Carrier Spam Filtering – Why Delivery Insights Matter

Delivery and performance insights are vastly different depending on the SMS tool you use. Those insights influence your content, SMS strategy, and internal reporting. With the recent release of 10DLCs and phasing out of shared short codes, carriers are gearing up their spam algorithms for the upcoming election cycle. And with more carrier changes on the horizon, message reports can provide crucial visibility into potential spam filtering or delivery issues.

Strive has taken a different approach to message reporting. Our reports provide detailed readouts into your message performance and deliverability – including actionable ways to prevent spam blocking. We’re breaking down what happens behind the curtain after you hit send, and how Strive Reports provide better insights into your messages.

Understanding the  journey of a message

Regardless of the SMS tool you use, a message will always be sent in this order: aggregator, carrier, device. In most cases, carriers will provide a delivery receipt (DLR). DLR's confirm your message was accepted by carriers and delivered to the device. If there is a problem delivering your message, carriers will return a delivery error code in place of the delivery receipt.

While all SMS platforms follow the same process for sending messages, not all provide access to delivery error codes after your message is sent.

Occasionally something can go wrong between a message being sent and a message reaching its destination. For example, a number is inactive, or a carrier’s cell tower is down. These errors can indicate a range of failures on both the member’s network and device. Error codes provide critical information alerting you to issues like carrier spam filtering or a bad number.

Network Delivery Receipt (DLR): Message has been accepted by carriers for delivery.
Handset Delivery Receipt (DLR): Message has been delivered to the member's device.
Aggregator: Aggregators distribute messages to each recipient’s carrier network. Aggregators maintain direct connections with major carriers and their message handling channels.

The most common concern

We often hear organizations ask “what can my messaging campaign do to stay compliant with carriers and prevent spam blocking?”. Our response:

  • Create clear opt-in paths
  • Include your organization name and HELP/STOP language in your kick off message
  • Don't broadcast during “quiet hours”
  • Maintain a list of reachable members

These tactics are a first step in ensuring your campaign is compliant. To track the impact and effectiveness of these tactics, you should always monitor your message reports, especially metrics like opt-out and delivery rates.

Reporting insights are crucial

High delivery rates and low opt-out rates are indicators of effective opt-in paths, compliant messaging, and a “healthy” list of reachable supporters. Some texting tools retrofit email delivery reports for SMS, while others bucket deliverability issues into a single “Undelivered” category. Neither reporting method empowers campaigns to send informed, strategic outreach.

Reports that generalize delivery failures can mask ongoing or terminal issues with numbers in your list.  If you can’t understand why your messages are going undelivered, it may be difficult to take actionable steps to mediate.

Unlike other SMS tools, Strive provides full insights into:

Message progress

If a message returns a delivery error, you’ll know as soon as we receive the error. Broadcast reports are generated automatically when you hit send, or your scheduled send starts. With Strive, you can monitor your broadcast's progress and quickly access your reporting data at any time, including delivery errors.

FWIW: The ability to monitor your message progress in real-time is essential in rapid response moments. Without immediate access to delivery metrics, it’s hard to safeguard against instances of spam blocking and delivery failures.
Carrier violations

If your message is flagged as a carrier violation, we give you a description of what happened, even specific by carrier where available. These descriptions also include actionable steps to avoid violations. Strive provides an unmatched level of transparency into texting deliverability.

FWIW: Carrier violations can impact your brand’s reputation with carriers since your campaign is tied to your organization’s EIN. Your brand’s reputation determines your message throughput (how fast you can send messages) and daily bucket limits (how many messages you can send a day).
List health

If a message goes undelivered, you’ll know why. Strive provides a breakdown of any delivery errors you may have received. If you receive a terminal error, such as “The number is not eligible to receive messages from your country code” the number is automatically unsubscribed. Where possible, Strive identifies error patterns and unsubscribes numbers that repeatedly return the same error.

FWIW: Maintain a reachable list of opted-in numbers. It eliminates unnecessary costs for full list sends and makes for more accurate engagement metrics. If you are consistently sending messages to numbers that are terminally unreachable (for example the member’s phone is a landline) your response and click rates will suffer.
Want to learn more about Strive’s capabilities? Schedule a demo!

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