Long SMS is no longer SMS

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“Corporation XXX provides long-body text SMS service up to 700 letters, how about you?” Recently we often receive this kind of inquiry. Taking this chance, I want to deep dive into Why we send LONG messages using Short message service.

To begin with, SMS (Short Messaging Services) can send only up to 160 ASCII (70 non-ASCII) letters no matter who your recipient is. Although some services provide functions to allow you to send longer than that standard as one message, One Message Up to 160 ASCII (70 non-ASCII) is a golden rule.

Using Xoxzo’s SMS-APIs, long messages can be sent (delivers divided multiple messages) like one message.

But I wonder whether we should send Long Short-messages or not, even when it is technically possible.

I would say No.

Although the opening rate is way higher

Our prior blog post Why you should adopt SMS for your business communication says, the opening rate for SMS is higher than email. Most of the people would open and read SMS within 3 sec of the delivery.

Not a few businesses would shift their marketing campaigns using SMS from sluggish rising emails as they got to know this.

But please note that SMS has its own regulation that can fit only up to 70 letters (non-ASCII) and this is true in the whole wide world, no matter which service you use. In case you find your vender’s sending page says they can accept the message longer than that, the message will be divided on sending and you will be charged for exactly the number of messages divided. There is no assurance that those divided messages are to be delivered in the order you sent.

SMS is an effective tool to send a short message that will trigger an intuitive action. If the marketing SMS is delivered with a long message like an email, which also was in multiple divided messages, unfortunately sometimes not in the right order… that would lower the Customer Experience (UX) for sure, as well as the recipient, would never read the SMS from you.


SMS cost 800 times more

SMS sending costs JPY 10 – 20/per message while email does only JPY 0.025 with a well-established service.

If you try to shift from sending 200 letters to email magazine to using SMS, the cost of one message increases from JPY 0.025 to JPY 30. The total cost to send 1,000 customers will be as much as JPY 30,000 via SMS while it can be done by JPY 25.

So there seem no ways to use SMS sending for what you were to send via email, no matter how good opening rates SMS has.

The high opening rates that SMS has is built up because the messages can be personalized. The customers will leave you if you send SMS like you do email marketing. It, of course, depends on the customers, but this is common to say that 4 times a month marketing SMS would be already too much.

What will we do then?

Please let me repeat here, SMS is an effective tool to send a short message that will trigger an intuitive action. What this action really means is to click on a link or to call a phone.

Different from mass-email sending that could include generic information, the sender has to study and know your customer for sending a short & effective SMS that could trigger the action of your user… This seems quite basic but actually is a high-level work to do, not all people can do who had never up to CRM (customer management). Please know your customer.


Short-Message-Service is the service to send Short messages as it is named.

In case you really have to inform your customers with tons of sales notices, please prepare a smart-phone sized website full of information, and send the URL via SMS. Please note that the link URL is also counted as the letters, so use URL shortening service to make it short and create a simple message as possible.

Using these URL messages, you are not only sending simple and short messages but also are able to track the effectiveness of the SMS notice by utilizing the link-analysis tools. Our Xoxzo Web API also has released a link tracking tool that additionally shortens links. Read more about the link tracking feature here.

It is important to understand the differences between SMS and emails and take advantage of each tool and select one of them according to the situation, they are both good communication tools.

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SMS industry