SMS Data Collection

SMS data collection allows you to collect data from your subscribers through 2-way SMS. By creating questions, you can collect data in the SMS replies to those questions.

What is the message flow of SMS data collection?

Subscribers will receive an SMS question in the form of an automatic response or scheduled message from your messaging campaign. Once the message is received, your subscribers will respond back with their answers via SMS. A secondary action can be triggered such as a message response or campaign opt-in.

Data Collection Message Flow

Where is the collected data stored?

When subscribers respond to an SMS data collection question, their answers are saved as subscriber data under the ‘View Data’ column of the campaign’s Audience Manager page. Note that the subscriber data is only available within the campaign that a subscriber has responded to. If a subscriber is opted into multiple campaigns within the same account, their other campaigns will not receive the collected data.

How can I use the data that is collected?

Collected data can be used in future messages as dynamic merge tags within the text. Collected email addresses can be subscribed to an email campaign. You can also export the collected data and use it for your own analysis or segmentation.

SMS Messaging

Create an SMS Data Collection Question

To begin creating your data collection question, go to the SMS Data Collection page and click the ‘Add Data Collection Question’ button.

mobile data collection

NameThe internal name of the data collection question. A list of names will be shown when selecting a data collection question to include within your messages.
QuestionThe question that will be sent to your subscribers. When you select an SMS data collection question to put into an SMS message, this question text will automatically be populated into the SMS body. Note that the question text will not appear when put into an MMS message.
Answer TypeSet the answer type to multiple choice, open-ended, or PIN code.

Multiple Choice Questions: Send subscribers a question with up to five answers to choose from. For each option you must include a key as well as a definition. When you select a multiple choice question to put into an SMS message, the question text as well as the keys and definitions will automatically be populated within the SMS body. Keys and definitions will be presented to the campaign subscribers in the format of ‘Text KEY1 for definition1, KEY2 for definition2, …’

For example, if you want to ask ‘What is your occupation?’ with the choices A) Professional B) Student or C) Retired, then you would enter A, B, and C as the keys, and ‘Professional’, ‘Student’, and ‘Retired’ as the corresponding definitions.

  • Key: Choices that the subscribers reply back to answer the question. Only the keys that you have assigned in the multiple choice question will be considered valid responses. If subscribers reply back with an unassigned key, then the data will not collected. The key must be an alphanumeric phrase that is up to 8 characters in length and cannot include spaces. Certain words, such as HELP, STOP, and YES, are unavailable as they are reserved for other responses.
  • Definition: A definition is the answer that the key represents. If a subscriber replies back with an assigned key, then the definition for that key is stored in the subscriber data for that subscriber. Note that the subscriber must reply back with the key and not the definition itself. Definitions can include spaces. While there is no character cap on definitions, please be aware that SMS messages exceeding 160 characters will be delivered as a concatenated message or in some cases multiple messages.

Open-Ended Questions: Send subscribers a question with an open ended answer. Open ended questions allow subscribers to respond with their own individual answers. The full answer is stored in the subscriber data for each audience member. Validation rules can be configured to ensure that subscriber responses are within set parameters. There are five validation rules:

  • Any Text (No Validation): All responses will be considered valid, and the space character will be accepted.
  • Only Alpha-numeric Text: Responses containing only alphanumeric text that are within the set character length constrictions will be considered valid. Responses that do not follow these rules or contain a space character will be considered invalid.
  • Only Numeric Text: Responses containing only numeric text that are within the set character length constrictions will be considered valid. Responses that do not follow these rules or contain a space character will be considered invalid.
  • Only Alphabet Text: Responses containing only alphabet text that are within the set character length constrictions will be considered valid. Responses that do not follow these rules or contain a space character will be considered invalid.
  • An Email Address: Responses consisting only of a properly formatted email address and are within the set character length constrictions will be considered valid. Responses that do not follow these rules or contain a space character will be considered invalid.

Pin Code: Send subscribers a question with a PIN code as an answer. The PIN code will be validated against a database of personalized images. If a subscriber enters a valid PIN code, then the reply is collected and the phone number will be stored with the personalized image associated with the valid PIN code. Then the personalized image may be sent to the subscriber.

ActionsPreset automatic events following a subscriber’s valid response. Some actions are available regardless of the settings above, while other actions are only available in response to specific settings

  • Store the response into the subscriber’s data with the following variable name: You are required to provide a variable name for SMS data collection profiles. The variable name is for internal use only and is used to store the subscriber data. There are two types of subscriber data: personal data and additional data. In order to collect personal data, you must set up your tags first. Once you have set up your tags, set the variable name to the name of your tag. Otherwise, data collected with a variable name other than the name of your tag will be considered additional data. Variable names can only contain alphanumeric characters, dashes (-), and underscores (_).
  • Reply back with another SMS or MMS: Send a follow-up reply. This reply can be an SMS/MMS message or another data collection question. A daisy chain can be created by constructing a string of questions that lead to another, allowing account holders to collect multiple pieces of data while the attention of their audience is strongest. For multiple choice questions, individually set a reply for each response.

Mobile Data Collection Example

  • Subscribe a phone number to a campaign: This setting is only available for multiple choice questions. Individually set multiple choice answers to subscribe those who respond¬†into different SMS/MMS campaigns. No additional opt-in is required.

Send an SMS Data Collection Message

SMS Data Collection messages can be sent out as an automatic response or as a scheduled message. You will have the option to select an SMS Data Collection question, and the question text will automatically be added into the SMS body. The SMS text can be adjusted or changed before it is submitted without interfering with the collection process.

Reply with automated text messaging

in Messaging