How to take advantage of Android Messages' link previews

How to take advantage of Android Messages' link previews

Last Updated: June 2020

Android Messages app continues to receive new updates as Google prepares to launch Rich Communication Services (RCS) messages worldwide. The biggest update for SMS marketers is the link preview feature.

Newer versions of Android Messages app use Google’s Material Theme design, giving the app a much cleaner look, and links now come with a preview box.

Old version

Version 3.7+

When tapped, the preview image displays—giving you a powerful MMS-like feature that many SMS marketers love without having to pay the hefty price associated with it. The preview includes the title of the page if it’s available.

The screenshots in this article are real SMS examples from Next Departure, a business that sends SMS alerts to customers whenever they find great flight deals.

Here’s how the link preview expands after you tap it.

Android Messages' link preview has an image and a title. Here’s how you can adjust both.

Feature image

Before sending an SMS campaign, make sure to test your link on an Android device. If your feature image isn’t showing up or if it isn’t the correct image, then try this:

  • Upload the image to your web page’s featured image settings, or

  • Upload the image to an online file storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Cloudinary. Take the image link and place it inside the content portion of this code snippet:

    <meta property=”og:image” content=“https://insert-web-link-to-your-preview-image-here” />

    Next, copy and paste this code snippet between the < head > tags of the web page you link to.

If Android Messages can’t find any images to use, then it’ll show “Preview not available,” but the link will still work as a big button.

Feature title

The title fits up to 36 characters but will likely be shorter since it’ll only show complete words.

If you want to adjust it, add this between your page’s < head > tags and adjust the content part:

<meta property="og:title" content="Insert title here" />

Disclaimer: Mandatory do’s and don’ts

To take advantage of these link previews, here are some additional guidelines:

  1. Make sure your image is set properly (use the tips above to help)
  2. Start your web link with http:// or https:// in your text message
  3. Place your web link at the very beginning or at the end of your text message
  4. Use only one link inside your text message

The process can be a little tedious, but if you get it working, it should help improve your click-through rates and conversions.

Tracked Links
Our online SMS service provides a Tracked Link feature to shorten your website URLs (and they work with linked previews too). Any recipients that tap on your tracked link will show up in our SMS campaign reporting, so you know who’s engaged and who isn’t.

Final thoughts

As Google moves closer to the launch of Rich Communication Services, you will see additional changes and improvements to Android Messages. Let us know how it goes for you. You might also be interested in learning about how to take advantage of Apple’s SMS link displays also.

If you’re not already a Burst SMS customer, give our online SMS service a try with our 14-day trial. No obligations and no credit card required.