How to Create a SMS Message

  • Updated

To create and send a SMS message, go to SMS > Messages and click New Message.


Changes to SMS Messages are auto-saved and available to view in the Drafts tab (SMS > Messages > Drafts).


When you start a new message, you will first see the Recipients tab.

This is where you define your Message Title, Description, and choose Recipients. The Message Title and Description are for use within Act-On and are not visible to Recipients. 



Adding Recipients

Click +Add Recipients. From here you can select Marketing List(s) or Segment(s) to send your SMS.

SMS-ineligible lists will have a mceclip5.png  icon and cannot be selected. These lists either don’t have the Cell Phone field identified on the list or have no phone numbers. See How to Identify the Cell Phone field on your Marketing List for instructions.

Select your List(s) and/or Segment(s) and click Submit.


Once you have selected Recipients, the Recipient Summary which will show you:

  • Selected Recipients
  • Recipients without a mobile number
  • Recipients who aren’t opted in to receive SMS (not on the Opt-In List)
  • Duplicate phone numbers (across all selected lists)
  • Total eligible Recipients (Number of selected recipients - Duplicates - No Opt-Ins - Recipients without a phone number)
  • Percent of eligible Recipients out of all selected Recipients


Next, navigate to the Message tab to create the SMS Message.

Message Tab

From here you will compose, review, and send your SMS.  

Composing a SMS Message


SMS Messages send as plain text only. Changes are auto-saved as you work.

Hint: You can undo changes to the Message Text by using Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Cmd+Z (Mac) on your keyboard.

SMS Message Composer Tools

The SMS Message Composer has three tools you can use to generate text for your message.

Icon Tool Description


Link Shortener and Tracker

This will add a custom short link to your SMS Message.

Visit our guide here for more information: How to Use the SMS Link Shortener and Tracker



This will add Personalization to your SMS Message.

Visit our guide here for more information: How to Use SMS Personalization


Add Opt-Out Text

Click the Opt-out text icon to add “Txt STOP to OptOut” to the end of your Message Text.

Note! It is a best practice to include this in most messages, and at least every 5 to a customer.

Character Count, Concatenation, and SMS Credits

A single SMS is up to 160 characters. If your message is longer than that, it will count as more than one SMS Credit based on the total number of characters.

You can track your current character count in the bottom right corner of the message area. This number will also always account for the maximum length of personalizations and shortened links. That way you can be sure how many messages you will be sending.

Concatenation Preview

When your message exceeds 160 characters, the SMS will either deliver as Individual Messages (e.g. split into 2 or more separate texts), or as a Concatenated Message where the SMS is grouped together as a longer single message. You can toggle this in the Message Preview section to see what each delivery would look like.



What is a Concatenated Message?

Some, but not all, mobile carriers group a message with over 160 characters as a single message. This is concatenated. When a message is not concatenated, Recipients will receive multiple text notifications, for example.

Concatenation does NOT impact SMS Credits, and is not available from all mobile carriers. 

Credits Summary 

Here you can see your Available credits and the credits that will be used in this send.  Credits are calculated by taking the number of recipients and multiplying by the number of messages. 


Next Steps

Once you have finished creating your message, it is time to send it. 

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