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This section of the user guide is focused on FAQs related to creating a campaign. To help you navigate the article we have broken it down into the following sections:

Campaign Settings

How do I switch whether my campaign is bot-backed or agent-backed, before or after launch?

Before the launch

  • On the Active Campaigns tab, select View next to the campaign that is still in Draft status.
  • Update the Campaign Type field to either Bot or Agent.
  • Select Save

After the launch

  • You can only change the way a conversation is backed on a conversation-by-conversation basis either through your Inbox or on the Activity tab of the Active Campaign page.
  • The conversation can be updated as long as it is not currently in "Needs Attention".
  • If the bot-backed slider is in the on position, the conversation is bot-backed, if it is in the off position, it is agent-backed.

If I start a campaign but don't finish creating it, does it time out?

No, if you create a campaign in the wizard but get interrupted or are not able to finish creating the campaign right away, the campaign will remain available until you can complete the setup. Make sure you 'save' your draft campaign before exiting the wizard.

To return to a draft campaign, under Texting, select Active Campaigns. You may also filter by Status

Select the draft campaign you wish to complete and launch by selecting View.

Do I need to save the draft after editing a campaign?

It is very important to always select Save Draft anytime you make edits to a campaign! 

IMPORTANT:  If you edit or clone a previous campaign and do not save your edits by clicking Save Draft prior to launching the campaign, your campaign will launch with the unedited or prior contacts from a cloned campaign as well as out-of-date information. 

Anytime you make changes you must SAVE DRAFT before launching your campaign.

Especially when:

  • cloning a prior campaign

  • changing a campaign from bot-backed to agent-backed (or vice versa)

  • editing the content/message

  • adding tags

  • changing IDK type

  • changing/editing the contact list 

If the Save Draft button is green, you have unsaved edits or changes to the campaign, see below:

If the Save Draft button is grey, you are operating with the most up-to-date information for your campaign and the SAVE DRAFT button will remain gray until you provision a phone number: 

Note: It is possible to launch a campaign with unsaved data/changes, so be sure to select the Save Draft anytime the button is green!

Phone Number

How do I assign a provisioned phone number to a campaign?

Users can assign a provisioned phone number (single-use or reusable phone numbers) to a campaign when editing a draft.

While the service that provides provisioned phone numbers, Twilio, strives to maintain a broad selection of area codes at all times, phone numbers in a preferred area code may be unavailable due to high demand. If this occurs, we recommend using overlay area codes as a workaround or checking back at a later time for the availability of your preferred area code. 

For a complete list of area code overlays, review the list of code overlays webpage.

An area code overlay is a numbering plan area (NPA) in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) that has multiple area codes assigned. Overlay plans are used to increase the number of available telephone numbers in a province, state, or region. The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) maintains the definitive list of overlays in the United States. 

If I reuse a number, will my campaign follow the unsolicited messages setting or the campaign setting?

With reusable numbers, the campaign will always follow the campaign settings until the campaign is archived (and then the reusable number unsolicited messages setting will prevail).

What happens if I include a previously opted-out recipient in a campaign?

Your campaign will not be delivered to that contact. The contact will display as delivery failed and the failed reason will be Opted out.

Campaign Message

How do I prevent my messages from being blocked?

All text (SMS) messages in the US are run through “spam” filters on the carrier side. While in Higher Education we know we are not spamming our students, our messages are still run through the same filtering as those of private companies and marketing campaigns. 

While there is nothing we can do on the Ocelot end to stop filtering from happening, we do want to arm you with some best practices to give you the best chance for all your messages to reach their intended recipients. Keep in mind that, like spam filtering for email, the exact details of how carriers do their filtering are left vague so that people cannot game the system. With that said, these are our recommendations based on everything we know from the carriers:


  • Avoid the use of public link shorteners. The most commonly used are Bit.ly and TinyURL. United States carrier policies expressly forbid the use of shared public URL shorteners. It's best to include the full link and you should have plenty of room to do this considering our campaigns have a text limit of 1,600 characters.

  • Include opt-out language. The language must include a widely accepted keyword for opt-out like STOP. If you are contacting the same recipients (from the same phone number) multiple times per month, you do not need to provide opt-out instructions in every message, but you must do it at least once per month. 

  • Identify who is sending the message. This is a best practice for both spam filtering and general communication. 

Additional Considerations:

  • Only use caps lock when necessary (e.g., FAFSA). Some spam filters will filter out messages that include excessive capitalization.

  • Use emojis sparingly.

  • Limit the number of phone numbers included in your text message. If you would like your contacts to call a number for additional help, this is fine; however, do not include an excessive amount of phone numbers in the body of your text message.

  • Text is not email. There is no need to include your name at the end of your text messages. This is an easy red flag that you are simply trying to recreate an email. 

Is there a character limit per text?

Our campaigns have a character limit of 1,600. 

The character limit for a single SMS message is technically 1600 characters; however, most modern phones and networks support message concatenation: they split large messages into individual SMS messages (called "segments") and then re-create the large message at the receiving end. 

For SMS messaging, we recommend sending messages that are no more than 320 characters to ensure the best deliverability and user experience.

How do I see what a campaign message will look like over SMS before launching?

The message view will populate to the right of the area where you create the message, as you create the message. Any fields you pull in from the contact list using hashtags around the column header label will display with the content from the first line in your attached contact list. 

The campaign message will be displayed in the highlighted green area as shown below:

When hyperlinking text within a 1:1 text or campaign there are a couple of things to note.

  • It is recommended to use the raw URL within your message.

    URLs cannot be linked to text. This is a limitation of SMS texting, not the Ocelot platform. SMS technology is limited to sending just the raw URL. Even if you hyperlink text within a response, the link will be sent to the user as a raw URL.

  • URL links will be automatically hyperlinked when sent in a message and will allow the user to select the link from the message.

    In the preview, next to the message field, the text shown is the raw text of the message. URLs will be automatically hyperlinked in the following formats: www.example.com, and https://www.example.com.

    example.com will also automatically hyperlink, as long as there is not a period after .com.

  • All extensions will automatically hyperlink, including .gov and .edu.

Best Practice: It is recommended to avoid using link shorteners to ensure your messages are not blocked or filtered out as spam.

How do I use the autofill feature for variables?

Variables can be used within the texting platform, live chat, and chatbot. When inserting a variable a dropdown will populate to autofill the variable. 

To insert a variable, enter an "!" followed by the first couple of letters of the variable. A list of available variables will populate and you can select the variable.

For more information on variables, review the Chatbot Variables article.

Can I include pictures or flyers in my text message?

No,  text messages are text-based only.  Instead, please use links in the text message to other graphic information.

Yes/No Campaigns

What responses for Yes/No campaigns are recognized?

Campaign responses for Yes and No are recognized as follows:


  • y

  • yah

  • yeah


  • N

  • nope

Note: These phrases are recognized regardless of upper or lower case.