Checking the number of SMS messages you send

Whether you are sending an SMS message to one, or multiple candidates, it's useful to know how many messages you will be sending in total. You can monitor this in the bottom left hand corner of the message pop up:

Characters per message

The initial message you send will use 160 characters. Note that some characters use 2 standard characters in the world of SMS. For example, emojis and these common characters:  | ^ € { } [ ] ~ \ . 


You will notice that subsequent messages attached to the first will show less characters available. This is due to some of the character space being taken up by data required to join two or more messages together seamlessly for the recipient.

Also, any if 'special' characters are used (which are not considered part of the 'GSM-7' standard alphabet), then the full SMS message needs to be encoded differently into what's known as 'Unicode', reducing the max character limit to 70 characters per message (if a single message is being sent, as above).

Recipients and Total messages

If you are sending 1 message to 2 recipients, then the recipients counter will read 2 and the total messages will read 2.

If you are sending 2 messages to 2 recipients, then the recipients counter will read 2 but the total messages will read 4.

Total messages is therefore the number to keep your eye on in terms of monitoring your spend on messaging. Also, remember that even going over the message limit by one character will add another message per candidate. So it's always good to play around with the number of characters you are using. For example, if you hit 165 characters it's worth reviewing to see if you can get them down to 160 or less - therefore sending one message rather than two per recipient.


The best practice guidelines from our message service provider state that it is not effective to send more than 6 joined up messages. Therefore, if the number of characters used exceeds 6 message per candidate, the send button will become disabled and the message counter will change to red. However, for messages of this size, we'd recommend considering email instead.

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