How Messages/Segments Are Counted?
All phone carriers measure text messages in batches called segments. Segments are typically 160 characters or 70 characters, depending on the encoding type. This allows Community to bill clients correctly based on properly calculated message usage.
Generally, most plain text will fall under GSM-7 at 160 characters per segment:
- 0 – 160 characters are considered one segment, and you will be charged for a single message segment.
- 161 – 306 characters are considered two segments, and you will be charged for two message segments.
- 307 – 459 characters are considered three segments, and you will be charged for three message segments.
but as soon as things like emojis and smart quotes are added, the encoding changes to UCS-2 at 70 characters:
- 0 – 70 characters are considered one segment, and you will be charged for a single message segments.
- 71 – 134 characters are considered two segments, and you will be charged for two message segments.
- 135 – 201 characters are considered three segments, and you will be charged for three message segments.
Why does the segment counter show a different count from what’s been entered?
If you see that the counter does not reflect the exact character entered, don’t be alarmed. Our segment counter converts and wraps any links, media, GIFs, audio messages and images into a dedicated UTM link that will impact the overall count. This benefits brands by being able to track click-throughs.
When you have more than one segment per message, headers are added with metadata to inform carriers in what order the segments should be delivered in, this detracts from the total character count as well. This takes up 6 bytes per message leaving only 67 characters for UCS2 encoded messages or 153 for GSM encoded messages.
How do I see what my segment/message count is?
Community has implemented a message counter whenever you compose a new message, so that you will have full transparency on your message count and what the incurred cost might be per campaign. This applies for your Member Sign Up Messages as well--be sure to double check those.
Why do certain text characters cost more?
There are also some specific special characters that count for 2 characters that may drive up your overall message count. To see a list of basic character set extensions below on the right, or refer to the link here.
Will we be able to track usage through our dashboard directly?
Yes! Visit your dashboard to track usage directly.