SMS - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Matthew Guay
Written by Matthew GuayLast updated August 27, 2018

They’re original killer app for cell phones. SMS—or Short Message Service—messages are 160 character text messages sent through cell networks. They’re universal. From basic phones like the Nokia 3310 to today’s latest iPhones and Android devices, nearly every phone around the world can send and receive SMS messages.

That makes SMS the most reliable way to chat. Unlike Facebook Messenger, iMessage, LINE, and the dozens of other chat apps today, you don’t need to know which app your friend uses to send them an SMS message. As long as you know their phone number, you can send them an SMS.

Which is why SMS messages are often used today for notifications. When your credit card bill needs to be paid or it’s time to get your teeth cleaned again, SMS is the perfect way to notify you. Apps also use SMS for notifications. Twitter can send new reply notifications via SMS, for instance, and many apps use SMS messages to share one-time access codes when you log in.

Want to make your own SMS notifications? Zapier’s SMS integration is one of the easiest ways to do it. Here’s how.

1. Make a Zap with Any Trigger App

Zapier Filter

The SMS by Zapier tool can only send SMS messages to US and UK phone numbers, so first you’ll need some data to send in your message. Want to get an SMS if your eCommerce store receives a new sale, or if someone new signs up for your mailing list? Connect that app—or any other app where you’d like to be notified about new data—and your Zap will run whenever anything new is added.

Want filtered notifications? Say you only want to get email notifications if your boss emails you during work hours, or if a customer purchases over $100 from your store on the weekend.

A Filter can do the trick. Once you’ve added a trigger step, add a filter to have your Zap watch for the data you want. Then you’re ready to make customized notifications.

2. Add Your Phone Number to Zapier

Phone Number Zapier

To get your personalized SMS notifications, choose SMS by Zapier as the action app in your Zap. If you haven’t added your phone number already, enter your full phone number including area and country code (1 for US numbers, 44 for UK numbers—the only two supported countries right now). Zapier can then send you a message or call your phone with a pin to confirm your phone number.

3. Add Your SMS Message

SMS message in Zapier

Now you can customize your SMS message from Zapier. In the Message field, type in any text you want, or click the + button on the right to add data from your apps—your customers’ name, perhaps, or the original message from your boss. Your SMS can include up to 153 characters, and since the fields from trigger apps may vary in length, be sure not to include too much text.

You can also select which number Zapier should use to send the message. Then add that number to your contacts perhaps with your app’s name, and your SMS notifications will come in looking like they came from your app.

It’s a handy way to create your own customized, filtered SMS notifications.

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

SMS Integration Details

Launched on Zapier October 22, 2011

Zapier combines Triggers (like "New Subscriber") and Actions (like "Send SMS") to complete an action in one app when a trigger occurs in another app. These combos—called "Zaps"—complete your tasks automatically.

The following SMS Triggers, Searches, and Actions are supported by Zapier:

Send SMS

Send an SMS to a number. Notice that a successful action means that the SMS has been queued, not delivered.

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What is SMS by Zapier?


Using our built-in number, you can send a limited number of SMS / text messages or even make calls. This is great for reminders!