Segments and Encodings

In Spoke, messages are billed by the segment, rather than the whole message.

What is a segment?

A segment is a component of a larger overall text message. You can think of it like a single page in a letter. You can read more about segments here.

Most of the time, a segment can be up to 160 characters. A message that is under 160 characters will often be one segment, while a message that's between 160 and 320 characters will be 2 segments.

However, depending on the characters present in your message, your message may be encoded differently. Encoding can affect the number of characters that networks can fit into a single segment.

What is character encoding?

The most common and efficient character encoding is called GSM. Most standard characters will be able to be encoded using the GSM encoding. If you use certain characters like emojis (e.g. πŸ™‚), non-English characters (e.g. Γ­, ΓΌ), or certain punctuation (e.g. `, – ), your message will require Unicode character encoding. Unicode is limited to 70 characters per segment.

Segments within Spoke

To help you keep track of the number of segments you're sending, we've added a segment counter that also informs you of the character set with which your message is likely to be encoded. 
For example, when typing an emdash (β€”), you can see the character set switch to Unicode and the segment count and characters left adjust accordingly:

GSM Encoded Message

Unicode Encoded Message

Segments within Spoke exports

By using the Export Data button from the individual campaign page, you will be emailed two links to download your data exports. The second of these is your messages export, where you can find a breakdown of the number of segments on a particular campaign. For a more robust segment breakdown, please email 

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