International Marketing Services

Make Mobile SMS Text Brief

Make Mobile SMS Text Brief

SMS—short message service—is a service provided by most cell phone carriers to send text messages to mobile devices. Targeted text messages are becoming increasingly popular as marketing tools for businesses and as a channel for information and alerts from schools, local government agencies, clubs, and other organizations.

When you write text messages, it’s important to keep the character count to a minimum not only to get to the point quickly but also to keep costs down. (Many mobile phone plans charge more for messages containing more than 160 characters.)

Example 1
Thanks for joining Birdwatchers Anonymous’s rare bird mobile-alert tip line. A Blue-footed Booby has been spotted nesting in a tree on the University of California Berkeley campus for the past three days. (Too many words, too many characters)
Birdwatchers Anonymous rare-bird alert: Blue-footed Booby on Cal campus. More at (Minimum characters and words, basic information, link to details)

It’s OK to make your informational messages informal. But abbreviated spelling is not considered a best practice in the business and professional world. Unless you are certain that your target audience finds informal or slang abbreviations acceptable, stick to standard spelling.

Example 2
Not appropriate
Bc of blzrd 2day, clsses cncld.
Because of today’s blizzard, classes are canceled.

Use SMS text wisely:

  • Limit messages to 160 characters, including spaces.
  • Dn’t abrve8! Use short words and spell them out.
  • Avoid long URLs—they can put you over the 160-character limit all on their own.



Need to provide a URL that’s longer than a simple domain name? (A domain name is the first part of a URL, such as or Try one of these workarounds:

  • Send message recipients to your homepage, and make sure there’s an obvious link to the desired URL on that page.
  • Use a permanent redirect. Ask your website administrator or producer to create smaller URLs that will redirect visitors to the desired URL. Several online redirection services can also create shorter URLs that redirect visitors. Two caveats: (1) Because these services mask the actual URL, they may be blocked by email or message services. (2) Redirects can have a negative impact on search engine optimization (SEO).


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