Have you ever asked how many characters in a text message can be sent at once? Some people may not even realize the maximum SMS character count. However, it’s true. SMS messages are made to get information across quickly and concisely.

Text messages might be small, but they are also mighty. Customers are more likely to read and respond to them than they might other messages. For instance, many choose to trash marketing emails but might not do the same for an SMS message.

As someone sending out information to customers or clients, you must know the ins and outs of texting limits. Below, we’ll dig into the text character limit, the differences between SMS and iMessage, and why emojis are a good bet in your texts. We’ll also give a few tips on SMS marketing for your business.

A man sending text messages to customers and you can see the SMS character count.

What Is the Character Limit for Text Messages?

To be straight to the point, text messages can be 160 characters, which includes spaces, punctuation, and more. However, that doesn’t mean you can only send messages under that limit. You can go above the maximum, but it does change things a bit.

Before diving into that, you should know that different countries have unique texting limits. In addition, the type of message can play a part. If you use the traditional Global System for Mobile (GSM) characters, the 160-character limit is the answer.

What does that mean? These messages are made up of the letters A through Z, the numbers 0 through 9, and special characters like exclamation points.

Back to longer text messages – these will be turned into multi-part messages. It also changes the character limit, surprisingly enough. As soon as it morphs into a multi-part, the character limit goes down by seven to 153. This is because several messages take more data.

Where do the extra seven characters go? These are used to send information to your provider so the message can be sent with additional characters. Headers and footers, which you won’t see, make up the last seven characters.

Text message character limits don’t mean that your long message will be split up to the recipient. They will receive the entire message as intended; it will just be longer than a typical text message. However, it would help if you considered how engaging your message is and where it can be more concise.

Is There a Difference Between SMS and iMessage?

You’ll notice that text messages appear in blue and green bubbles for iPhone users. The green messages are SMS messages, while the blue ones are iMessages. This is done for a reason.

You might wonder why iMessage exists if SMS does the same job. What you may not realize is that the two things are different. Here’s a bit of information on both:

  1. iMessage: iMessage are texts that can only be sent between two people using Apple devices, such as iPads or iPhones. These messages can be used for standard texts like an SMS, but they can also be used for GIFs, videos, and photos. Connection to the Internet is needed (either through a data plan or wi-fi), and messages are encrypted automatically.
  2. SMS message: SMS stands for “Short Message Service.” The SMS message was one of the first technology for text messages. In most cases, an SMS text message size limit is 160 characters, and a cellular network is used to send messages rather than data.

The need to use the Internet is one thing that differentiates iMessages from SMS messages. However, it isn’t the only thing. iMessages feature end-to-end encryption, device syncing, read receipts, live typing, stickers, and other effects.

In terms of which is better or worse, it depends on the need. In terms of texting limits, SMS messages sit at a 160 maximum, while there is no official limit for iMessage, although some have experienced errors for extremely lengthy communications.

People using Apple devices will typically choose iMessages since the data usage is minimal and offers many other perks. However, an SMS message is the default option when chatting with other devices.

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The Importance of Emojis in Text Messages

Now that we’ve dug into texting limits and what you should know as a business, there’s something else you should be aware of. There’s one easy way to make your messages more engaging and fun. Show emotions visually or otherwise, and focus on a specific part of your message. That’s right, and we’re talking about emojis.

Not only are emojis fun to see, but they also take a boring black-and-white message and make it more vibrant and colorful. Using emojis correctly can add energy, humor, and personality to your messages.

But there is another reason for marketing campaigns to use emojis. It’s been proven to boost engagement. On social media, emoticons have a 57% better like rate. About 72% of customers have positive feelings about brands that use emoticons. It’s also been shown that emojis can boost customer retention by 20%.

Now that you know how helpful emojis are, you might wonder how to use them in your text messages effectively. You can’t just use them on a whim. Inappropriate use can have adverse effects. We’ll offer tips below about how to succeed with emojis in SMS messages.

Choose Tried and True Emojis

At this point, new emojis are added regularly. You might wonder how you choose which ones to use and which are better avoided. The best advice we can give you is to choose the classics. Go with the ones that everyone is familiar with to ensure they understand your message. These include emojis like a laugh, grin, heart, wink, and sad face.

Be Creative

In addition to well-known emojis, you can be creative in some situations. For instance, select the emojis that best represent your brand. Are you selling healthy food? Try out all the fruit and veggie emojis. However, delving into emojis that don’t represent your brand well can confuse you.

Think About Audience

It would help to consider who your audience is before you decide whether to incorporate emojis in marketing texts. Studies indicate that over 70% of customers enjoy it when brands use emojis, but that leaves a good section for those who don’t. If you’re considering the addition of emojis, think about your customers and do what works for them.

Use Only as Needed

There are many benefits to using emojis in marketing texts. However, they don’t have to be used by everyone. If your newest campaign works better without them, don’t feel like you need to shoehorn them in. As an example, an informational text may not need any emojis at all. It can change the meaning of the message.

Go Slow to Start

If emojis are new to your brand, start slow. Don’t use a ton of emojis in your first messages. Some may not enjoy it and could choose to unsubscribe. Instead, use only when relevant, and don’t go overboard at the beginning—monitor what works and what doesn’t before moving forward.

Send SMS Messages Quickly and Easily

Now that you have insight into texting limits, you can quickly answer the question, “how long can a text message be?” Sending out text without running into an SMS limitation can be essential, especially when sending large messages to potential and current customers.

If you are looking for a streamlined way to handle your next campaign, consider a programmable SMS API or SMS broadcast software. You can start sending messages when you work with CDYNE.