tag:blog.textit.in,2013:/posts TextIt Blog 2019-05-23T09:46:25Z TextIt tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1330320 2018-10-10T20:20:25Z 2018-10-11T19:24:48Z TextIt Used in Case Study to Prevent Postpartum Smoking Relapse

Researchers at the Cluj School of Public Health at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania used TextIt to deliver SMS interventions to prevent smoking relapse in participants after giving birth. 

The project sought to, "develop, implement, and disseminate effective and sustainable interventions to prevent and reduce smoking in families over their reproductive life span". The study focused on a group of women who quit smoking during pregnancy and their partners. The participants began to receive SMS interventions starting immediately after giving birth and for 6 weeks postpartum. 600 messages were developed and loaded into the TextIt platform to be sent out in flows and sub-flows each day of the 6-week intervention. 

We spoke with Andreea Hoștină, PhD(c), a research assistant who worked on the project's team, some questions about the group's experience using TextIt in their case study: 

How did you and your team learn about TextIt?

Andreea: We needed a platform that could help us deliver the SMS part of our intervention. We reviewed the literature and this is how we came across TextIt.

Why did you ultimately choose to use TextIt in your case study?

Andreea: When it came to deciding, TextIt seemed to offer us the tools that we needed. Another advantage was the customer support that was always prompt and eager to help us.

What benefits did you find in using the platform?

Andreea: The platform is very user-friendly and allows us to control the SMS delivery very well. All the functions are explained in the tutorials, and if you encounter some other difficulties, the team is always finding solutions.

Would you recommend using TextIt in other research/case studies and why?

Andreea: Yes, I would recommend TextIt for other studies because it is easy to use, the payment scheme is clear for everyone, and the team behind the platform is very nice and professional. To sum up, TextIt is offering the necessary tools to implement any SMS-based intervention.

To learn more about the project's design & methods, team of researchers, and publications, visit the Cluj School of Public Health's website here

It is important to note that this study was supported by a grant of Ministry of Research and Innovation, CNCS - UEFISCDI (project number PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2016-0632, within PNCDI III).

tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1219063 2017-12-19T20:50:56Z 2019-05-23T02:03:43Z Introducing Quick Reply Support for IP Messaging Channels

TextIt now supports quick replies, a feature that enables you to provide contacts on IP messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram or LINE a predefined set of responses. 

Whereas simple text is the foundation of any mobile messaging experience, quick replies allow you to enhance the experience by presenting a collection of options to the message recipient. When one of these options is tapped, the set is replaced with a single text message which is then sent to your flow. 


To add quick replies to a message, simply click the dialog icon beneath TextIt's message composition form. 

These options will then appear for anyone who interacts with that flow. You can even test them yourself in the simulator. 

Quick replies are handled just like regular text, so you can continue to structure your RuleSets as you normally would.


Note that your end users aren't limited to the quick replies you've prescribed; they can respond with their own text if they'd like. It's important to consider this when adding RuleSets for questions that include quick replies.

There you have it. Questions? Comments? Let us know! We value your feedback.
Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1189327 2017-09-06T23:38:55Z 2019-05-06T01:42:58Z Link Anyone to your Facebook Messenger Bot with M.me Links
Just over a year ago, we announced TextIt's Facebook Messenger channel. Facebook Messenger wasn't the first non-SMS channel we added to TextIt, but it quickly became the most popular. Millions of people around the world prefer Facebook Messenger to SMS. Moreover, messages aren't limited to 160 characters and your contacts "numbers" aren't likely to change. This article introduces a new feature, triggers for M.me referral links, that makes it easy to share your Facebook Messenger bot with others and craft their experience once they're on Messenger. Note sure where to begin with Facebook Messenger? Let us know, we're happy to help! 

M.me links are a convenient way to share your Facebook Messenger bot, and they're simple to use: Facebook gives each page a link in the format https://m.me/PAGE_NAME, e.g. https://m.me/textitin. When a user clicks your link, they'll get taken to Messenger where they'll either start a new conversation with your bot via the 'Get Started' button or continue a conversation they started previously.

This is great, but what if you want to assign flows to the links you send out? Doing so is as simple as defining a reference parameter and appending it to your link in the format https://m.me/mybot?ref=myparam, e.g. https://m.me/textitin?ref=join. Next, go to the triggers page in your TextIt account, select the 'Start a flow when Facebook refers a contact' trigger, and enter your reference parameter ('join' in our case) in the 'Referrer Id' input. 


  • If you have configured a conversation trigger for your page (triggered when a user first interacts with your bot and taps the 'Get Started' button), the M.me referral trigger will take precendence when the user taps the 'Get Started' button. 
  • If a user already has an open conversation with your bot in Messenger, they are not shown the 'Get Started' button when they tap your M.me link. Instead, the person will be sent directly to the conversation and, if you have an M.me referral trigger configured, start the flow of your choice. 
  • You can change your M.me link on your page's 'About' section (admins only). 

Questions? Comments? Let us know! We value your feedback. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1172905 2017-07-13T16:39:43Z 2017-07-13T16:39:43Z Troubleshooting Common SMS Problems

Text messages seem like a sure thing, right? We tend to send them off without thinking twice about their status or delivery order. We expect them to be delivered moments after we sent them exactly as they were authored. As it turns out, SMS isn't so simple under the hood. So in this article we're going to discuss steps you can take to troubleshoot common SMS issues. 

Message Splitting

Texts are split into a series of messages at the carrier level when they exceed their character limit (160 characters for messages that contain only the GSM character set; 70 characters for messages containing one or more non-GSM characters, like emojis 👍). Here's a tool you can use to determine whether or not your message will be split, and how many segments it will be split into. 

Delivery Order

Once a message is split, it's at risk of being received out of order. For example, if the last segment in the series is smaller than the first two, it may get to the end user first since the shorter message is sent the fastest. You can get around this by pre-splitting your messages in your flows and applying a label to indicate the order in which they should be read. 

Undelivered Messages

Android Relayer Channels

If you have an Android device, TextIt's Android channel enables you to send and receive messages anywhere you can acquire a local SIM card. Simply download the TextIt Android application on your phone and connect it to your account, and you're good to go. 

An Android channel will experience sending issues if:
  • the phone doesn't have a steady internet connection
  • the phone doesn't have a strong cellular connection
  • the Nyaruka TextIt Android app is toggled to "paused"

Log into your account, navigate to your account page, and then click your Android channel to view performance stats: 

Twilio Channels

If you're using a Twilio channel and one or more of your messages wasn't delivered, you may be encountering one of the these sending errors

To view your error and sending logs, navigate to your account page and click your Twilio channel: 

Next, click either the "Sending Log" button or "View Log" link to view bring up your sending log: 

You can use your sending log to isolate the issue and make the necessary adjustments. In the log pictured below, the user connected their trial Twilio number to TextIt and sent messages to a contact whom they hadn't verified through their Twilio account


If you suspect your channel is have trouble delivering messages, click into the log we provide you. You'll find receipts for each request we made, and if an error has occurred you'll see an error code you can bring to your channel provider's attention. 

If you aren't sure where to look or you aren't able to identify the issue, let us know! We're hear to help 

Questions? Comments? Let us know! We value your feedback. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1164334 2017-06-15T20:01:27Z 2017-12-13T20:42:54Z Look Up Phone Numbers with Twilio's Lookup API

Have you ever wanted to retrieve additional information about a phone number? Perhaps you'd like to know whether a number is a land or mobile line. Maybe you'd like to know the caller's name or carrier. If you have a Twilio account, you've got access to an API that gives you access to all of this information and more. In this article, you'll learn how to use TextIt's webhook step to retrieve information about a number within a flow. 


A webhook is an HTTP callback: a POST request that occurs when something happens (a simple event notification). A web application implementing webhooks will POST a message to a URL when something happens, and this is exactly what TextIt does when a contact reaches the 'Call Webhook' step in a flow. We can use this special step to make requests to Twilio's Lookup API. 


First, you'll need a Twilio account. Next, grab the Account SID and Auth Token from its settings page. We'll be plugging these values into the new 'Headers' section of the webhook step. (New to TextIt? Use this guide to connect a Twilio number to your account and start sending). 

Credentials in hand, head over to base64encode.org to apply a special type of encoding that Twilio expects for this sort of request*. Simply input your Account SID and Auth Token separated only by a colon, e.g. ADa19ehc8fb23d2515:d09a32e56d8512685, and click the 'Encode' button. 

*Twilio uses a form of authentication called 'Basic Auth'. Basic Auth requires incoming user credentials to be base64 encoded. 

Copy the output and navigate to your TextIt account. Create a flow, select the 'Call Webhook' RuleSet, click the blue 'Additional Options' link, and create a header whose key is 'Authorization' and value  is 'Basic' plus your encoded Twilio credentials: 

Finally, manipulate to the URL to suit your needs. The expression @contact.tel_e164 will resolve to the active contact's number, but you can change it to another number if necessary. You can also change the 'type' query parameter to be 'caller-name'. 



You'll receive a JSON object like the one above, and you can access any of it's values using the @extra expression. For example, @extra.carrier.type will give you the value of the 'type' key and @extra.carrier.name will give you the name of the carrier. 

If you want your flow to evaluate the contact's carrier's type, you can add a 'Split by Expression' RuleSet like this one: 

The resulting flow might look something like this (landlines are exited): 


  • Twilio does impose a small, pay-as-you-go fee for carrier and caller name lookups, more here
  • You can also pass basic auth credentials through the URL itself, e.g. https://ADa19ehc8fb23d2515:d09a32e56d8512685@lookups.twilio.com/v1/PhoneNumbers/@contact.tel_e164?Type=carrier

Questions? Comments? Let us know! We value your feedback. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1140586 2017-03-29T19:15:59Z 2017-05-01T16:21:07Z SMS Messaging Best Practices

From research study delivery to customer interaction, SMS messaging has become one of the most effective ways for organizations of every kind to both collect and disseminate information. Use this short guide to ensure that your organization's SMS messaging system adheres to best practices as dictated by the United States telecommunications industry.  

SMS traffic in the United States is governed by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which dictates how and when enterprises and consumers can exchange messages. If your organization complies with the TCPA, you're probably in good shape, but you may be wondering, "is there anything else I should be considering?"  That bit is dictated by CTIA – The Wireless Association, an advocacy group representing the U.S. wireless communications industry as a whole. This guide serves to break CTIA's messaging recommendations into a short, clear guide to engaging in consumer-oriented messaging while simultaneously preventing the transmission of unwanted messages.

P2P vs A2P

It's important to first distinguish between the US telecommunications industry's person-to-person (P2P) and app-to-person (A2P) messaging definitions. 


P2P covers low-volume messaging, whether the participants are (a) individual wireless consumers or (b) wireless consumers and consumers of cloud-based messaging services or enterprises (e.g. TextIt). These exchanges must conform to the CTIA's "typical human operation" classification, which covers situations in which: 

  • No more than 60 messages are sent per minute. 
  • No more than 1,000 messages are sent per day. 
  • No more than 200 unique recipients are reached in total. 
  • The average ration of incoming to outgoing messages is typically 1:1, with some wiggle room. 

When wireless messaging traffic meets these classification criteria, it is considered to not exhibit the characteristics of unwanted messaging. 


At this time, CTIA views A2P to be all messaging traffic that does not meet its P2P criteria. It's both the type of traffic that the TCPA governs and the subject of this guide. At minimum, A2P traffic should: 

  • Seek the consumer’s express consent to receive informational and/or marketing messages.
  • Give the consumer the ability to revoke consent.

The CTIA sees the following use cases as appropriate for A2P traffic: 

  • Enterprises texting multiple consumers simultaneously. 
  • Call center scenarios 
  • Alerts and notifications 

Best Practices

Send via Short Codes

Short codes are 5 or 6-digit numbers typically reserved for organizations that need to communicate with consumers at a high volume. Use cases include flight delays, banking account alerts, delivery notifications, etc. They're designed to couple higher-volume SMS traffic with built-in consumer protections. As such, you must apply for a short code and go through a review process in order to obtain one. Fortunately, Twilio, our recommended SMS, MMS & IVR channel provider, helps customers through that process

Incorporate Toll-Free Numbers

If you aren't able to obtain a short code, consider toll-free numbers. They're only slightly more expensive than the standard mobile virtual numbers you might purchase from Twilio, but they've got two advantages: 
  • Your contacts don't incur a fee when sending to a toll-free number. 
  • They send 3 messages per second as opposed to standard numbers, which send at a rate of 1 message per second. This cuts down on the time it takes to deliver message broadcasts, and generally improves the speed of two-way interactions.  

Bundle your Numbers

Twilio provides a message service feature called Copilot that enables you to dedicate multiple Twilio numbers to a single TextIt channel, and improve SMS delivery with phone number intelligence features like: 

  • Scaler - distribute messages across a group of phone numbers to reach large audiences in a short amount of time.
  • Geo-Match - create a local experience by automatically using local phone numbers that match country and area codes to your end-user's personal number.
  • Sticky-Sender - send messages with the same recognizable phone number to create a consistent experience and maintain conversation history.
  • Reroute - if you're using a short code, you Twilio will automatically revert to standard long-code phone numbers when a carrier is unable to receive messages from short codes.
With a Twilio messaging service connected to your TextIt account, your messages will be routed intelligently to ensure you're adhering to best practices. Here's a guide to setting that up

What are your thoughts? Let us know. Your feedback is important to us. 
Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1140578 2017-03-23T19:48:11Z 2017-08-02T14:34:37Z Introducing Outbound Media Support

TextIt now supports outbound media on telephony channels like Twilio, and IP messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Telegram. This addition rounds out our effort to fully support the exchange of media on our most popular channels, whether incoming or outgoing. 

This week, we're excited to introduce outbound media support. A popular request in recent months, this feature will enable you to add more context to your interactions with images and videos that extend your service's communication potential well beyond 160 characters. 

Getting Started

To add an image or video to a message, simply open up the action editor and click the paperclip icon.

Then, upload your file and continue building! Outbound media actions can be added to both messaging and voice flows. 


  • Outgoing media is displayed in-app for Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Twilio channels, but converted to a link for others. 
  • Twilio only supports MMS in the US and Canada, and will convert a picture message into an SMS with linked media when sending to MMS-incompatible numbers.
  • Twilio will also automatically resize the images you send to meet your contacts' carriers' requirements. 
  • Image attachments are limited to 500KB while video attachments are limited to 20MB. 

Have a use case for outgoing media? Want to request support for a different channel? Let us know! We hope to improve this feature with your feedback. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1133417 2017-02-22T16:54:21Z 2018-02-26T07:11:24Z Use Facebook Messenger's Checkbox Plugin to Message Website Visitors

Facebook Messenger’s new Checkbox Plugin enables you to authenticate Facebook users with a discrete checkbox that fits naturally into any form. It could be used for just about any form-based use case, but it’s value for TextIt users is collecting opt-ins and contacting website visitors. Once a visitor completes the form, TextIt will message them via Facebook Messenger and add them to your contact list. 

To set it up, navigate to the Triggers page, create a trigger and select the ‘Start a flow when Facebook refers a Contact’ option. In addition to FB Messenger channel and flow, you’ll need to enter a referral id unique to this plugin, e.g. 'textit'. 

Finally, add the plugin to a form on your site. You’ll need to include the optional ref parameter and make sure its value matches the referral id you gave TextIt.

You’re good to go! Any time a visitor clicks your plugin, they’ll receive a message via Facebook Messenger.

Questions? Comments? Let us know. Your feedback is important to us. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1129678 2017-02-08T18:26:07Z 2017-03-07T14:41:01Z Introducing Nexmo Voice Support

When Nexmo released their new voice API, we jumped at the chance to support it. Nexmo, like Twilio, is a great tool for organizations and developers who want to provide SMS & IVR (voice) communication channels. 

Why Voice?

TextIt’s voice flows allow you to build structured voice interactions that utilize phones' keypads and voice recording functionality. In particular, voice workflows are handy for three reasons:

  • They allow you to send and receive voice messages with improved tone, character and length when compared with text messages.
  • They're synchronous: contacts are actively engaged with your flow for the duration of the call.
  • They enable you to communicate at scale with those who can’t read or write, expanding your organization’s reach.

Use Cases

TextIt’s voice flows can be used to create automated call centers capable of triaging calls and directing clients to the appropriate team member. Alternatively, they're great for outbound communication campaigns: In June of last year, we brought attention to the polio-eradication efforts of UNICEF, the WHO, and the Federal and Provincial Emergency Operation Centers on Polio in Pakistan. In this context, UNICEF's Pakistan Innovations team built voice workflows to disseminate polio knowledge-check surveys designed to equip community leaders with the information they need to affect harmful anti-vaccination discourse and raise awareness within illiterate communities.

Which Service Should I Use?

That’s entirely up to you, as number pricing and availability vary between the two services. First, visit Twilio and Nexmo’s pricing pages to determine whether or not voice-enabled numbers are provided in your country. Learn how to add a voice-enabled Twilio number here

Using Nexmo Voice

The process is simple and painless. First, signup for a Nexmo account and add a voice-enabled number.

Next, login to your TextIt account, navigate to the channels page and select Nexmo. 

If this is the first time you’re connecting a Nexmo account to your TextIt account, you’ll be prompted to enter the API key and secret listed on your Nexmo account’s settings page. Once you’ve connected your accounts, all you need to do is select your number, create a voice flow and start sending.

Questions? Comments? Let us know! We value your feedback. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1127955 2017-02-01T18:51:55Z 2017-06-13T12:11:39Z Use TextIt to send Emails from your own Address

Sending Email from TextIt

TextIt’s Send Email action is vital to self-service chatbots and standalone messaging workflows alike, as it allows you to notify yourself, your team, or even the active user when a certain condition is met, e.g. a support request is submitted. A chatbot can’t handle every situation, and we don’t believe it should. While they’re great for tedious tasks like registering a user, processing a purchase, checking the weather or booking a flight, a human touch is essential to providing a flexible, reliable and amicable service. After all, more than 8 out of 10 (85%) consumers not only want to be able to receive information but also reply to businesses or engage in a conversation

Using your own Address

By default, TextIt sends emails from no-reply@textit.in. If you’d like to add your own address, simply navigate to your account’s settings page and click the email icon.

Here we’re using a Gmail-hosted email address. You’ll want to plugin your email address, host URL, credentials, port and encryption preference. In the example above, encryption needs to be set to TLS because that’s the protocol Gmail’s SMTP port 587 uses.

Gmail-Specific Considerations

If you want to link a Gmail address to TextIt, you’ll need to switch the ‘Allow less secure apps’ setting in your Gmail account’s ‘Connected apps & sites’ page to ‘ON’:


Note that a standard Gmail account is limited to 500 emails per day. Learn more about Gmail’s limits here:


Questions? Comments? Let us know! ⌨  Your feedback is important to us. 
Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1126339 2017-02-01T18:45:58Z 2017-03-07T14:41:17Z Customer Spotlight: Learn why BANGS Shoes adopted TextIt

BANGS Shoes is a fashion brand with a unique mission: help people help themselves. Their model is simple, but powerful: sell sleek, classic shoes to fund entrepreneurs around the globe. To date, they’ve invested in 480 entrepreneurs in 58 countries including the USA. We spoke with Hannah Davis, BANGS Shoes’ founder, to learn more about TextIt’s role in their business.


BANGS invests 20% of net profits to help hand-selected entrepreneurs around the world start businesses. Kiva, a nonprofit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in over 80 countries, vets entrepreneurs and handles both loan dissemination and repayment. When a loan is repaid, BANGS re-invests the money in a new entrepreneur. This process increases financial independence, boosts local economies and promotes personal development.

Why TextIt?

Proudly based in Asheville, North Carolina, BANGS Shoes sells exclusively through their website. They use social media and a brand ambassador community to build their brand, which targets adventure-loving, socially-conscious men and women between the ages of 18 and 24.

They initially visited college campuses to build and support their brand ambassador community, but switched to TextIt when it became apparent to Hannah that, in her words, "we needed a way to communicate with our Ambassadors that didn't require a change of behavior." TextIt enables Hannah to send out notifications to her ambassadors, then personally handle each of their responses. It has enabled her to build a personal relationship with each one–something that's very import to her.

Between social media and TextIt, Hannah's approach has paid dividends. BANGS Shoes' ambassador program has grown by 2,000% since 2012.

Interested in learning more about BANGS Shoes? Visit their website or follow bangsshoes on Instagram. Check out their newly-released homage to North Carolina's Blue Ridge Parkway, the Blue Ridge Parkway high top.

Have a question for us? Please, get in touch

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1124217 2017-01-18T23:06:00Z 2017-12-13T20:42:45Z Key Mobile Messaging Insights for a Successful 2017

(image source: Dimoco

2016 was a great year for mobile messaging: messaging app usership skyrocketed, smartphone ownership continued to increase around the world thanks to low-cost Android, and chatbots burst onto the scene when Facebook announced Messenger’s bot platform.

In the spirit of reflection, we’d like to share Twilio’s 2016 global mobile messaging consumer report. It's full of great insights even if you don't use Twilio. For those who aren’t familiar, Twilio is by far our most popular integration. It enables organizations around the world to create and deploy SMS or IVR bots in minutes. 

Some key takeaways: 

  • 89% of global consumers want to use messaging to communicate with businesses.
  • The average consumer has 3 messaging apps on their phone’s home screen, uses 3 different messaging apps per week, and sends 3 messages per hour. 
  • 47% of consumers prefer to communicate with businesses via SMS vs. FB Messenger, Whatsapp, Line, Snapchat and others. 
  • More than 8 out of 10 (85%) of consumers not only want to be able to receive information but also reply to businesses or engage in a conversation.
  • Most customers enable notifications for messaging apps (86% in US, 82% in Europe and 77% in Asia, respectively). 

Here’s a link to the full report: 


Questions? Comments? Let us know! ⌨  Your feedback is important to us. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1120536 2017-01-11T00:47:29Z 2017-01-16T11:39:41Z Introducing the New Flow Results Dashboard

We recently updated the flow results page to display both high and low level information about a particular flow’s performance. 

High-level information is displayed in the top half of the page, as illustrated by the image above. The first graph displays message frequency by day, while the second displays frequency by time. You can use these graphs to evaluate your flow’s performance or plan future broadcasts. 

Beautiful Data

The pie chart on the right of the page displays both the number and percentage of participants who’ve entered and either completed the flow or exited from it, as well as those who exited before completing it. 

Finally, we included a histogram which displays the total number of messages sent and received by date and time throughout your flow's lifespan. 

Getting Granular

The bottom half of the page lists each run. Here, you can view either the value collected by each RuleSet or the full text of the contact’s response at that particular step. Just click the flow icon to toggle between the two values. Additionally, you can add as many columns as you’d like from the 'Add Column' dropdown. 

Exporting Results

Click the ‘Download’ button in the top right corner of the page to export these results to a spreadsheet. You can include up to 10 contact fields, and choose to limit results to only those who responded or each contact’s most recent run. 


Charts will only display for flows with 200 or more responses. The histogram pops up after 1,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1114239 2016-12-12T20:09:42Z 2016-12-13T18:46:13Z Lessons on SMS Survey Design: A Factorial Experiment on SMS Survey Participation using TextIt

Laterite, a Rwanda and Ethiopia-based research and advisory firm, recently used TextIt to implement an SMS survey with agricultural cooperatives in Rwanda. This survey was unique in that it was also used to measure the impact of survey delivery on participation rates. We spoke with Josep Casas and Mallory Baxter of Laterite's research team to learn more about their findings.


Laterite provides data collection and econometric analysis services to government agencies and ministries, international NGOs, think thanks, academic institutions, and development organizations. They conduct the vast majority of their work in countries in which they have an established presence in order to build a strong understanding of the local context.


Using TextIt, Laterite has developed an SMS-surveying solution called conTEXT that is operational on all of Rwanda’s telco networks. It allows the company to send reverse-billed SMS surveys (i.e. at no cost to respondents) as well as airtime incentives on completion of those surveys.

The Experiment

Using conTEXT, Laterite recently conducted an SMS-based survey with members of agricultural cooperatives in Rwanda. They were hired by SPARK International to assess its Cooperative Support Programme (CSP), which targets agricultural cooperatives and SMEs operating in bean, Irish potato, maize and horticulture value chains with an aim to increase food security and stability by accelerating agri-business development, promoting rural economic growth and generating jobs in Rwanda's agricultural sector. The project's budget for interviews was limited, so Laterite and Spark decided to use conTEXT to collect complementary data from cooperative members.

This was the first SMS survey Laterite had carried out in Rwanda, so they wanted to use it to determine the best way to deliver future surveys. The key question was: can small tweaks to SMS survey delivery increase participation, and if so, which? Laterite's research team designed a factorial experiment to explore this question. They tested five factors they thought might impact cooperative members' willingness to participate:

  • Introduction Type: The majority of cooperative members (85%) were introduced to the survey via a phone call while others were introduced to the survey directly via SMS (15%). The call was scripted and focused on potential questions participants might have regarding the content and purpose of the survey.
  • Time of DayHalf of the cooperative members received their surveys in the morning (10 AM) while others received them in the afternoon (4 PM).
  • Personalization: Half of the cooperative members received messages that were personalized (addressed them by name in the introduction using TextIt’s substitution variables) while others received generic messages.

  • Financial Incentive: Half of the cooperative members were informed before the survey that they would receive an incentive of RWF 100 in airtime for completing the survey and received this incentive on survey completion. The other group did not receive any reward.
  • Survey Expiration: Half of the cooperative members were made aware of the fact that the survey would expire after 1 week (as flows can be configured to expire after a period of inactivity) while others were not.

Laterite tested the impact of the phone introduction by randomly allocating 15% of the sample to the SMS Intro group and the rest to the Phone Intro group. Individuals in the phone intro group were called by the enumerator team before the TextIt flow was initiated. Once consent had been obtained following the initial introduction, Laterite implemented a factorial experiment with the remaining factors.

In a factorial experiment, an intervention is broken down into factors and levels, e.g. the factor representing time of day has two levels: morning and afternoon.  In this experiment, Laterite was testing 4 strategies–each with 2 levels–resulting in 16 (2^4) possible experimental conditions. This means that they had to deliver the survey in 16 unique ways. Using a series of “Split by Contact Field” RuleSets, Laterite could create different routes inside the TextIt flow so that each candidate received the messages corresponding with their own combination of factors.

While analysis is on-going, preliminary results suggest that pre-survey phone calls and message personalization had the largest impact on increasing participation rates. Interestingly, financial incentives appear to have had no effect.

Preliminary Results

Introducing the survey via phone call instead of SMS increased the participation rate by 18% while message personalization led to an increase of 8%. Other factors weren't statistically significant. 

Figure 1. The effect of each of the factor on participation rates.


*Green factors were statistically significant while red factors were not

Laterite also tracked the number of errors that occurred for each type of question, allowing them to identify which questions work best. In this case, 'error' is defined as an invalid response as determined by the response rules present in each RuleSet. For example, Laterite included a question that asked participants to reply with their gender and age separated by a plus sign delimiter (e.g. "female+30"). They found that 37% of respondents could not answer the question correctly on the first try while 10% raised an error at least 3 times. Message form questions–as these are called–are unique in that they enable you to collect multiple values in a single message, reducing the number of questions required. To ensure message form error rates are low, you'll want solicit feedback from your contacts and test other value combinations and delimiters (spaces and periods) to determine what works best in your project's context. 

Moving Forward

Laterite’s research team is currently working to understand the links between these factors, survey completion, and attrition between survey rounds. Among their questions is whether a single phone introduction has a lasting effect on participation rates. Laterite is also looking to replicate this experimental design in other contexts to build a body of evidence around the optimal delivery of SMS surveys. 

Questions? Comments? Let us know! Questions for Laterite can be directed to Josep or Mallory, linked above, or its website

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1111188 2016-11-27T18:29:43Z 2017-09-06T16:58:41Z v2: Introducing TextIt's new API

API v1 is now deprecated and will be removed on March 1st 2017

A new version of the TextIt API is now available. The purpose of this release is to ensure our operations are performant at scale. TextIt needs an API that is always fast.

We also cleaned it up, providing an interface that's now more consistent across different endpoints. We even put some thought into ensuring this version will be future-proof. 

Changes to look out for...

If you're migrating code that uses our API, be sure to reference the API v2 documentation. Below are the general changes to look out for:

  • All operations which list objects use cursor pagination rather than the typical Django page=1,... etc pagination. This means we do not return a total count value for result sets. Count values tend to be expensive to calculate on very large datasets so this was not sustainable as databases grow.
  • Filtering options are limited to single values. For example, in v1 you could fetch runs like runs.json?id=1131241,436364,464363... but now the 'id' parameter can only contain a single value. If you find yourself needing to fetching lots of objects repeatedly, then it may be better to restructure your code so that you fetch all objects of that type as they are created or modified.
  • When updating objects, the identifier is sent as a query string parameter rather than a field in the JSON body. This is more RESTful and makes POSTs more consistent with GETs and DELETEs, e.g. changing a contact's name:

    POST contacts.json
      "uuid": "1c904f04-af6f-4f2b-89e1-9ebf0c5aef73",
      "name": "Bob"


    POST contacts.json?uuid=1c904f04-af6f-4f2b-89e1-9ebf0c5aef73
      "name": "Bob"
  • Status code usage is more consistent. In v1, the status code 201 was used for both successful create operations and update operations. Trying to update a non-existent object returned 400 but trying to delete the same object returned 404. In v2, the rules for status codes are more explicit:
    • 200: A list or update request was successful.
    • 201: A resource was successfully created (only returned for POST requests).
    • 204: An empty response - used for both successful DELETE requests and POST requests that update multiple resources.
    • 400: The request failed due to invalid parameters. Do not retry with the same values, and the body of the response will contain details.
    • 403: You do not have permission to access this resource.
    • 404: The resource was not found (returned by POST and DELETE methods).
  • Objects are referenced in more consistent ways:
    • messages, runs and broadcasts are always referenced by their id value.
    • contact fields by their key.
    • groups and labels by name or UUID.
    • everything else is referenced by its UUID.
  • Datetime values are always returned with microsecond accuracy (v1 used only millisecond accuracy).
  • Phone numbers must now always include country codes, i.e. we won't accept a URN like "tel:0964153001" but we will accept "tel:+260964153001". 
  • The message bulk action endpoint is limited to 100 messages, so if you need to update more messages than that, make sure you batch your requests.
  • Some vocabulary has been removed. In v1 messages could sometimes be sms and channels could be relayers. In v2 it's always messages and channels.
  • All endpoints are rate-limited. If you're making lots of requests then expect to get some 429 responses. These will include a Retry-After header which provides a number of seconds to wait before retrying.

API Explorer

You can use the API Explorer to test these new operations against your account's data. 

If you have any questions about migrating to v2, don't hesitate to ping us here.

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1104425 2016-11-11T14:44:38Z 2017-06-09T17:50:17Z Automatically Add Flow Responses to Google Sheets with Google Apps Script

If you're using TextIt, you're likely interested in analyzing the results of each interaction your contacts have with your messaging bot. You probably also want to streamline the process of viewing and analyzing them. You can do so by sending the results of each flow run to a Google Sheet as your contacts finish them. There, you can visualize your data as it's being updated and even build a custom dashboard.

It's possible to set this up with a service called Zapier, but you can also use Google's powerful, built-in, JavaScript-based scripting language Apps Script. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use Apps Script to add the results of a run down the 'Satisfaction Survey' sample flow to a Google Sheet. Feel free to follow along with the copy in your account, 'Sample Flow - Satisfaction Survey'.


  • TextIt account
  • Google account 

Let's Begin

Our goal: To send flow responses to a Google Sheet.

This messages in this flow run will be sent to a Google Sheet. A new row will be created for each run. 

Create your Spreadsheet

First, we’ll create a new spreadsheet and set up the rows that will hold our data. To make these columns easier to interact with, we’re going to make use of Named Ranges. This allows us to give each column a name that we can reference in our script. To name a range, double-click the column, then select 'Define named range...'. Give it a one-word name. It's vital that all rows are selected, e.g. 'Sheet1!B:B'. 

Go ahead and name all 7 of your new columns.

Create a Script

Now we'll start scripting. From the Tools menu, select Script Editor. Give your script a name. 

Erase the existing code in the editor and add the following code: 

Let’s look at the first 3 lines of code:

  • Line 1: we create a doPost() function so that our script can receive flow results via POST requests. These POST requests will be made when the active contact reaches a Call Webhook RuleSet. This function, unique to Apps Script web apps, will process any new POST request from our flow once we’ve deployed our script as a web app.
  • Line 2: we're gaining access to our spreadsheet file. Google Apps Script differentiates between a spreadsheet and a sheet (a spreadsheet is a file that may have one or more sheets–or worksheets or tabs). We can gain access to the entire sheet by referencing its ID (the long string of characters in the spreadsheet’s URL after '/d/'). Replace the placeholder in the code with your spreadsheet ID.
  • Line 3: the request object will contain the entire payload of the incoming POST request. We're assigning it to a variable in order to conveniently access its parameters.

Publish your Script

Select Deploy as Web App from the Publish menu in the script editor, then choose the following options:

  • Execute the app as: Me
  • Who has access to the app: Anyone, even anonymous

Click Deploy, then copy the address of the Current web app URL to your clipboard. You’ll need that for your webhook. Congradulations, you've just published a web app!

Add a Webhook to your Flow

Add a 'Call Webhook' RuleSet to the end of your 'Satisfaction Survey' flow. Select POST and paste the URL provided in the previous step: 

Before you click Ok, make sure to add a query string to the end of the URL to include the flow variables that represent the responses your flow has collected. Not familiar with flow variables? Learn about them here.

Here's mine: 


The query string represents everything from the '?' to the end of the URL. It allows you to create parameters to be sent to your web app. We're simply adding flow fields to the URL so that TextIt knows to send them to our web app and the Google Sheet knows to add them to its columns. The names you give these values should be one word and describe them accurately as you'll be referencing them in your script. 

Finish your Script

First, we'll need to add a function that crawls the rows in each column. The nextRow() function will do just that. Copy this code, replacing the parameter in SpreadsheetApp.openById() with the ID after the /d/ in your Google Sheet's URL. I've highlighted its location below:


The final step is to map the incoming data–represented by TextIt variables–to the columns in the your Google Sheet. Copy the code below (starting from the comment '// Isolate flow field values...') and replace the parameter and column names in the code above. For example, consider these two separate but related lines:

var date = request.parameters.date;

sheets.getRangeByName('date').getCell(nextRow, 1).setValue(date);

In this case, date in request.parameters.date and .getCell(nextRow, 1).setValue(date) should be changed to the name you gave your date flow field (if other than @flow.date), and 'date' in  sheets.getRangeByName('date') should be changed to the name you gave your date column in your Google Sheet (if other than 'date').

Test your Service

Nice job, you're ready to test your web app with the simulator. Complete your flow and watch your responses appear in your Google Sheet

Questions? Comments? Let us know. We love hearing from you.

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1093980 2016-10-15T00:02:04Z 2017-03-07T14:41:36Z Add Features to your Chatbot with Webhooks

webhook is a handy tool that you can use to transfer information into and out of a web app through simple HTTP requests containing data in a structured format (JSON, in TextIt's case). Better yet, you don't need to have extensive coding experience to make use of them. 

In TextIt, we make webhooks available to you through the Call Webhook RuleSet, which sends the phone number of the active contact, their state in the flow, and the flow's name to the URL you specify. See the Flow Event webhook documentation for a full list of the values included in that request. This RuleSet can be used to send information to other service's APIs, like Zapier (see this guide to get started with the TextIt Zapier app), Google Maps, Google Sheets, and really any other service that provides a JSON API. Use this guide to learn how to add functionality to your bot by making use of other services' APIs. It only takes a few clicks. 

Whereas TextIt's 'Wait for Response' RuleSet allows you to evaluate incoming responses according to various response rules, the 'Call Webhook' RuleSet allows you to send responses to an external service and either evaluate or reply with that service's response. For example, you can use a 'Call Webhook' RuleSet to POST a message to the Google Translate API, then reply with the translated message using a 'Send Message' action that contains a variable–starting with the '@extra' prefix*–that matches the translated message's key in the returned JSON object. 

*As the image above demonstrates, you can access keys stashed in arrays (between '{[' and ']}') by placing '.0.' in front of the key. 

See for Yourself

Search the following bots on Telegram to interact with flows that make use of other services' APIs: 

Oxford Wordsly, a bot that tests your English and Spanish vocabulary using a collection of APIs. 

Purrington, a bot that provides cat facts. 

Bandito, a bot that provides Spanish translations.

Using Webhooks

To get started, you'll need an API, a key to access it, and a sample request from that API's documentation. In the example below, we'll be using Google's geocoding API to verify addresses submitted by our contacts. Instructions for acquiring a key are usually front and center in the API's documentation:  

The documentation states that we'll need to structure the request like so: 


The request above dictates that, aside from our key, we'll just need to provide an address. To do so, we'll need to create a flow that asks the active contact for their address. We'll be using an open-ended 'Wait for Response' RuleSet labeled 'Address' to handle that response. 

Next, we'll connect the 'Address' RuleSet to a 'Call Webhook' RuleSet. We can place the variable created by the 'Address' RuleSet in our request to ensure that it represents the address each contact submits. 

Now we can use the simulator to inspect Google's response. 

Google responded with a 200, meaning that our request was successful. Now we'll need to parse it's response for the fully formatted address. We can do so by clicking the highlighted 'webhook event' link in the simulator. The key we're looking for is 'formatted_address'. 

Since this key is actually housed in an array under a key called 'results' (the 'results' array isn't visible in the image above), we'll need to place '.0.' in front of it to access it: 


Finally, we'll need to account for failures. We can do so by connecting the 'Failure' category that the 'Call Webhook' RuleSet automatically creates to a message that prompts the active contact to try again. 

Voilà, we've created a flow that collects and verifies our contacts' addresses using Google's Geocoding API. What will you build? 


  • If an API responds with minified JSON, you can expand it using this tool
  • This page is a great resource for publicly-available JSON APIs

Questions? Comments? Let us know! We love hearing from you. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1092711 2016-09-23T11:12:55Z 2017-03-07T14:41:43Z Mult-Tier Accounts: Child Accounts & Credit Distribution

Customers who purchase 1,000,000 or more credits unlock multi-tier account privileges, which allow you to add multiple child accounts and distribute credits to them through the originating, or parent, account. This feature is intended for organizations with multiple use cases across multiple countries, where it's useful to be able to create accounts for specific organizational branches and manage them from a central account. 

Adding Child Accounts

To add a child account, first navigate to your account's home page. 

Scroll to the 'Your organization is...' section and click the 'Manage Organizations' button.

Click the 'New' button in the top right corner of the page. 

Distributing Credits

Select the 'Transfer Credits' option from the gear icon menu in the top right corner of the page. 

On the resulting modal, select the origin and destination accounts, then enter the amount of credits you'd like to transfer. 

Managing Accounts

To enter one of your child accounts, simply click the new account icon in the top right corner of the screen and select the account you'd like to enter. 

Questions? Comments? Let us know. We love hearing from you.

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1092706 2016-09-23T10:04:50Z 2017-03-07T14:41:50Z Multi-User Support: Adding, Editing & Removing Multiple Account Users

Customers who purchase 100,000 or more credits unlock multi-user support, which allows them to add multiple users of varying roles to the account. This feature is intended for enterprise accounts, where multiple users may need to oversee your flows, campaigns, scheduled broadcasts and contacts, or routinely export information from the account. 

To add additional users to your account, first navigate to your account's home page. 

Scroll to the bottom and click the 'User Accounts..." icon. 

Here, you can choose to manage account users via the 'Manage Accounts' button or, if you're using the TextIt Surveyor app to collect information offline in the field, create a password that other Surveyor users can enter into the app to be able to submit responses to your account. Click the 'Manage Accounts' button. 

The 'Manage User Accounts' page is where you'll add, edit and remove additional users of various roles. To add a users, simply enter their email address and select the permission you'd like to give them.

Account Roles


Surveyors have no administrative privileges, nor can they access the account. They may only submit flow results via our offline flow-based data collection mobile app, TextIt Surveyor


Viewers can see every aspect of the account, but may not modify anything. 


Editors can edit flows, campaigns, triggers and contacts; send messages; start flows; export flows, contacts and messages; and export/import flows. Editors cannot make changes to the account's home page, including managing account roles, changing language or timezone settings, and adding and removing channels. 


In addition to editing privileges, admins may make the above-mentioned changes to the account's home page.

Questions? Comments? Let us know. We love hearing from you. 
Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1092407 2016-09-22T11:44:18Z 2016-09-26T14:27:37Z Feature Update: Group Membership Evaluation

Groups are a great way to track and manage users, and they can mean many different things: perhaps a group represents active users, completion of a flow, participation in a campaign, a particular response to a question, or an attribute that some of your contacts might share. Whatever their purpose, groups are an important to getting the most out of TextIt. For this reason, we simplified the process of checking if the active contact is a member of a particular group. 

Simply select the 'Split by group membership' option from the RuleSet menu and add the groups you'd like to check for membership. Each will become its own category. 

Evaluating Membership in Multiple Groups

If you need to check for membership in multiple groups, you can chain multiple 'Split by group membership' RuleSets. 


The 'Split by group membership' RuleSet evaluates the groups you enter from left to right, so order matters if it's possible the contact could be in more than one of the groups entered. If they are, they'll be matched with the group that appears first. The order the groups are evaluated in can be changed by dragging the groups from left to right in the 'Group Membership' modal. 

Questions? Comments? Let us know! We love hearing from you. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1085981 2016-09-02T12:56:39Z 2017-03-21T22:04:58Z Introducing First Class Zapier Support

We’re excited to announce first class Zapier support through the new ‘Call Zapier’ RuleSet. For those who aren’t yet familiar, Zapier allows anyone to integrate TextIt with over 750 other apps like Google Sheets and Slack without writing a single line of code. 

Specifically, it enables you to create connections that pass information fro one app to another. For example, you might use Zapier to:

  • Distribute and verify coupons and vouchers via Google Sheets.

  • Alert your Slack channel of a flow response.

  • Add contacts who complete a Typeform embedded in your website to a flow.

  • Add new Salesforce contacts to flows.

  • Use HookPress to trigger flows from actions taken on your Wordpress site.

How it Works

Zapier watches your apps for new data and kicks off triggers and actions based on the rules you set. Each trigger and action pairing is called a 'zap'. Here are some examples:

Supported Zaps

The TextIt Zapier app currently has one action and one trigger, though we're happy to explore additions based on your feedback.

The action, 'Start Flow', allows you to start one or more contacts in a flow using data from another app. Check out this video for a quick tutorial:

The trigger, 'Flow Event', sends all of the responses collected by a flow up to the 'Call Zapier' step to the app of your choice. Check out this video for a quick tutorial:

Try it Out

If you haven't already, head over to Zapier to discover more use cases and sign up for a free account. Have a workflow you need to automate, but aren't sure how? We're happy to help

Questions? Comments? Let us know! We love hearing from you. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1079907 2016-08-09T16:32:05Z 2019-05-23T09:46:25Z Transfer Airtime with TextIt

On over 400 mobile networks in more than 100 countries, TextIt users can now transfer airtime to help power their business operations, messaging services, community outreach initiatives, and mobile marketing campaigns. Using the popular airtime and mobile money transfer service TransferTo, you can use flows to send airtime to over 4.5 billion prepaid mobile users around the world.

Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, TransferTo is a B2B mobile payment network interconnecting financial institutions and mobile operators globally. Thousands of leading companies, including Vodafone’s M-Pesa, Tigo Money, Orange, Western Union, PayPal and Xoom rely on TransferTo’s Mobile Money and Airtime Hub.

Among the factors that led us to integrate with TransferTo are its reliability and ubiquity among top financial institutions and mobile operators. To date, its Money and Airtime Hub has processed more than 50 million transactions. 

Airtime Primer

Airtime is the time during which a cellular phone is in use, including calls made and received by extensions. It typically covers SMS and data usage. Airtime transfer is the process of remotely adding airtime to a prepaid mobile phone. Also called a Top-Up, Recharge, Reload, E-load, Fa, Nap, Kontor, or Refill.

Use Cases

  • If you use the Nyaruka TextIt Android app to send messages and receive messages with a prepaid SIM card, you can now add airtime directly from your TextIt account instead of physically purchasing airtime from a local vendor.
  • Your can now offer airtime as a reward for flow completion, as sending airtime to your respondents encourages participation, and reimbursement for the cost of sending SMS ensures they’ll participate in the future.

Getting Started

First, you'll need to open a denominational account with TransferTo. To do so, send a note through TransferTo's contact form including your company name, address and currency. You'll be assigned an account and account manager to help you navigate the service. 

Locating your API Token

Once you've acquired an account, navigate to the developer portal. 

Enable two factor authentication to access your API token, then copy it to your clipboard.

Connecting TransferTo to TextIt

Finally, navigate to your TextIt account’s home page, select the TransferTo icon at the bottom of the page, then paste your TransferTo API token and enter your TransferTo username.

How it Works

Once you’ve integrated your TransferTo account with TextIt, you’ll be able to send money in the currencies used in the countries for which your account has channels. To add airtime transfer to one of your flows, simply open the ‘RuleSet’ modal in the flow editor and select the ‘Transfer Airtime’ option. Then, select the amount of money you’d like the step to send.

Finally, add branches that account for successful and failed transfer attempts.

Troubleshooting Transfers

You can click the TransferTo icon on your account's home page to access your transfer logs. 

Get in Touch 

Question? Comments? Let us know. We love hearing from you!

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1079912 2016-08-09T12:42:15Z 2016-08-09T12:42:15Z Monitor your Twilio Channels with Email Alerts

We understand that error tracking is an important part of managing your Twilio-powered TextIt SMS application. To ensure that you're constantly abreast of channel errors–like the commonly-encountered blacklist error–we recommending setting up a trigger alert in your Twilio account portal. 

Once configured, a trigger alert can send you daily emails if one or more errors has occurred. Luckily, that process is easy: To set one up, simply log into your Twilio account, click on the 'Developer Center' icon and select 'Trigger Alerts' from the resulting menu. 

Here, you can create an alert that sends you daily, monthly or yearly alerts when 1 or more errors occur. Feel free to forward the email to our support channel once you've received it and we can walk you through the troubleshooting process. 

Get in Touch 

Question? Comments? Let us know. We love hearing from you!

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1079045 2016-08-05T19:15:56Z 2016-08-10T13:50:48Z TextIt, 3 Years Later

It’s been 3 years since we officially launched TextIt in Kigali, Rwanda. TextIt 1.0 was the culmination of 3 years’ work building custom SMS products for governments, NGOs and private companies across East Africa. Our goal was to enable every organization in the world to inexpensively leverage SMS to better accomplish their mission, and we introduced our solution in the form of a flow engine to manage automated messaging and the world's first Android phone channel–an application that turns your Android phone into an SMS modem that relays messages to an HTTP server and vice versa.

Since then, TextIt has grown to support research, polling and Bots through short codes, virtual phone numbers, Android phones, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Twitter and, by the end of 2016, Viber and Kik.

A Commitment to Affordability and Transparency

Through it all, we’ve maintained a commitment to providing a universally accessible service–both financially and technically. We switched to a pay-as-you-go pricing model, and pre-loaded each new account with 1,000 complimentary credits to allow you to test your service before committing.

We didn't stop there: we open sourced TextIt in 2014 to improve its accessibility and facilitate UNICEF's adoption of the platform. UNICEF's investment didn't end at open sourcing the platform; with their cooperation we’ve continued to add features that make TextIt even more dynamic and powerful. When you decide to incorporate TextIt into your organization’s communication systems, you can do so knowing that the software isn’t going anywhere. It's supported by a robust, global community of developers and providers. What’s more, we make our work public, allowing you to view our roadmap and track our progress.

In addition to an open code base, we provide world-class hosting. We’ve scaled considerably over the past two years, going from millions of messages per month to millions per day. When you host with TextIt, performance isn’t a question.

Drip Messaging Campaigns

We introduced campaigns, a powerful feature that enables you to schedule messages and flows around a date and time unique to each of your contacts. It’s since been adopted for post-purchase messaging, maternal reminders, and a variety of treatment-adherence programs and studies.

Comprehensive API

We built out our API to enable you to integrate with and/or build on top of each of TextIt’s core features: flows, contacts, message broadcasts and campaigns. Now, anyone can plug TextIt into their existing systems with ease. 

White Labeling

We introduced white-labeling-as-a-service, enabling any organization to leverage our hosting expertise and adopt TextIt’s software with their own branding.

IP Messaging Channels

TextIt now supports three different IP based channels which are playing an ever greater role in programs around the world. We provide first class support for Twitter, Telegram and Facebook Messenger, letting you use all the same tools we initially built for text messaging to automate other messaging channels. These IP platforms also support receipt of rich content, enabling you to collect pictures, videos, audio clips and GPS coordinates. We have plans to add Viber and Kik by the end of the year, and we’re anxiously waiting for WhatsApp to release a Bot API.

Flow Engine Enhancements

We recently added the ability to use flows as subroutines, enabling you to launch a child flow to collect variables and then return control to the parent flow. This approach greatly simplifies complicated systems in that you can centralize particular pieces of functionality. For example, you can create one registration flow and call it from any other flow, removing the need to build registration into each flow.

We also added timers to RuleSets, allowing you to send reminder messages to flow participants after a certain amount of time has elapsed without a response, or add a 'pause' in a flow to stagger messages.

An Offline Surveyor Tool

Late last year we introduced our offline surveying tool, Surveyor. Think of it as ODK Collect with a chat interface and much quicker setup process. You can use the same authoring tools we initially created for SMS to build flows that can be run offline on any Android device, allowing enumerators to collect rich data such as pictures, video, GPS coordinates, etc. in branching questionnaires. Surveyor is currently being used at scale in Nigeria to survey health clinics.

Platform Roadmap

We’re always adding and updating features based on your feedback. In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching some big ones:

  • A first class integration with TransferTo to enable airtime and mobile money transfers around the world.

  • A first class Zapier integration, extending the functionality our private Zapier app, which will enable you to use events in Flows as triggers to over 500 other apps and, conversely, trigger Flow starts through triggers in other apps.

  • The ability to pause a flow for a brief period and/or route a flow differently if a certain amount of time has elapsed without a response.

  • Outgoing MMS support for Twilio, Android and IP messaging channels.

Sign up for a free account to take advantage of these developments. Each new account is given 1,000 complimentary messages to help you get a feel for the platform. You'll also gain access to our newsletter, which provides updates on our progress and links to the articles we're reading. 

Already a user? Send us a note about your experience with the platform. We love hearing from you. 

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1078216 2016-08-03T14:46:57Z 2018-10-09T12:04:36Z Feature Update: Add Timeouts, Pauses to Flows

We're happy to announce that we've added an option to set timers on 'Wait for Response' RuleSets. You can use this new feature to send reminder messages to flow participants after a period of inactivity, or create a 'pause' in a flow to stagger messages. If the contact hasn't responded in the amount of time you've chosen, they'll be routed through a 'No response' category. You can connect this category to a 'Send Message' action that encourages them to continue, or leave it unconnected to prompt an exit. 

For example, in the flow pictured above, when a contact hasn't responded in 6 hours they receive a followup message asking if they'd like to continue. If they don't respond to the followup message in 3 hours, they're exited from the flow. 

To add a timer, simply check 'Continue when there is no response' at the bottom of a 'Wait for Response' RuleSet, then select a time period. 

Staggering Messages 

In our first example, the introductory message is actually longer that 160 characters–the limit for all SMS. If an SMS contains more that 160 characters, it will be split into multiple messages by carriers and may arrive out of order. Using the timeout feature, you can also pause flows, ensuring that multi-message broadcasts are sent in order. For this use case, we recommend adding a 1-minute pause between 'Send Message' actions: 


Note flows will expire inactive contacts after a set period of time. You'll need to make sure that time period is longer than those of your 'Wait for Response' RuleSets, otherwise a contact will be expired from the flow before a RuleSet timer reaches 0. Select 'Edit' from the gear icon menu in the flow editor to change a flow's expiration settings: 

Also note that RuleSet timeouts are now the preferred method for prodding contacts to respond, as messages sent via campaigns now exit contacts from flows. 

Question? Comments? Let us know. We love hearing from you!

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1074923 2016-07-21T22:18:47Z 2016-09-05T16:16:49Z Introducing Subflows

This week, we updated the flow engine to include subflows. This feature allows you to start the active contact in a 'child' flow at any step, then return them to the original 'parent' flow once they've completed it. It also removes the need to copy certain elements of one flow and add them to another. For example, you can now reuse a flow dedicated to registering a new contact by calling it from any other flow. Flow redundancy is a thing of the past!

Calling a Subflow

To call a subflow, add a RuleSet to any step in a flow, select 'Run a flow', then choose the flow you'd like the active contact to enter.

Two new conditions are introduced, 'completed' and 'expired', giving you the ability to branch the active contact based on their activity in the child flow. 

New Variables

This update introduces two new variables, '@parent' and '@child', and changes the meaning of '@extra'. Previously, @extra could be used to reference: 
  1. flow fields collected in the previous flow, if a contact is moved from one flow to another via the 'Start another flow' action. 
  2. the contact fields associated with the active contact in the previous flow, if a new contact is started in a flow via the 'Start someone else in a flow' action. 
  3. JSON objects returned by a 'Call Webhook' RuleSet. 

Now, @parent takes the place of @extra for scenarios 1 and 2, while @extra is solely dedicated to JSON objects. To call a flow field from the previous flow, use the format '@parent.{flow_field}'. To call a contact field associated with the active contact in the previous flow, use '@parent.contact.{contact_field}. 

@child can be placed in the parent flow to reference flow fields collected by the child flow up to the point the contact either finished the child flow or expired from it.

Try it Out

Import the following flows into your account via this page to play with a fully-baked subflow example. Note that imports are limited to those who've purchased credits. Haven't topped up? You can do so here

Questions? Comments? Let us know; we love hearing from you. 

Follow us on Twitter to interact with a Bot built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Kellan Alexander
tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1074951 2016-07-21T22:16:35Z 2016-09-05T14:30:32Z Creating a Drip Messaging Campaign

Use this guide to create your first campaign. Campaigns allow you to schedule drip-style messages and flows around a date & time field unique to each of your contacts. In this article, we'll show you how to create a campaign that sends a customer satisfaction flow 7 days after the contact's purchase. 

Creating a Campaign

To create our campaign, we'll need:

(1) contact group to which the campaign will send messages. A group can be created via the Contacts page using the 'Create Group' button in the bottom left corner. Alternatively, a group can be created within the 'Add contact to a group' flow action. 

(2) A date & time contact field. A contact field can be created via the Contacts page. Click the 'Manage Fields' button to add the field and set its value type: 

(3) A campaign. Campaigns can be created via the Campaigns page using the 'Create Campaign' button. 

Each campaign operates on a single contact group: 

(4)flow to be sent out over the duration of the campaign. In this case, we'll be sending the 'Sample Flow - Customer Satisfaction' present in all new TextIt accounts. 

(5) A campaign event to send our customer satisfaction flow. An event can be created via the 'Add Event' button present within your campaign. 

A campaign event requires a contact field containing a date & time value around which it can be scheduled. 

    Scheduling the Campaign

    Now that we have our contact field created, we need to initiate the campaign. We can accomplish this by starting the contact in a flow containing a purchase confirmation message, an 'Add contact to a group' action that places the contact in the campaign's group, and an 'Update the Contact' action that'll record the time the contact received the message. 

    The 'Update the Contact' action uses the '@date.now' variable to update the 'Registration Date' contact field with the date and time the contact receives the message. 

    Once the contact has been placed in the campaign's group and our event's contact field has been updated, the campaign becomes active. You click each event to view it's upcoming messages:

    What are you building your campaign for? How is it working for you? Let us know; we love hearing from you. 

    Follow us on Twitter to interact with a Bot built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

    Kellan Alexander
    tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1073110 2016-07-15T18:47:00Z 2016-07-20T16:24:36Z Feature Update: Set your Contacts' Preferred Channels within a Flow

    We're excited to announce the addition of the 'Set Preferred Channel' action, a feature made necessary by our growing list of channel integrations. 

    Default Channel-Matching Behavior

    TextIt previously only matched contacts with channels based on the following criteria:

    If you have multiple channels of the same type connected to your account, the channel that the contact last initiated contact with will be prioritized. Contacts can be locked-in to a relationship with a specific channel (they'll only received messages from this channel) under three conditions:

    1. You have multiple channels of the same type connected to your account.
    2. The contact's address type priority corresponds with the channel type (e.g. phone number) that possess multiple channels (e.g. multiple phone numbers).
    3. The contact initiates contact through an incoming message.
    If the contact has never interacted with a channel linked to your account, TextIt will prioritize the channel whose number has the largest prefix overlap. 

    For example, if your channels are +12505661212 and +2505551212, and you are sending an SMS to or calling +2505661231, TextIt will use the +2505661212 Channel because it overlaps the most.

    In most cases, TextIt is able to discern the carrier associated with a contact's phone number and prioritize channels based on carrier, though this depends on carrier behavior.

    Custom Channel-Matching

    Now, you can create your own channel-matching logic to either assign or switch a contact's preferred channel without waiting for an incoming message. This new action will allow you to do things like: 

    • switching between channels of the same type (e.g. phone numbers). 
    • switching between channels of different types, like phone numbers and Telegram bots. 
    • assigning Android channels based on contact fields, prefix overlap or group membership (to get around throughput restrictions).
    • switching between toll-free and standard virtual numbers. 
    • assigning a number based on a user’s number’s country code, area code, and more. 


    TextIt will match contacts with channels according to the above-mentioned criteria until a contact enters a flow containing a 'Set Preferred Channel' action. The contact will be permanently mapped to the selected channel until (a) they send a message to a different channel or (b) their preferred channel is changed by another 'Set Preferred Channel' action.

    Questions? Comments? Let us know; we love hearing from you. 

    Follow us on Twitter to interact with a chat bot built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. You'll be sending messages in minutes! Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

    Kellan Alexander
    tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1071098 2016-07-08T20:30:17Z 2016-07-08T20:30:17Z Anonymizing your Contacts' Personally Identifiable Information

    We're fortunate to have a strong base of research-focused customers. While we work closely with each of our customers to update and add features, the academic community has been particularly influential in TextIt's development. In fact, TextIt's campaigns module is a result of our participation in an SMS-based clinic attendance and early infant HIV testing study. Along that vein, we'd like to make you aware of a feature that might benefit research studies and those whose use cases require contact information to be handled sensitively: contact information anonymization

    Anonymization replaces each contact's name with a random code and completely remove their address (their phone number, or an ID associated with their Facebook, Telegram or Twitter accounts):

    Note that 'None' is the default value displayed for empty custom contact fields. 

    When the anonymization feature is enabled, each new contact profile, whether imported into TextIt via a spreadsheet or generated when a new contact interacts with one of your channels, is anonymized. No user will be The contact's UUID, groups, language preference and custom fields will still be accessible. By the same token, exported contact and flow information will also be anonymized. 

    Note that this feature is permanent once an account has been anonymized.

    If this isn't sufficient, we're interested to learn how we might improve this feature to accommodate a broader range of use cases.

    Contact us to enable this feature or share your thoughts. 

    Kellan Alexander
    tag:blog.textit.in,2013:Post/1069003 2016-07-01T23:07:12Z 2016-12-15T19:00:18Z Build and Test Bots for Free with TextIt

    We understand that channel costs can be an obstacle for anyone looking to build and test chatbots and messaging applications with SMS and IVR functionality. That’s why we cover your first 1,000 messages with no financial obligation. Given so many options, you should be able to evaluate your bot at no cost. Whether you’re conducting a pilot or testing your application yourself, you can use this guide to send SMS with any channel for free.

    SMS Channels

    SMS channels deliver messages on behalf of your account. They include aggregators, the TextIt Android application and carriers themselves.

    When using the TextIt app, all you need is an Android phone with our app installed and a SIM card. If you have an unlimited texting plan, testing your bot with our app won't cost you anything extra. To add your phone as a channel, navigate to the channel claim page, select ‘Android Phone’, and follow the steps provided. By contrast, aggregators offer virtual numbers which connect to your app and send messages on its behalf. Twilio has a great trial service, and offers virtual numbers in the following countries:

    • Australia

    • Austria

    • Belgium

    • Brazil

    • Canada

    • Costa Rica

    • Croatia

    • Denmark

    • Estonia

    • Finland

    • France

    • Germany

    • Hong Kong

    • India

    • Indonesia

    • Ireland

    • Israel

    • Italy

    • Lithuania

    • Malaysia

    • Mexico

    • Nexmo

    • Norway

    • Philippines

    • Poland

    • Portugal

    • Russia

    • Singapore

    • Spain

    • Sweden

    • Switzerland

    • United Kingdom

    • United States

    Another option is an international number, which can be used to deliver messages in most countries. You can use this guide to enable international permissions for your Twilio account and try global messaging for free. 

    Getting Started with Twilio 

    1. When you sign up for a your free Twilio Trial, you’ll be asked to verify your personal phone number. This is an important security step that is mandatory to trying Twilio.

    2. Head here to add your first Twilio phone number.

    3. A new Twilio number will be generated with its capabilities (Voice, SMS, or MMS) displayed below it.

    4. If the number doesn’t have the capabilities you are looking for (some numbers do not have all three capabilities), you can click the 'Search for a different number' link to find a number that better suits your needs by the country or capabilities.


    5. Be sure to verify any non-Twilio phone number before sending or receiving any SMS messages to/from it.

    Development Tips

    Use these tips to get the most out of your Twilio trial!

    Phone Numbers

    • Twilio allows one number per trial account. To get a different phone number than the one Twilio assigned you automatically, you need to release the current number you have on the numbers page first.

    • Phone numbers in Beta are made available to trial accounts. Check out this article on international numbers and their capabilities to find out which numbers are currently in Beta.

    • If you upgrade your account, your trial number will be carried over and charged monthly according to current Voice or SMS rates.

    • If your phone number is unused in your trial account for more than 30 days, Twilio will remove it. 


    • You will be able to send SMS from your Twilio SMS-enabled number, but not from your verified personal number. This rule will also apply after the trial.

    • Alphanumeric Sender IDs cannot be used with trial accounts.

    • When you send an SMS from your free trial phone number, it will begin with “Sent from a Twilio Trial account”. This message will be removed once your account has been upgraded.

    • You may be eligible to use Global SMS on your trial account. Find out more here.


    • Be sure to verify any non-Twilio phone number first by having Twilio place a verification call to it. This is an extra security measure that Twilio removes once you’re calling from an upgraded account.

    • There are a limited number of countries your Twilio account can make calls to. Upgraded accounts have the ability to enable permissions to call almost any country from your Twilio app.

    • Trial Accounts can only use either your account’s Twilio number, or a Verified Caller-ID, as the Caller-ID/From number when making outgoing calls.

    • Calls to and from your free trial phone number will play a short trial message before your TwiML runs.

    • Calls are limited to 10 minutes.

    Social Media

    Social media channels, which include Facebook MessengerTelegram and Twitter, are free!


    You can can use our Zapier app to integrate your bot with other services. Once you've clicked the invite link, you can use a trial Zapier account to setup your integrations. 

    Questions? Comments? Let us know; we love hearing from you. 

    Follow us on Twitter to interact with a chat bot built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. You'll be sending messages in minutes! Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

    Kellan Alexander