When you are sending an SMS message, it is important to keep in mind the total count of characters used in a message. One SMS message can hold up to 160 characters, this means that long links to your store might eat up most of the characters and double your expenses. 

To make sure you are not using too many characters for your links, we have an option to replace them with unique short links. Since we also want to be able to track clicks and sales your SMS messages generate, we are using our own domains. Therefore, addressing both problems with the least efforts from your side.

Contents

How link replacement works
Counting used characters
Link tracking

You can start from the video recording for quick explanation or look through the instructions provided below.

How link replacement works

Every time you add a link to your SMS message, we take it and replace it with a unique shortened link. These shortened and replaced links are unique to each of your recipients. Replacement happens when we prepare your message to be sent, so it is not actually seen when you are preparing your workflow. 

Regardless of your link's length, we can replace it with a link that has the same pattern: otxt1.com/la/XXXXX (automation) and otxt1.com/lc/XXXXX (campaigns).

The link consists of three major parts:

  • otxt1.com - this is the domain we are using to shorten, replace, and track your links in SMS messages.
  • l - this stands for a link and allows us to separate this link from unsubscribe and automation links on your SMS messages. lc - this stands for link campaign and allows us to separate this link from unsubscribe links and automation links on your SMS messages.
  • XXXXX - the unique part, which is always different for each of your recipients. This allows us to track very precisely who clicked on your link in the SMS.

 💡 To make sure your recipients recognize your brand, we recommend starting your message with your "BRAND NAME:".

Counting used characters

SMS messages allow up to 160 characters on a single SMS. However, you can write messages longer than that - they will be split into several ones and delivered to your recipients as two, three, or more separate SMS messages. 

We provide you with a character counter at the top of the SMS text input field. This is a precise counter in cases where you are not adding any links to the message. However, in some cases you might add a link, therefore, the counter might not be that precise.

Once you add a link to your SMS message, the counter will count all of the characters in that link and subtract from the total left. If you use the link shortening option, the real character count might be shorter. 

For example: if we send an SMS with the text "https://www.omnisend.com" (see image below) it shows that we used 24 characters. As we send it out, the link will be replaced by otxt1.com/lc/xxxxx, which uses only 15 characters. 

 

Link tracking

Link replacement is good not only because you use fewer characters in your SMS messages, but also does it allow you to track the clicks from your SMS messages - this is something that is rarely seen in SMS marketing but, to our mind, it is very important.

When your SMS message is sent, and a link on it is clicked, we automatically track that click and show it on your reports. 

Also, we add UTM parameters for that link, so you can track it through your Google Analytics as well. Here are the parameters we add:

  • utm_source={{presetName}} - the name of your preset, which changes every time you change the name of it. E.g., Abandoned Cart, Order Confirmation, etc.
  • utm_medium=sms - this parameter always stays the same.
  • utm_campaign={{flowBlockID}} - this is the ID of the SMS block in your workflow. If you use more than one SMS block on your automation workflow, it allows you to identify which block's link was clicked. You will be able to find block ID's on your reports.
  • contactID={{contactID}} - the encoded ID of your recipient. 
  • flowID={{flowID}} - the ID of your automation workflow. 

Disabling Link shortening

You have an option to disable link replacement, so your links will be more recognizable for your customers, as they'll contain your brand name. For example, if you add https://omnisend.com link to your SMS, it will look the same way on your customers' end. That's why it is more likely to generate more clicks, as your customers will know for sure where they'll be redirected if they click on the link.

Keep in mind, if you disable link shortening option, we won't be tracking clicks. Hence no sales will be attributed to SMS and it will be really hard to say how much revenue SMS brought you.

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