Sometimes 160 characters is just not enough characters for an SMS marketing message. That’s why we’re excited to announce at Tatango that we’ve launched Concatenated SMS Messaging. This new feature allows Tatango clients to send more than 160 characters in an SMS marketing message. Yes, you read that right… Now using Tatango you can send an SMS marketing message with more than 160 characters!
Want to learn more about concatenated SMS messaging? Keep reading to learn everything you wanted to know about concatenated SMS messaging.
What is SMS Marketing?
First off, before we dive too deep on concatenated SMS messaging, let’s talk about SMS marketing. Businesses uses SMS marketing to reach their customers on their mobile phones. Why does SMS marketing work so well? First off, SMS marketing is a strict opt-in marketing channel, meaning customers have to request to receive SMS marketing messages from a business. More on this topic here. It’s because of this strict opt-in that SMS marketing has a 99% open rate, with 90% of messages being opened within the first 3 minutes.
All kinds of businesses use SMS marketing, including Lands’ End, Champs Sports, Kirkland’s and even Best Buy. To see how businesses are using SMS marketing, we recommend checking out SMS Archives: A Search Engine for SMS Marketing Examples
What is Concatenated SMS Messaging?
First lets start with the definition of “concatenated” as that will help with understanding what concatenated SMS messaging is. The definition of “concatenated” is: A group of things linked together or occurring together in a way that produces a particular result or effect.
Concatenated messaging is when an SMS is broken up into manageable pieces when sent, then put back together when received on a mobile phone. What’s the different though between concatenated SMS and MMS though? Glad you asked… Keep reading.
Concatenated SMS vs MMS
So what’s the difference between when you use SMS marketing with concatenated messaging, and MMS marketing? Great question! Concatenated SMS is still only SMS messages, so they’re limited to plain text, even though they’re not limited to 160 characters anymore. On the other hand, MMS messages can include media content such as an image, video, etc., in addition to up to 5,000 character of text.
How Concatenated SMS Works
Ok, ready to find out how concatenated SMS works? So first off lets start with sending a concatenated SMS from Tatango’s software. As you can see below, when you type out the message, it looks like a regular SMS message. The only real noticeable difference is that you’re not limited to 160 characters. The message below is actually 417 characters!
While it may look like a regular SMS message, when Tatango sends the message to a wireless carrier, we’re actually sending the message as three separate 160 character SMS messages. What’s unique about concatenated SMS is that unlike a regular message, a concatenated message has hidden information in each message. This hidden information tells the mobile phone how many messages it should expect, and in what order to combine the messages once they’re all received.
As you can see below, it’s very common for parts of a concatenated SMS to arrive at different times, sometimes not in the order you want it to be re-assembled on the phone. In the example below, the phone first receives part three of the message. The good news, the mobile phone is aware this is a concatenated SMS, and it has three parts, so it doesn’t show the end user the message, until all three parts have arrived.
Then as you can see below, part two arrives on the phone. Again, the mobile phone knows there’s three parts to this message, so it waits for the third part until it shows the message to the end user.
And finally, the third part of the three part message arrives on the phone. Even though all three parts have arrived, and the mobile phone is aware that they’ve received the full message, it’s still not displayed to the end user, as there’s still some magic on the phone that needs to happen.
As you can see below, the mobile phone received the message in the wrong order. The phone though knows it’s a concatenated SMS message, so it knows that it needs to re-organize before it’s displayed to the end-user.
Once the message has been re-organized, there’s still one more thing that needs to happen before the phone displays the message to the end user. This step is to combine all three parts, so it looks like one long message on the mobile phone. That’s it, that’s how concatenated SMS works!
So there you have it, that’s how concatenated SMS messaging works. If you’d like to try concatenated messaging for your own business, contact us to discuss this and the many other awesome SMS marketing features we have.