojis.

While Unicode is supported in SMS messaging, be aware that its usage will affect your message length.

Introducing a single Unicode character in your message content changes the character encoding to Unicode (UCS-2) and will immediately reduce the segment character limit from 160 to 70 characters for a single message.

When messages are stitched together with Unicode characters included, three characters are sacrificed per segment. Therefore:

  • 2 message segments with Unicode: 67+67=134 characters
  • 3 message segments with Unicode: 67+67+67=201 characters
  • 4 message segments with Unicode: 67+67+67+67=268 characters

Using Emoji in your SMS messages

Emoji use is supported in SMS messaging. All Emojis are treated as Unicode characters, reducing message segments to 70 characters. Older 16-bit Emojis will count as a single character count and newer 32-bit emojis count as two characters in a message.

Unicode alert

When you include Unicode in your SMS message, you’ll get an alert to let you know there's Unicode in the message. If you meant to include Unicode, you can just ignore it, but if you didn’t, you can click on the ‘Find out more’ link. This will open a side panel which will show you what characters are Unicode. If you included Unicode by accident, such as copying and pasting an apostrophe from MS Word, you can easily delete this in the editor and replace it and the Unicode alert will disappear. You may wish to keep some Unicode–such as emojis–in your message, but remember, they may affect the length and cost of your message.

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