We need to send two types of messages to our contacts. Giving the fact that there is no such thing as Transactional SMS sends in Marketing Cloud, we've decided to create two keywords:

  • NOTIF: to be used for transactional SMS sends. No need for the contact to be Opted-in.
  • CONSENT: to be used for promotional SMS sends. Needs to check the Opt-in status.

The problem is, when configuring an SMS activity on Journey Builder, there is no option to send only to contacts who Opted-in for a specific Keyword.

The first option will not solve the problem giving the fact that all our contacts will be Opted-in for NOTIF keyword and therefore will receive the SMS.

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So the question is: Is there a way to send and SMS only to contacts who opted-in for a specific keyword?

  • 1
    If a subscribers is opted in to ANY keyword they can be sent to, The 2nd options will also not resubscribe the contact back to the keyword. SO if they have opted out of ALL keywords this message will not be sent to regardless of the setting
    – EazyE
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 12:43
  • They will never be a case where a contact has opted out from all keywords because they are always opt in for the transactional keyword. But the 2nd option resolves the problem since it honors the contact's consent on keywords and does not resubscribe them back. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 13:01

3 Answers 3


Yes, in the situation when you have multiple keyword subscriptions on the same mobile code, it's the second option Subscribe all contacts to a keyword.

It might be a bug, it's counter-intuitive, but it's the only way in the whole system where you can say that this given message belongs to given keyword.

My tests showed that in a situation in which a customer is opted-in on one keyword and opted-out on another one:

  • the 1st option (Send only to contacts who are subscribed currently) will not respect the opt-out

  • with option 2 (Subscribe all contacts to a keyword) the current opt-out status will be respected, the message will not be delivered and no, the subscription will not change to opted-in

  • Indeed, I've tested the two options and it works. This is very weird and counter intuitive because when selecting the second option, it asks you to confirm that you've received the contact's consent to receive your SMS messages. Since it not documented anywhere, I'll double check with support to see if it's actually supposed to work like this. Thanks Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 11:22
  • I don't remember correctly, but I suppose the response that I received from support is that the 1st option checks if a opt-in exists on of several keywords. If at least one keyword subscriptions is set to opted-in, the message will be delivered regardless. The obvious omission the current flow is that only the 2nd option allows you to say that your text message should belong to the NOTIF or the CONSENT keyword. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 12:10
  • The first option is self-explaining. I'll get back to this question once I have a response from the support. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 13:16
  • I've conducted more tests and added an answer with the results.. Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 9:16

After running different tests, I'm adding some information in case someone else stumbles upon this question.

What @Rafal said for the first option is true.

However, the answer for the second option is partially true. In fact, there is two use cases when choosing Subscribe all contacts to a keyword:

Use case 1: If the contact has been attached to this keyword in AllContacts, then Journey Builder will respect the consent. The contact will only receive the SMS if he's opted in. In case he's Opted out from this keyword, he will not receive the SMS and will not be re-opted in.

Use case 2: If the contact has not been attached to this keyword on AllContacts, he will receive the SMS and will be Opted-in to the keyword.

Hope this helps.


I have some additional findings to this.

If you have two keywords, lets say KEY1 and KEY2. A Contact is opted out of KEY1 but not from KEY2. If you send an SMS to KEY1 in this case, it will still go through.

Given this, I have a hard time seeing what multiple keywords actually would be useful for.

Contacts keywords Keywords

Subscribe to keyword Subscribe to keyword

Send out goes through enter image description here

Update: This behavior is for one time send outs to data extensions. When doing send outs through Journey Builder, behavior in previous posts is accurate.

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