Frequently asked questions
On this page, we’ll attempt to answer your most stringent questions about SMS!
Can you include links in an SMS?
You can include any link in any SMS campaign you would like. However, there are a few concerns to consider:
- Links may take up much of the 160 character limit for SMS. If you include a link and text, it may result in two SMS messages instead of just one.
- Companies often use link shorteners to limit the character count impact of a link. However, if sending a shortened link through a long code, carriers may block or deny the message, as they may be suspicious of the link redirect.
- Using a short code would be the most reliable number type for including links.
Braze also has its own link-shortening feature that will shorten links and provide click-through analytics automatically. Refer to Link Shortening for more information.
Do test text messages count toward limits?
Yes, they do. Keep this in mind when testing messages.
Does a user need to be part of an SMS subscription group to receive SMS test messages?
Yes, they do. Users must have a valid phone number and be part of the SMS subscription group used for the test send.
Do you need to rate-limit how fast you send SMS messages?
The default concurrency rate and throughput enable about 360,000 messages an hour per short code. Additional throughput requires additional short codes.
How can I avoid overages?
While we can’t promise that you won’t occasionally have an overage, you could follow these precautions to decrease the chances of going over your allotted limits:
- Pay attention to the number of characters in your SMS. Unintentionally sending more than one segment could cause overages. For more details, refer to our segment breakdown.
- Carefully calculate your SMS characters to account for Liquid or Connected Content. The Braze SMS composer in your dashboard does not estimate or factor in the usage of either of these features.
- Consider the type of encoding your message uses - if your message uses GSM-7 encoding, you can usually estimate that you can send a message with 128 characters per message segment. If your message uses UCS-2 encoding, you can usually estimate that you can send a message with 67 characters per message segment.
- Test, test, and test! Always test your SMS messages before launch, especially when using Liquid and Connected Content.
What are the best sending practices to avoid spam detection for SMS?
- Make sure opt-in and opt-out instructions are clear.
- Ensure you (the brand) have a relationship with the customer.
- Make sure the content is relevant to the relationship and what the user has opted-in to receive.
For more guidelines on avoiding spam detection, visit SMS laws and regulations guidelines.
How do you create logic for selective opt-ins to SMS so users are in the right subscription group?
Custom keywords would be written as custom events, so you would want to create segments based on the keywords customers can text in. For example, if a user opts in to SMS for VIP messages but not alerts, you can create a VIP segment and an alerts segment, then assign the user to the appropriate segment.
How many characters does an emoji utilize?
Emojis can be tricky, as there is no standard character count across all emojis. There is the risk the emoji will exceed the character limit and break the SMS into multiple messages, despite it showing as one message in the Braze composer. When testing your messages, you can better verify if a message will be split using our segment calculator.
If a user texts “Stop” to our short code, are they unsubscribed from the subscription group?
What does that look like on the user profile? The subscription group will revert to 2 dashes (- -), and there will be custom events for subscribe and unsubscribe.
Is there a way to see if an alias exists on a user profile?
Aliases are not visible on the user profile. You would need to use the Export User Data endpoints to confirm aliases being set.
What are shared short codes?
With a shared short code, all text messages, no matter what business or organization sends them, arrive on a consumer’s mobile device from the same 5-6 digit phone number. While shared short codes are relatively low-cost and immediately available, this means that your business will not have a dedicated short code.
Some downsides to this approach include:
- If your customers opts-out of another business’s messages that have a shared short code with you, they will have opted out of your messages as well.
- If one business violates the rules, all businesses’ messages are suspended.
- Security issues
How do you allowlist URLs for SMS?
Before sending SMS messages containing URLs to users in certain countries (for example, Sweden or Nordic countries), you must get these URLs registered with the carrier. Reach out to your Braze customer service manager to help. This process will take around five days.
What happens if multiple users have the same phone number?
When multiple user profiles that share one phone number (enabled for SMS) are eligible for a campaign or Canvas component at the same time, triggered by the event of an inbound SMS, Braze will de-dupe users on the Canvas component level. This will ensure users do not receive more than one SMS text for a Canvas component, even if multiple users share the same phone number.
Braze will use the following flow to determine the recipient profile:
- Check which profile received SMS most recently (up to 7 days ago); if one exists, send it to that user.
- If neither had received SMS up to 7 days ago, send to the user who has a user alias of “phone” that matches the phone number.
- If neither exists, send to a random profile between the ones available.
If you receive a “START” or “STOP” keyword from the shared phone number, all user profiles will be subscribed and enabled for SMS or unsubscribed. This also applies to API state changes. For example, if multiple profiles with different external IDs have the same phone numbers, a subscription group state change via the API will update all profiles with that phone number, even if only one external ID is specified.
If you stagger your users into a Canvas and have different schedule times for each Canvas component, you can send a user with the same email or phone duplicate messages.
Will SMS event properties capture keywords in a sentence?
For a keyword to be recognized within a sentence, (for example, “please stop texting me”), you’ll need to use a Liquid statement in the message to recognize the specific word. Event properties have a character limit of 256; otherwise, there is no character limit.
Why is the Braze dashboard warning me I may be charged for additional message segments when my message is under 160(GCM-7) or 70(UCS-2) characters?
You might be charged additional message segments if you have Liquid personalization included in your message. Content Block templating does not occur until the message is preparing to be sent. When you are editing an SMS with a Content Block, Braze does not know what the Content Block will contain but provides a rough estimate. We recommend that users use the test pane to preview the message to better understand what to expect.
What is an
app_id in the SMS API object?
The app identifier API key or
app_id is a parameter associating activity with a specific app in your workspace. It designates which app within the workspace you are interacting with. For example, you will find that you will have an
app_id for your iOS app, an
app_id for your android app, and an
app_id for your web integration.
You can find your
app_id by navigating to Settings > App Settings and locating the Identification section.
How will I be billed for SMS?
Besides the charges for short and long codes, Braze provides an allotment of SMS messages for different countries. That is, we work with you to set a certain number of message segments for different countries, which you’ll use to send SMS campaigns. Billing is done by the number of message segments sent per country. To read more about how message segments are calculated see our Message Segments and Copy Limits guide. Your account manager will reach out to let you know if you are close to reaching your maximum, providing relevant reports to help keep you informed. For further questions regarding overages, reach out to your Braze representative.
If a message is sent to a landline, will the message still count toward my SMS send count?
In the US, Canada, and UK:
- If an SMS is sent to a landline, it will be marked as Undelivered. Note that Twilio will still charge for attempted delivery, so messages marked as Sent, Delivered, or Undelivered in your message logs will be billed.
- In the UK, some carriers will convert the SMS into a voicemail, delivering the message.
In other countries:
- Twilio will throw an error, and you will not be billed for the attempted SMS message.
If a user is opted out and sends a keyword to our short and long code, do they receive the response we configured for that keyword in Braze?
If a user is opted out and sends a keyword from one of the default keyword categories, they will receive the response for that keyword. If a user is opted out and sends a custom keyword, they will not receive the response for that keyword.