SMS Notification Tutorial

An SMS notification is a message that you can send to an MSISDN (phone number) over the SMMP protocol to devices that have opted in for a specific sender ID (long or short code). SMS messages appear in recipients’ native SMS clients.

See the SMS Notification Reference for options and settings details.

Resources:

 Tip

You can save this message as a Composer Favorite — a reusable message with preset settings and content. You can use Composer Favorites instead of recreating commonly used messages. See: Use Composer Favorites.

  1. Click Create and select Message.

  2. (Optional) Add a message name and/or flag the message as a test.
    1. Click   in the header.
    2. Enter the name.
    3. Enable Test.
    4. Click outside the box to close it.

    See also: Name a Message and Flag a Message as a Test.

  3. Define your message Audience.

    1. Select the SMS channel. When SMS is the only enabled channel, the composer is reduced to only fields and settings relevant to SMS notifications.

    2. Select the group of users you want to send your message to.
      • All Users: Sends the message to your entire audience.
      • Target Specific Users: Create a recipient group based on segmentation data. See: Target Specific Users.
      • Test Users: Predefined recipient groups. After choosing Test Users, select from the Test Groups dropdown menu that appears. See: Test Groups.
      • Upload Users: Upload a list of users just before sending the message. Select this option if you want to include merge fields in your message. See: Upload Users.
       Important

      If you are using merge fields in your HTML, you must select Upload Users.

       Note

      If your project has multiple senders, you can target specific users belonging to a Sender ID to determine the sender that the message comes from and ensure that your message only goes to members of your audience subscribed to that sender.

    3. Click Content in the header to move on.

  4. Add your message Content.

    1. Select Text Message (SMS). You will only see this option if your project is also configured for MMS. Otherwise, you will go directly to the text-entry screen.

    2. Enter your message text. The character count and the total number of SMS notifications update as you type.
      • Include merge fields or Dynamic ContentVariable message content using handlebar syntax that you populate at send time. Use dynamic content to personalize messages for each member of your audience. if you selected Upload Users for your audience. The character and notification counts do not account for the varying lengths of merge values, so they should only be used as an estimate when using merge fields.

      • If your message includes links, you can enable or disable Link ShorteningConverts HTTP/HTTPS URLs in your SMS messages to unique, shortened URLs for your recipients. The shortened URLs reduce the total number of characters that links consume and produce ‘click’ tracking metrics for your SMS messages. . When enabled, the message and character counts reflect your message with shortened link URLs.

      • If your message includes links and Shorten Links is enabled, click Set Tags to add or remove tags for members of your audience who engage with your link. Tag actions add query parameters to your URL, but users will still see the shortened URL in your SMS messages.

       Note

      If you create a new tag when adding tag actions, it will belong to the device group for associated SMS channels.

    3. Click Delivery in the header to move on.

  5. Set Delivery options for your message.

    1. Select a delivery type.

      • Send now: Send the messages immediately after review.
      • Schedule: Choose an exact time of day to send the message. Enter a date in YYYY-MM-DD format and select the time and time zone.
    2. Set Optional Features.

    3. Click Review in the header to move on.

  6. Review your message.

    1. If you want to make changes, click the associated step in the header, make your changes, then return to Review.

    2. If you chose Upload Users in the Audience step, click Upload & Send and select your file. Uploaded merge field names will be verified against the merge fields set in the Content step.

    3. Click Send Message or Schedule Message.

Send an MMS Notification

You can send multi-media messages (MMS) to your SMS audience. MMS messages include a fallback, ensuring that users who can’t view the original MMS message still receive a message that makes sense.

When sending an MMS message, you can provide the URL for your image or upload it to Airship. If you do not upload to Airship, you should use image assets you control and a dedicated media host to prevent delivery errors. Do not use images hosted on a site where others could change or remove the images you want to use in your messages.

MMS messages must be:

  • .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, or .png format.
  • Hosted over HTTP or HTTPS (for media not hosted by Airship).
  • Smaller than 2 MB for .jpeg and .jpg.
  • Smaller than 1 MB for .png and .gif.
 Note

We recommend that you use images 650 KB or smaller to improve deliverability. In general, you should use the smallest possible image size to ensure that your audience receives messages quickly, regardless of connection quality.

See the SMS Notification Reference for options and settings details.

  1. Click Create and select Message.

  2. (Optional) Add a message name and/or flag the message as a test.
    1. Click   in the header.
    2. Enter the name.
    3. Enable Test.
    4. Click outside the box to close it.

    See also: Name a Message and Flag a Message as a Test.

  3. Define your message Audience.

    1. Select the SMS channel. When SMS is the only enabled channel, the composer is reduced to only fields and settings relevant to SMS notifications.

    2. Select the group of users you want to send your message to.
      • All Users: Sends the message to your entire audience.
      • Target Specific Users: Create a recipient group based on segmentation data. See: Target Specific Users.
      • Test Users: Predefined recipient groups. After choosing Test Users, select from the Test Groups dropdown menu that appears. See: Test Groups.
      • Upload Users: Upload a list of users just before sending the message. Select this option if you want to include merge fields in your message. See: Upload Users.
       Important

      If using merge fields in your message, you must select Upload Users.

       Note

      If your project has multiple senders, you can target specific users belonging to a Sender ID to determine the sender that the message comes from and ensure that your message only goes to members of your audience subscribed to that sender.

    3. Click Content in the header to move on.

  4. Add your MMS message Content.

    1. Select Image Message (MMS).

    2. Provide the Media for your message.
      • URL: Enter the address of your image, beginning with HTTP or HTTPS and ending with the image extension.

      • Upload: Click Upload Media and select your image.

    3. Configure MMS Options.
      1. (Optional) Enter a Subject and/or Text Message to accompany your image, including merge fields if you selected Upload Users for your audience. The subject appears in bold, but it might not appear if you are sending from a toll-free number.

      2. Enter SMS Fallback Text. Users who cannot receive your MMS message will receive this text along with the image URL.

      3. If the text fields in your message include links, you can enable or disable Link ShorteningConverts HTTP/HTTPS URLs in your SMS messages to unique, shortened URLs for your recipients. The shortened URLs reduce the total number of characters that links consume and produce ‘click’ tracking metrics for your SMS messages. . When enabled, the message and character counts reflect the length of your message with shortened link URLs.

       Note

      There is no guarantee as to the order in which media and text appear to users. Media and text send separately.

    4. Click Delivery in the header to move on.

  5. Select Delivery options for your message.

    1. Select a delivery type.

      • Send now: Send the messages immediately after review.
      • Schedule: Choose an exact time of day to send the message. Enter a date in YYYY-MM-DD format and select the time and time zone.
    2. Set Optional Features.

    3. Click Review in the header to move on.

  6. Review your message.

    1. Review the device preview and message summary. Click the arrows to page through the MMS and SMS fallback previews. You can also select a preview directly from the dropdown menu. If you would like to make changes, click the associated step in the header, make your changes, then return to Review.
    2. If you chose Upload Users in the Audience step, click Upload & Send and select your file. Uploaded merge field names will be verified against the merge fields set in the Content step.

    3. Click Send Message or Schedule Message.

Send a Templated SMS or MMS Notification

You must use the Upload Users option to send a notification using a template. You should have the user list that you want to upload ready before you begin this tutorial.

If your template includes handlebars, your user list can also include the data that you want to pass into your message when you upload users. For more information, see Handlebars and Dynamic Content.

  1. Click Create and select Message.

  2. (Optional) Add a message name and/or flag the message as a test.
    1. Click   in the header.
    2. Enter the name.
    3. Enable Test.
    4. Click outside the box to close it.

    See also: Name a Message and Flag a Message as a Test.

  3. Define your message Audience.

    1. Select the SMS channel.

    2. Select Upload Users. You will upload your user list just before sending the message.

    3. Click Content in the header to move on.

  4. Add your message Content.

    1. Select Text Message Template (SMS) or Image Message Template (MMS).

    2. Select the template you want to use and click Continue with Selected Template.
    3. (MMS templates only) Provide the Media for your message.
      • URL: Enter the address of your image, beginning with HTTP or HTTPS and ending with the image extension.

      • Upload: Click Upload Media and select your image.

    4. Click Delivery in the header to move on.

  5. Set Delivery options for your message.

    1. Select a delivery type.
      • Send now: Send the messages immediately after review.
      • Schedule: Choose the date and time when you want to send the message. Enter a date in YYYY-MM-DD format, select the time, and select a time zone.
 Note

If your template includes an External Data FeedA connection to an external API. When you send a message, Airship uses a response from that API to personalize messages. , you must set the error behavior, and the values of variables in the feed URL, in the Delivery step.

  1. Set Optional Features.

  2. Click Review in the header to move on.

  3. Review your message.

    1. Review the device preview and message summary. If you would like to make changes, click the associated step in the header, make your changes, then return to Review.
    2. Click Upload & Send and select the CSV file containing your list of users and merge fields. Uploaded merge field names will be verified against the merge fields set in the Content step.

    3. Click Send Message or Schedule Message.

Upload Users

In the Audience step when sending a message, you can use the Upload Users feature to send your message to a CSV list of recipients. When uploading a list of SMS, email, or open channels, Airship both registers new users found in your list and sends your message.

 Tip

You can take advantage of this feature using our Create-and-send API to register and send messages to new email, SMS, or open channel users.

See Upload Users CSV Format for information about formatting your CSV. The first column of your CSV must contain the channel ID or address (email, MSISDN, etc.) for a new user. For SMS, the second column should be the Sender IDThe alphanumeric code that your SMS messages come from — like a phone number or name. Your audience subscribes to each individual sender ID they want to receive messages from. . Your CSV can contain additional columns with information that you use to personalize a message using HandlebarsAirship’s message personalization syntax using double curly braces, more commonly known as {{handlebars}}. Use handlebars to insert variables and conditional logic in messages and templates. — e.g., {{name}}.

To use the Upload Users feature:

  1. In the Audience step, select the channel you want to send your message to and then click Upload Users. You cannot use the Upload Users feature if you select more than one channel.

  2. In the Review step, click Upload and Send.

  3. Click Choose File and select the file that contains your list of users.

  4. Click Send Message.