How Are Messages Counted and Billed?

Segments are used to send your messages via text

As a business owner, deciding how to invest your money to get the most profit in return is challenging. You should always be looking for the greatest “return on investment” or ROI. Here’s how your investment in Shout breaks down.

With each paid Shout subscription, your account is automatically credited every month to allow you to send messages via your Customer Service or Marketing numbers. At the beginning of each month based on your subscription date, you receive 750 message segments

Every message composer in Shout includes a “segment counter”, which fills up as you type and will show you how many segments are being used per message. You’ll notice that emoji (and other Unicode characters) use up your segments more quickly than regular text.

Depending on how you’re using your account and how actively contacts interact with your bots, 750 segments might feel like a lot... or not many at all. Here are some tips on how to make your segments go farther:

  • Use fewer emoji 😞😞😞. Unicode characters like emoji are fun shorthand and common in texting conversations, but not very professional and use more segments.
  • Practice editing your messages. Most people want short, concise communications, so they’ll be glad you kept it tight!
  • Pay attention to the segment counter. It can be your best friend as you think about what you really need to say

Remember: inbound messages are free, and so are all S2S messages. You only use segments when you send messages out via your Customer Service (Text) or Marketing outlets.

What If I Go Over the Monthly 750 Segments? 

If you exceed your 750 for the month, Shout automatically credits your account with 500 more segments. These segments cost an additional $5 and are billed to your card on file. Unlike your monthly segments, these segments will roll over from month-to-month.

Speaking of ROI - 500 messages segments cost the same amount 14 postcard stamps. Which is going to bring you more business? Shout users regularly tell us that those segments are worth every penny.

Here Are Some Examples:

All three of these examples are welcoming a new contact to a VIP deals list, using (or misusing) some of our tips. You can see for yourself that the ones that use the most segments are not necessarily the most compelling!

Example 1 of 3:

How will a standard message be billed:

"Hey! Welcome to my exclusive deals list! You'll be the first to know about any sales, deals, or new product drops!"

114 characters = 1 segment

Example 2 of 3:

How will a message with Emoji's be billed:

"Hey! 👋 Welcome to my exclusive deals list! 🤑 You'll be the first to know about any sales, deals, or new product drops!"

116 characters = 2 segments of up to 70 characters each

Example 3 of 3:

How will a long message be billed:

"Hey, super babes!!! Welcome to my ultra-exclusive deals list!!! You'll be the very, VERY first to know about any and all sales, deals, discounts, offers, parties, news, products, and gossip!!!! Super jazzed to have you in my squad!!"

230 characters = 2 segments of up to 160 characters each

Check Your Message Segment Usage

To check your Message Segment Usage, log in to on a computer. Go to Settings, and then on Usage under General.

There you will be able to view the number of message segments you've sent out so far.

The Nitty-Gritty

For those of you who want to know exactly how this works:

Each message segment is equal to one 160 character message, or 70 characters if your message contains any Unicode characters such as Emoji.

If you send a message that contains more than 160 characters, your message will be split up into multiple parts. Messages with multiple segments are limited to 153 characters for standard messages, and 67 characters for messages with Unicode characters. The message will be re-assembled before it reaches the destination handset, so the recipient shouldn’t see the multiple parts.

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