15 Reasons You Have SMS Deliverability Issues And Quick Fixes For Them

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If you've been having SMS deliverability issues, you are not alone. Many businesses experience deliverability issues, but there are ways to overcome them.

In this blog post, we list 15 reasons you may have text messaging deliverability issues, so you can take the necessary steps to resolve them and ensure your messages reach their intended recipients.

Table of Contents


Reasons Your Text Message May Not Deliver:

The Number is Invalid

If you are having an issue with deliverability on only a select few of your customer's phone numbers, it may be that the numbers need to be correctly entered or validated. Double-check all incoming phone numbers to ensure they are correct and up-to-date.

How to Fix This

Contact your user to confirm the correct phone number and ensure it is properly recorded in your system. Calling or emailing can sort the issue out quickly.

The Number Is on a "Do Not Call" List

If the user has placed their phone number on the "Do Not Call" list, you may be prohibited from sending messages to that customer.

How to Fix This

Check the national Do Not Call registry for your country and ensure that none of your users have opted-in for this service. When collecting their phone numbers, you can ask customers if they have signed up for text messaging service.

Your Message is Too Long

Outgoing text messages are limited to 160 characters per message. If your message is longer than this, it will be sent as two separate messages, meaning deliverability could be an issue.

How to Fix This

Keep all of your messages concise to ensure they reach their intended recipients. Break down long messages into multiple shorter ones with a series of text messages or drip campaigns.

You're Not Using an Approved Carrier

If you're not using an approved carrier, your messages may not be delivered. Many carriers have strict rules and regulations that must be followed to guarantee delivery.

How to Fix This

Choose an approved SMS provider who can deliver your messages reliably. Make sure the company you are using complies with all industry standards and regulations and offers scalability and reliability.

Poor List Quality

If you're having trouble with SMS deliverability, you should take a close look at your send list. Are all of the numbers valid? Are they accurate? The bottom line is that if you want to improve your SMS deliverability, you must ensure you have a high-quality list.

How to Fix This

Verify all the numbers on your list using a service that validates phone numbers. Verifying the numbers will help ensure you have accurate, up-to-date contact information for each customer. Additionally, use segmentation and personalization to target your messages more effectively.

Phone Number Does Not Accept Text messaging

Some phones are not capable of receiving text messages. If your customer is using an older model phone or a landline, it may be unable to accept text messages.

How to Fix This

Ask customers with older devices or landlines if they have a newer device that does support SMS messaging. You can also offer other forms of communication, such as chatbots or email.

The Message Was Flagged As Spam

If your message is flagged as spam, it won't be delivered. This can happen if you are using certain language or words that may trigger the spam filters.

How to Fix This

Avoid using language or words in your messages that may trigger spam filters, such as all capital letters, excessive exclamation points, and special characters. 

Lack of Permission

To ensure SMS deliverability, it is essential to have explicit permission from the recipient. Without this permission, carriers may flag your messages as spam, which can result in them being blocked or filtered.

Even if a message is not marked as spam, it may still be caught in a carrier's filtering system if there is no indication that the recipient has consented to receive the texts.

How to Fix This

To avoid this issue, be sure you have the recipient's permission before sending any promotional or transactional messages. By taking this simple step, you can ensure that your messages are delivered and received as intended.

Your Phone Number Is Not Approved For SMS

Some phone numbers are not approved for sending SMS messages. If this is the case, your message will not be delivered. 

How to Fix This

Contact your service provider to verify that your phone number is approved for SMS messaging and ensure it is properly configured. Once this is done, you should be able to send and receive messages without issues.

The Recipient Opted-Out or Blocked Your Phone Number

The message will not be delivered if a recipient opts out of your messages or has blocked your phone number.

How to Fix This

Check if your customers have opted out or blocked you from sending them messages. If this is the case, respect their wishes and do not send them any further messages.

Billing Trouble

If there is an issue with your billing, you may experience problems with SMS deliverability.

How to Fix This

Check with the carrier or service provider to make sure all of your bills are paid up-to-date. Once everything is settled, you should be able to send and receive messages again.

Routing Issues 

Sometimes, SMS deliverability issues may be due to routing issues beyond your control. Your SMS messages may be delivered to the correct carrier, but the carrier may have problems delivering the message to the intended recipient.

This can happen for a number of reasons, including congestion on the carrier's network or issues with the recipient's phone. However, in most cases, these routing issues are temporary and will eventually be resolved. You can usually tell if there is a routing issue by checking the delivery status of your messages. If you see that your messages are being delivered late or not at all, it is likely due to a routing issue.

How To Fix

Generally, these issues will resolve over time, but you can always contact your SMS provider for more information.

Problems With The Carrier Network

One of the most common problems that can cause SMS deliverability issues is problems with the carrier network. If you are trying to send an SMS to a user on a different carrier network than your own, the SMS may get lost in transit. This is because each carrier has a network that handles SMS traffic, and if the two networks are incompatible, the SMS will not be delivered.

How To Fix

Check with your carrier to see if there are any known issues with sending text messages to the other network. In some cases, they may be able to provide a workaround or suggest an alternative messaging service that is more compatible with the other network.

The Recipient May Be Out of the Network

If the recipient is in an area with poor network coverage, your message may not be delivered. This can happen if the recipient is outside their carrier's service area or if there are temporary issues with the network.

How To Fix

Check to see if the recipient is within their carrier's service area and ensure there are no known network issues. If the recipient is out of the network, they may need to be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot or use another messaging service, such as email or instant messaging, that does not rely on cellular coverage.

In some cases, it may also be possible to send SMS messages over data networks using third-party messaging services. However, this option is only sometimes available or reliable and may incur additional costs.

Illegal or Illicit Content

Text messages may not be delivered if they contain illegal or illicit content. This includes offensive language or other types of forbidden content.

How To Fix

Check the content of your SMS message and make sure it does not violate any laws or regulations. If you are sending bulk text messages, ensure that all recipients have opted in.

Understanding Potential Text Delivery Issues

While SMS delivery is usually instant and reliable, a few potential issues can cause delays or failures. One of the most common issues is an outdated contact list. An SMS message will not be delivered if a customer's phone number changes or is no longer active. This is where we would start looking if we had trouble with deliverability.

To ensure the timely delivery of SMS messages, it is important to keep contact lists up to date and to check for customer preferences regarding SMS notifications.

By understanding the potential issues impacting SMS delivery, businesses can ensure that their messages are received promptly and effectively.

Why SMS deliverability rates are important

SMS deliverability rates are important because they indicate the percentage of messages successfully delivered to the recipient's phone. If your SMS deliverability rate is low, many of your messages aren't reaching their destination, which can be costly for your marketing efforts and frustrating for your potential customers.

Reasons A SMS Would Be Marked As Spam

There are many reasons why an SMS might be marked as spam. One reason could be that the sender's number needs to be added to the recipient's contact list. If the recipient doesn't know the sender, there's a good chance the message will be marked as spam.

Another reason could be that the SMS contains too much marketing or advertising content. Messages that are nothing more than one big sales pitch are often considered spam and are automatically blocked by many carriers.

Finally, if an SMS is sent to many people at once, it's likely to be marked as spam because it can clog up inboxes and cause annoyance.

If you're planning on sending out an SMS campaign, ensure the content is relevant and send it to people who have opted in to receive notifications from you.

What causes a delay in delivering SMS messages?

A delay in delivering SMS messages is typically due to congestion on the network. When too many people are using a network simultaneously, it can slow down or even prevent messages from being delivered. This is particularly common during peak hours, rush hour, or major events like concerts or sports games.

Another potential cause of delay is when the recipient's carrier blocks a sender's number. If the recipient's carrier doesn't recognize the sender's number, it will likely block the message from being delivered. This can happen if you send messages to someone from a different country.

Is SMS delivery guaranteed?

There's no such thing as a guarantee in life, unfortunately. But SMS delivery is typically very reliable. Most carriers have a 90% or better delivery rate, and even messages that are delayed or don't make it to the recipient's phone are usually delivered within a few minutes of the original send time. So while there's always a chance your message won't be delivered, you can rest assured that it will likely reach its destination.

What is a good SMS delivery rate?

The answer to this depends on the carrier that you use. Different carriers offer different delivery rates, so it's important to research and find the one that best meets your needs. Generally speaking, a good SMS delivery rate is 90% or higher. Anything lower than that indicates that many of your messages are not reaching their destination.

We Hope This Helps!

Sending text messages can be a great way to connect with your customers and promote your business, but it's important to make sure that your messages are delivered reliably.

By understanding the causes of text message deliverability issues and delays in delivery, then taking steps to avoid them, you can ensure that your SMS campaigns are successful.

We hope this information is helpful as you plan your next marketing push!

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Happy texting!