Long text messages, sometimes referred to as long SMS or concatenated SMS, are messages longer than the 160-character limit imposed by most carriers. While 160 characters may seem short for personal communication, it can be very restrictive for business use cases like sending promotions, announcements, alerts, multi-step instructions, etc. Thankfully, modern SMS software and gateways like SMSLocal allow sending long text messages seamlessly while optimizing deliverability.
What is a Long Text Message?
A long text message is any SMS longer than 160 characters (140 bytes). Most mobile carriers divide messages longer than 160 characters into 153-character segments, called concatenated SMS, so they can be recombined on the receiving device into one long message.
For example, a 300-character SMS would be sent as two 153-character messages and displayed as a single 300-character message on the recipient’s phone.
Benefits of Using Long Text Messages
Long text messages have many benefits compared to standard 160-character SMS:
- Convey more information: With over 2x more characters, long text messages allow communicating complex ideas, detailed instructions, in-depth explanations, etc. This leads to better engagement.
- Improve open rates: Recipients are more likely to open and read long informative messages compared to short generic ones. This increases response rates.
- Deliver promotions: Long SMS can include detailed product/service descriptions, offers, coupon codes, website links, etc. ideal for marketing campaigns.
- Send alerts and notifications: Long text message memes can provide context and detailed notifications for order updates, account changes, delivery alerts, etc.
- Guide users: Step-by-step instructions, directions, troubleshooting tips, etc. are only possible with long text.
Examples of Using Long Text Messages
Here are some examples of effective uses of long text messages:
- Welcome messages to new app/service users explaining features and settings
- Appointment reminders with location maps and contact information
- Shipping notifications with tracking info and delivery estimate times
- Restaurant menus showcasing daily specials and new items
- Class/event reminders with schedules, room numbers, speaker bios
- Retail coupons with product images/descriptions and discount code
- Password reset instructions with a reset link and steps
- Automated chatbot conversations with contextual responses and questions
Best Practices for Long Text Messages
Follow these best practices when crafting and sending long text messages:
- Lead with value: Start with the most useful info like offers, event details, alert reasons, etc.
- Get to the point: Be concise and don’t make recipients scroll to get to the meat of the message.
- Personalize: Use merge tags to include names, locations, purchase details, etc.
- Use images wisely: Include only small, compressed images when necessary to augment text.
- Make it scannable: Use bullets, lists, headers, and emphasis formatting to improve scannability.
- Provide options: Include links, phone numbers, shortcut codes, etc. to provide value and get a response.
- Test thoroughly: Check rendering on all major mobile platforms during QA. Use an SMS validator.
- Segment audiences: Customize messages based on user preferences, demographics, past interactions, etc.
- Analyze results: Use SMS analytics to identify popular messages and continuously improve campaigns.
Structuring Long Text Messages
Since long texts cannot be scanned as easily as short ones, structure is important. Here are some tips:
- Start with a descriptive heading summarizing the content
- Use numbered lists for step-by-step instructions
- Break into paragraphs with blank lines for sections
- Bold or italicize keywords, titles, and references for emphasis
- Place links, phone numbers, etc. on their line for visibility
- End with a call-to-action reminding recipients of key info
Keeping Long Text Messages Engaging
To maintain recipient engagement in a long text message, consider employing a variety of formatting techniques. Strategically incorporating emojis can help convey tone and emphasis, while relevant images, GIFs, and videos add visual interest when applicable. To break up the text and enhance readability, alternate between paragraph styles, such as bullet points, numbered lists, and headers. Utilize contractions and an active voice for a more casual and approachable tone.
However, it’s important to limit the use of hard-to-read ALL CAPS, excessive return spaces, and special characters. Additionally, inserting questions and prompts can encourage recipient responses, fostering interaction. To keep the content engaging, sprinkle in interesting facts, statistics, and quotes related to the subject matter, creating a captivating and informative long text message meme that resonates with your audience.
This table provides examples of SMS character limits and long message concatenation for some major carriers across countries where SMSLocal provides SMS services.
|Country||Carrier||Max SMS Length||Concatenation Limit|
|United States||AT&T||160||500 characters|
|United States||Verizon||160||500 characters|
|United States||T-Mobile||160||930 characters|
|United States||Sprint||160||500 characters|
|United Kingdom||Vodafone||160||500 characters|
|United Kingdom||O2||160||500 characters|
How SMSLocal Supports Long Text Messages
SMSLocal provides a reliable SMS API and web interface to send long text messages seamlessly.
Key benefits include:
- Automatic segmentation – long SMS are split properly and recombined by our system
- Multi-part detection – two-way SMS concatenation ensures proper delivery
- 24/7 deliverability – built-in queuing and retry logic for reliable delivery
- Real-time analytics – reports include messages sent, delivered, and more
- Global coverage – send long SMS to over 240 countries and regions
- Flexible APIs – send via REST API, PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, and more
- Knowledgeable support – Get access to SMS experts to optimize campaigns
Challenges with Long Text Messages
While long text messages enable communicating more information via SMS, there are some challenges to consider:
- Character limits – carriers have different concentration limits, often 300-600 characters
- Extra fees – Some carriers charge higher rates for long SMS, especially internationally
- Compatibility issues – very old phones may not properly recombine messages
- Spam perception – recipients may mistake long texts from unknown numbers as spam
- Delivery failures – Individual message segments can fail due to phone outages
- No standard format – no universal standard for multi-part SMS headers/formatting
That’s why it’s crucial to use a modern SMS platform like SMSLocal that transparently handles concatenation, deliverability, and analytics for long text messages behind the scenes.
Step-by-Step Guide to Sending Long SMS with SMSLocal
SMSLocal makes sending long text messages simple through both its web interface and APIs. Here’s how:
1. Sign Up for SMSLocal
First, you’ll need to create a free SMSLocal account. Simply enter your email address and password on the signup form to get started.
2. Purchase SMS Credits
Next purchase SMS credits to fund your long text message account using PayPal, card, or wire transfer. 1 credit = 1 SMS message.
Get started with the minimum $10 top-up to receive 100 credits. Bulk discounts are available for larger purchases.
3. Compose Your Long SMS
Now you’re ready to write your long SMS. Navigate to the “Compose SMS” page and type your message.
The character counter will display your message length. Messages are automatically split and re-combined during delivery.
4. Upload Contacts
Upload recipient phone numbers by clicking Import. You can upload numbers in a CSV or Excel file.
5. Schedule and Send
Finally, set your delivery date/time and click Send to deliver your long SMS.
You can also enable options like repeat sending. Reporting will display the number of messages sent, delivered, and more.
That’s it! With SMSLocal you can easily send effective long text messages to improve results.
Long text messages enable communicating complex ideas and detailed information via SMS by concatenating multiple standard messages together.
Key benefits of long SMS are conveying more information, improving open rates, delivering promotions, guiding users, and sending notifications.
To ensure success, always lead with value, personalize content, make it scannable, test thoroughly before sending long text messages, and analyze performance.
SMSLocal provides all the tools needed to easily send long SMS worldwide and optimize deliverability. Sign up today to start sending impactful long text messages that get results.