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Hacking SMS text to fit more content

- 5 MIN READ - 01 Jun 2014

I would like to share some secret tricks we have been using for years to increase usable sms content length.

We have been sharing these suggestions with our clients to increase their revenues, lower costs and get most out of their 160 characters.

Characters You Can Freely Use

SMS length is up to 160 characters (but you already knew that) – only if you use characters in GSM 03.38 charset:

@£$¥èéùìòÇ`Øø`ÅåΔ_ΦΓΛΩΠΨΣΘΞ`ÆæßÉ!\"#¤%&'()*=,-./0123456789:;<=>?¡ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZÄÖÑÜ`¿abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzäöñüà

Save Characers by (not) Using Extended Characters

There are 9 characters in GSM 03.38 Extended charset, which take up 2 characers, not just one:

^{}\[~]|€
  1. Instead of using (curly) brackets, use regular parentheses. This way you can save one character!
  2. Also you can replace pipe “|” character with capital i – nobody notices the difference and yet again you save one character.
  3. Want to show some money in EUR? Use “€” sign instead of “EUR” to use up only two characters instead of three! The same goes for USD, GBP and JPY.
  4. Also swap all backslashes “\” with regular slash character “/” to save one more extra character.
  5. Lastly, just avoid using “^” for the sake of simplicity.

Did you know Messente can replace those characters for you automatically? Take a look at the Messente API Auto Replace settings.

Which Characters To Avoid In Your SMS

If you use characters, which are not in the GSM 03.38 charset, then the SMS is forced to Unicode mode and this way one SMS is only about half the length – 70 characters.

This is where you can win the most – don’t use any characters outside the GSM charset, unless it is really essential!

For example in French alphabet there is “ô” character, which is not in GSM charset. You could easily swap it with plain “o” or maybe “ò”.

Pssst! Messente has predefined replacements for more than 7 alphabeths, including French, Italian, Portugese, Polish, Lithuanian and Czech Republic!

Invisible Characters Eating Up SMS Space?

Every now and then we have a client who is confused about their 160 character text being charged for two sms.

After some investigation it is clear, that they have accidentally used some Unicode space characters, which look just like regular space, so it is almost impossible to discover those.

If unicode spaces are used, the SMS is forced to use Unicode charset, which makes the SMS length to decrease to only 70 characters!

You can always check your SMS content for those characters using our Online SMS Length Calculator tool.

Shorten Your Links

Useing some link shortening services like goo.gl will cut down your link to only 10 characters. Read more about links in your SMS from our Blog.

 

If you have any more neat tricks, let us know in the comments section!

Jaanus Rõõmus

Jaanus Rõõmus - CTO

Jaanus is co-founder and CTO of Messente and makes sure its wheels keep spinning and Messente always has a full tank of fuel.

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