SMS keywords

A keyword is a word you define to perform an action when used in a mobile-originated message, such as triggering a text response, opting in a user, or applying a tag for segmentation.

Use keywords to:

  • Opt users in to messaging campaigns based on their keyword-indicated interests.
  • Drive loyalty with unique keywords for loyalty members and non-members.
  • Trigger external processes, e.g., a chatbot, using webhooks.
  • Provide directions or access to promotional information, coupons, etc.
  • Target future messaging based on keyword generated tags or subscription lists.

You can define opt-in keywords that will opt the user in to receiving SMS notifications or trigger opt-in flows. By default, users can text any of these words to opt out of notifications: STOP, STOPALL, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL, END, QUIT, ARRET. You can also add additional opt-out keywords. See: Opt-In/Out Handling.

Mobile-originated messages are represented as EventsEvents represent activities in the Airship system, as well as user behavior in your app or website. You can also send external activities (e.g., POS transactions) into the Airship system as events. Events power Airship data products and can be used in audience segments, as automation triggers, and for partner integrations.. Each event records the keywords that your audience uses and additional identifying information. You can use these events to observe opt-in and opt-out trends in Performance AnalyticsA customizable marketing intelligence tool that provides access to reports and graphs based on engagement data. or to get events directly from Real-Time Data StreamingA service that delivers engagement events in real time via the Data Streaming API or an Airship partner integration..


Before implementing changes to compliance keywords (e.g., HELP and STOP), please consult your legal counsel in order to address your specific use case or regulatory requirements in your jurisdiction. Certain compliance keywords may be required in certain jurisdictions or under the local carrier requirements.

Keyword format

When you create a keyword, you must configure the following:

You can also configure these options:

Create keywords

  1. Go to Messages » SMS Keywords and click in the map or Create new keyword.
  2. Enter the keyword and aliases. Click Add after entering each alias.
  3. Click Keyword action or select the Response card in the map.
  4. Enter the response text. You can leave this field empty if you are configuring a webhook instead.
  5. Configure options:
    • Shorten links — Toggle to enable.
    • Opt-in action — Make a selection.
    • Webhook — Make a selection. A selection is required if you are omitting response text.
    • Tags — Select Add or Remove, enter a tag name in the search field, then:
      • If searching for an existing tag, click to select from the search results. Search for existing tags returns all custom tag groups that contain that tag.
      • If creating a new tag, click Create new tag: [search term], enter a custom tag group name in the search field that appears, then click to to select from the search results.
    • Subscription lists — Select Opt in to or Opt out of, search for a subscription list and select from the results. Repeat for multiple lists.
  6. Click Settings and select a sender ID. Each sender ID in the list is prepended with its country.
  7. Click Save and confirm.

Manage keywords

Go to Messages » SMS Keywords to view a list of the keywords in your project.

  • Keywords are grouped by sender ID.
  • Sender IDs are sorted numerically then alphabetically. Keywords are sorted by creation order.
  • You can filter the list by searching for keyword, alias, or sender ID.

You can edit all fields and selections in an existing keyword:

  1. Select a keyword from the list.
  2. Make your changes.
  3. Click Save and confirm.

To delete a keyword:

  1. Select a keyword from the list.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Delete keyword and confirm.