Manage SMS content

  • Updated


  • Enable App Directory. Contact your Customer Success Manager.
  • Have your Optimizely phone number for SMS configured. To check your phone number, go to App Directory > SMS > Settings > Configuration. If you do not see a number, contact your Customer Success Manager.


Install and set up SMS

  1. Go to
  2. Click Install.
  3. Create a campaign and choose SMS from the list of available channels.
  4. Design your message and click preview.

The app lets you create and preview SMS campaigns. Contact Customer Support to complete the SMS setup to send live messages. The following image shows the Settings tab of the SMS App, which shows that you are ready to send test messages and live campaigns!

Consent – To send an SMS message to a phone, you must collect consent from your customer to be compliant with TCPA and the CAN-SPAM act. Make sure you follow best practices when you collect your customer's phone number and consent. By providing consent data to Optimizely Data Platform (ODP), you can ensure your customers do not receive any unexpected messages.

The SMS protocols at the telephone carrier level have limitations: 160 characters per messages for standard messages, or 70 characters per message if your message contains non-Latin characters, such as emojis or characters from Asian or Eastern European languages. Most phones will re-combine the messages so it is not often noticeable by your customer, but each message segment is billable, so it is important to be aware of your message lengths.

Add SMS and MMS to a campaign

You can use SMS and MMS in your campaigns to reach customers through text messages.

  1. Add SMS touchpoint.
    • After opening a new one-time, behavioral, or transactional campaign, go to Touchpoints > Touchpoint 1 > Edit > SMS.


    • If you are adding SMS as a new channel to an existing campaign, go to a touchpoint > Add Channel>SMS.
  2. Select sender profile.

    Under SMS Settings, select the phone number (Promotional or Transactional) from which you will send your text message. Only customers who subscribed to transactional campaigns will have the option to select Transactional here.


  3. Compose your text message.

    Add the copy of your SMS into the Message field. You have a 160-character limit for SMS messages with Latin characters. you have a 70-character limit if an SMS message contains non-Latin characters (such as Cyrillic or Hiragana), non-ASCII characters (such as smart quotes), and emojis. These limitations are set by carriers and not by Optimizely.

    Some tools, including MS Word, automatically update characters to smart quotes, which will lower your character count. 

    If a text message contains more than 160 (or 70) characters, it is delivered but billed as an additional text message sent. The recipients will likely see a single, long message, as carriers often combine messages with multiple parts.


    If you subscribed to MMS, you have additional options for your message. Add a visual element by enabling MMS and adding a URL link for your image.

  4. Personalize your SMS.

    Personalize your SMS with dynamic content by using Liquid. Any data you have on your customer is available to use for personalization. However, dynamic content populated into your message might exceed the 160- (or 70-) character limit and count as multiple messages.


  5. Use the URL shortener.

    Optimizely's URL shortener is automatically enabled for links included in your text messages. You should use it for the following reasons:

    • It gives you access to additional tracking to understand what content generated engagement by indicating clicks in the Engagement Report for SMS touchpoints.
    • It lowers your character count and cost for the total messages sent.
    The shortened URL only appears in Preview. The original link is shown in the message editor.
  6. Preview Your SMS.

    Click Preview to see what your SMS or MMS would look like to your target segment. Click on the preview screen to see the full message in the phone’s messaging app.

    The character counter below the preview displays the number of characters your message contains and shows the estimated number of messages that will be sent per user. The character counter is blue when you are within the 160- (or 70-) character limit and orange when you are over the character limit. 


  7. After designing your text message, click Go Live.


Track Campaign performance

You can track the performance of your SMS touchpoints the same way you would for emails. After launching your campaign, use the touchpoint summary reports to learn about the performance of your SMS (or MMS) touchpoint.

The displayed number of messages sent in Optimizely Data Platform (ODP) may not match up with the number of messages based on which you will be billed. The 160- (or 70-) character limit is counted as one SMS in touchpoint summary reports but as multiple SMS in billing. If want to know the number of messages for which you will be billed, look at the SMS Billing Report.

Report SMS billing

Go to App Directory > SMS > Settings > Billing. The SMS Billing Report displays the number of SMS and MMS messages you sent and received for which you will be billed. You can compare the total number of messages to your subscription limit to determine whether you are still within the range of your subscription or if you will have to pay for overages. 


Select which month's metrics to view from the drop-down. The current month shows a partial report. 

The table displays messages sent to Canada in a separate row because there is a small surcharge for messaging outside the U.S.

Decide among toll-free SMS, short codes, and local numbers

Marketers do not need to have five-digit short codes to send high-volume, programmatic SMS. You can now use other numbers for your SMS strategy.

First, decide whether to send from a number dedicated to application-to-person (A2P) or person-to-person (P2P) messaging.

  • A2P – Delivers automatic outbound alerts or notifications from an application to a person on the other end and can be used for higher volumes of messages such as alerts, appointment reminders, or automatic notifications.
  • P2P – Commonly used to deliver messages from a person to another person but handles only one message per second.

This comparison shows the differences between local, toll-free, and short code numbers for SMS.

  • Local (555-555-5555)
    • Limited to one message per second per phone number
    • P2P or A2P
    • Instant time to market
    • $
  • Toll-free (1-800-555-5555)
    • Virtually unlimited messages per second with approval
    • A2P only
    • Instant time to market
    • $$
  • Short codes (55555)
    • Virtually unlimited messages per second with approval
    • A2P only
    • Weeks or months time to market
    • $$$

You should use toll-free numbers for the following reasons:

  • You can send unlimited messages per second, a significant advantage over local numbers.
  • Optimizely has already secured the required approval. Messages from short codes may take as long as 12 weeks to get carrier approval.
  • You only need a local number if you plan to use P2P messaging.
  • Toll-free numbers are much more cost-effective than short codes.