When creating a broadcast message or keyword campaign there are many elements in these messages, such as: links, special characters, emojis, coupons, and compliance language. However, it's important to understand message encoding requirements and how it may affect parts of your message, such as character count.

The character limit of one SMS message is 160 characters. If the 160 character count is exceeded, the SMS is split into multiple messages. View a real-time preview of message content located on the right-hand of the screen to be sure you're creating a message within character limits. You will also see the estimated message count at the bottom of the compose section. If your SMS message exceeds 160 characters you can also choose to convert the messages into MMS messages.

Character Sets

The types of characters used in an SMS message will determine the type of encoding used. The two types of SMS character encoding are:

  • UTF-8 Encoding – includes the most commonly used letters and symbols to send text messages. UTF-8 encoded SMS messages allow up to 160 characters.
  • UTF-16 Encoding – are used for special characters (such as emojis and apostrophes) outside the UTF-8 alphabet in text messaging. UTF-16 characters limits messages to 70 characters.

When creating a message, be conscious of the following:

  • Message encoding that changes from UTF-8 to UTF-16 changes the amount of available characters in a message to 70 (instead of 160).
  • Check the available character count with the real-time preview to avoid sending a message outside of the applicable limits.
  • If a message contains 160 characters or less and is showing you're exceeding message count limit, please check the body of your message for special characters.
  • Special characters including: | , ^ , € , { , } , [ , ] , ~ , \ and emojis count as two characters in an SMS message.
  • Emojis can be inserted into your message by copying (Ctrl+C) and pasting (Ctrl+V) using the Browser column emoji.
  • Most special character encoding can be removed by pasting your message into Notepad and copying it into Listrak.
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