Manage SMS content (Legacy)

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To start working with SMS, you need to have App Directory enabled. Contact your Customer Success Manager to get started. 

You also need to 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.


Once you have access to App Directory and your phone number has been generated, you can start using SMS in your campaigns.


Installation and setup

  1. Click Install.
  2. Create a new campaign and choose SMS from the list of available channels.
  3. Design your message and click preview.
The app will allow you to create and preview SMS campaigns. Contact Customer Support to complete the SMS setup in order to start sending live messages. Once your account is completely setup, the settings tab of the SMS App will look like the following:
Your toll-free number will be shown on this form. All your SMS messages will come from this number.
This means you are ready to start sending test messages and live campaigns!


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.

Message Segments

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.
When previewing an SMS campaign in the ODP Campaign Creator, you can see the estimated message count below the preview:

Add SMS and MMS to a campaign

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

Step 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.



Step 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.


Step 3: Compose your text message

Add the copy of your SMS into the message field. By default, the character limit for SMS messages with latin characters is 160. If an SMS message contains non-latin characters (such as Cyrillic or Hiragana), non-ascii characters (such as smart quotes), and emojis, the character limit is reduced to 70. These limitations are set by carriers and not by Optimizely.

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

If a text message contains over 160/70 characters, it will still be 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 toggling on MMS and adding a URL link for your image.


Step 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 160/70 character limit and count as multiple messages.


Step 5: Use the URL shortener

Optimizely's URL shortener is automatically enabled for links included in your text messages. We highly recommend you use it for two main reasons:

  1. It gives you access to additional tracking to understand what content generated engagement by indicating clicks in the Engagement Report for SMS touchpoints.
  2. It lowers your character count and cost for total messages sent.

Note that the shortened URL will only appear in Preview. The original link shows in the message editor.

Step 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 will display the number of characters your message contains and show the estimated number of messages that will be sent per user. The character counter is blue when you are within the 160/70 character limit and orange when you are over the character limit. 



Step 7: Launch 

After designing your text message, click Go Live.


Tracking SMS metrics

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.


Note that 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 160/70 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.

SMS billing report

The SMS Billing Report informs you of 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. 

You can navigate to this report by going to App Directory > SMS > Settings > Billing.


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 on a separate row because there is a small surcharge for messaging outside the U.S.

Toll-free SMS, short codes, and local numbers