Creating an SMS campaign

To create an SMS campaign, at least one SMS number must be configured in Autopilot.

Autopilot’s SMS campaigns feature allows you to send SMS messages to your customers (i.e. an audience or people) either immediately or scheduled for a later point in time.

Your SMS campaign message may contain a link to a coupon, survey or confirmation question.

To create a new Autopilot SMS campaign:

  1. Ensure you have accessed the Campaigns page.

  2. On this page, click New campaign.

  3. On the New campaign page, click SMS to begin creating your SMS campaign, followed by Next to commence the SMS campaign wizard.

SMS campaign wizard pages

This section describes each successive page of the SMS campaign creation process.

Template

On the Template page:

  1. In the Templates section, choose from one of the available templates that best suits the type of SMS campaign you want to create.
    Alternatively, choose Blank template  Start from scratch, if none of the existing templates are suitable, or you want to create your own SMS campaign.

  2. Click Next.

Setup

On the Setup page:

  1. Specify the Message name for your new SMS campaign. This name is only displayed within your Autopilot account (not in any SMS messages) so that you and other users of this account can identify this SMS campaign.

  2. ( Pro or higher plan customers only ) To test different click rates, form submissions, survey responses, or total attributed revenue from two SMS message versions, click A/B test campaign. Learn more about this in A/B test your SMS campaign. If you clicked this option:

    1. For How should the winner be decided?, choose the criteria that determines the winning SMS message variant.

    2. Specify the period the A/B test runs for in How long should the test run for?.

    3. Choose What percentage of the audience should receive the test? using the sliding scale, where your chosen percentage is split evenly with each SMS message variant sent randomly and immediately to these split percentages of your total audience.

      After the A/B test period is completed, the winning SMS message variant is sent to the remaining percentage of your audience.
  3. To add UTM tracking parameters to links in your SMS campaign messages, click the Automatically add UTM tracking to links in this SMS toggle to ON. Learn more about UTM tracking parameters in these Wikipedia and Google articles.

  4. To attribute your SMS campaign to a custom (non-SYSTEM) activity, click Custom attribution, and select the appropriate activity (to be attributed by this SMS campaign) from the Activity to attribute list.

    • This list is only available if an appropriate data source has been configured in your Autopilot account.

    • If a custom activity is not specified on this page, then the default Activity to attribute specified through the Setup > Attribution page is used instead.

  5. Click Next.

Audience

On the Audience page:

  1. Choose between one of the following audience options (by clicking its tab) to select people to send your SMS campaign message/s to:

    • Audiences - choose the appropriate audience of people to send your SMS campaign message/s to, from the list of audiences. The number of people who will receive your SMS campaign is indicated in each audience box.

      • If the list of audiences is extensive, you can filter this list itself by typing one or more consecutive letters into the Search all audiences box, and any audiences whose names do not match these letters are dynamically excluded from the list as you type.

      • Clearing the Search all audiences box, or clicking X restores all audiences to the page.

    • Tags - choose the appropriate people tagged with one of the listed tags.

      • If the list of tags is extensive, you can filter this list itself by typing one or more consecutive letters into the Search all tags box, and any tags whose names do not match these letters are dynamically excluded from the list as you type.

      • Clearing the Search all tags box, or clicking X restores all tags to the page.

    • Filter ( best option for one-off SMS campaigns ) - click Filter to begin filtering the list of all people in your customer data platform (CDP).

  2. Click Next.

Design

The Design page allows you to customize your SMS campaign’s text, along with additional content. A preview of your current content is shown on the right, or via View more in mobile view mode.
(From mobile view mode, you can return to the Design page editing features by clicking the right arrow on the left from the preview.)

On the Design page:

  1. To change the Branded prefix that appears before the content of each of your SMS campaign’s messages, expand this section and click the Edit setup link, which opens the Consent, opt-out and default responses page.

    1. Edit the Brand prefix field.

    2. Once finished, click Save on the Consent, opt-out and default responses page, followed by Back at the top of this page to return to the Design page.

  2. To add some introductory text to your SMS campaign, click Add content  Text.

    1. In the Text field, begin writing your Message. At this point, you can also insert any of the following items by first clicking the location (identified by your cursor) within the message to:

      • Insert a link:

        1. Click link insert link.

        2. In the resulting URL field, specify the URL to include in the SMS message.

        3. Click Insert to insert the link at your chosen location.

      • Insert an emoji:

        1. Click emoji insert emoji.

        2. In the resulting emoji popup, use the search field at the top or the category selector at the bottom to filter the list of emojis.

        3. Click the emoji to insert it at your chosen location.

      • Insert a field or activity attribute value:

        1. Click people insert field/activity attribute value.

        2. In the resulting popup, select the relevant field item or activity from the list:

          • For a field item:

            1. Select the specific field.

            2. Complete your chosen field’s remaining value options.

            3. Click Save to insert the field value at your chosen location.

          • For an activity:

            1. Select the activity’s specific attribute.

            2. Complete your chosen activity’s remaining attribute value options.

            3. Click Save to insert the activity’s attribute value at your chosen location.

      • Insert AI-suggested text (only works if AI algorithm operates on detected text):

        1. Click ai suggestion insert AI suggestion.

        2. After a short wait, click your favored AI-generated text under the resulting AI suggestion section.

  3. To add a coupon, survey, or confirmation question link (after your introductory text), click the respective Add content  Coupon / Survey / Confirm link.

    You can only add one of these links per SMS campaign.
  4. To add some concluding text to your SMS campaign (after the coupon, survey or confirmation link you just added), click Add content  Text.

    • Follow the instructions above to change the wording in the Message text box.

      If you were to append a new Text field to an existing one, then this new text field’s content is appended to the previous content. Therefore, you only need to add all your concluding text in a single Text field added after your coupon, survey or confirmation link.
  5. To change the Opt out prefix that appears at the end of each of your SMS campaign’s messages, expand this section and click the Edit setup link, which opens the Consent, opt-out and default responses page.

    1. Edit the SMS opt-out method field.

    2. Once finished, click Save on the Consent, opt-out and default responses page, followed by Back at the top of this page to return to the Design page.

    At this point, you can preview what your SMS campaign will look like to your customers/recipients (on the right), based on the following aspects:

    • Person - choose how this SMS campaign will appear to the customer/recipient chosen from this list. Autopilot defaults to any random person from the customer data platform (CDP).

    • Message - consists of your configured brand prefix, introductory text content, coupon / survey / confirmation link, concluding text, followed by the opt-out prefix and link.

    • Coupon / Survey / Confirm - contains of your configured web-based content for this SMS campaign.

    • Thanks - if your campaign includes a Survey or Confirm page, then this web page shows how your customer/recipient sees the resulting "Thank you" page, along with any specific responses.

  6. Once you are ready to proceed, click Next.

Review

The Review page allows you to review your SMS campaign before sending or scheduling it to be sent at a later point in time.

  1. On this page, review your current configurations for your SMS campaign in the following sections:

    At any time, you can preview the options on the right.
  2. Choose between one of the following send options by clicking its button:

    • Schedule - sends the SMS campaign at a future point in time. If you choose this option:

      1. Complete the options in the Schedule dialog, and then click OK.

      2. In the next Campaign scheduled dialog box, click OK to return to the Campaigns page, noting that your chosen audience may change between now and the time when your SMScampaign is sent.

    • Send - sends the SMS campaign immediately. If you choose this option:

      1. In the Ready for lift-off dialog, click Send to start sending your SMS campaign.

      2. In the next Lift off dialog, click OK to return to the Campaigns page.

A/B test your SMS campaign

This feature is only available to Autopilot customers on the Pro or Business plans.

A/B testing allows you to configure two different SMS message versions or variants (i.e. "A" and "B") for your SMS campaign.

Autopilot randomly chooses between these SMS message variants to send equally to a specified percentage of your audience.

After a specified period, Autopilot calculates whichever of the two SMS message variants achieved the most successful interaction (based on the criteria you selected) from the start of the campaign, and this winning SMS message variant is sent to the remainder of your audience.

The success of audience interaction between your two SMS campaign message variants can be based on the following criteria:

  • By click rate (requires a link) - the SMS message variant whose link receives the most clicks becomes the winning SMS message variant.

  • By total attributed revenue - the SMS message variant resulting in the most revenue spent. Autopilot keeps track of people’s spending activities in your account’s customer data platform (CDP) (e.g. people’s ordering activity in a configured data source), based on the SMS variant they received. Therefore, the SMS message variant resulting in recipients spending the most money becomes the winning SMS message variant.

Add a coupon

You can add a link in your SMS campaign’s message to a coupon web page, which allows the recipient to access a coupon code that typically provides them with a discount or offer provided by your business.

Following on from the point of adding a coupon on the Design wizard page:

  1. Ensure you have clicked Add content  Coupon.

  2. Expand the resulting Coupon sub-section towards the end of the Design section.

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Add a survey

You can add a link in your SMS campaign’s message to a survey web page, which allows the recipient to access a survey with custom responses.

Choosing any of these responses leads the recipient to a custom secondary page, which can optionally provide the recipient with a coupon code or display an image.

Following on from the point of adding a survey on the Design wizard page:

  1. Ensure you have clicked Add content  Survey.

  2. Expand the resulting Survey sub-section towards the end of the Design section.

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Add a confirmation question

You can add a link in your SMS campaign’s message to a confirmation question web page, indicated by Confirm in the user interface (UI).

This page allows the recipient to answer a question with either a "Yes" or "No" response.

Choosing either of these responses leads the recipient to a custom secondary page, which can optionally provide the recipient with a coupon code or display an image.

Following on from the point of adding a confirmation question on the Design wizard page:

  1. Ensure you have clicked Add content  Confirm.

  2. Expand the resulting Confirm sub-section towards the end of the Design section.

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SMS character limits

Each SMS message you compose has a limit of 1,600 characters. An individual SMS message consists of one or more SMS segments of up to:

  • 160 standard encoded (GSM-7) characters only, or

  • 70 universal coded character set (UCS-2 or 'non-GSM') characters (supporting non-European characters, emojis, etc.)

You can mix GSM-7 with UCS-2 characters in an SMS message. Be aware that if you start with a GSM-7 message and type a single UCS-2 character, your entire SMS message’s segments are re-calculated as though every character in your SMS message is UCS-2, which in turn affects the number of existing and remaining SMS segments calculated for your SMS message.

SMS messages are charged according to SMS segment usage. Learn more about this in SMS billing.

Schedule the SMS campaign

When creating an SMS campaign, you need to configure an audience, tag, or filter, consisting of subscribers/members of people to deliver your campaign to.

If you choose to schedule your SMS campaign instead of sending it immediately, then the subscribers/members of your SMS campaign’s audience, tag, or filter may change, grow, or contract between the time your campaign is created and the time your campaign is scheduled to be sent.

Therefore, Autopilot automatically updates the people who will receive your SMS campaign, based on the subscribers/members of your campaign’s audience, tag or filter, at the time your campaign is due to be sent.