Guide To SMS Delivery Reports

May 07, 2024
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Guide to SMS Delivery Reports

Text or SMS messages are a great form of marketing for businesses to reach customers and deepen relationships. SMS provides a way to connect with customers almost instantly, and since 91% of consumers admit they would opt in to receive text messages from brands, sending these messages is a reliable way to ensure you get right to your desired customer.

SMS message marketing also contributes to real business growth, with 96% of marketers claiming it has helped them drive revenue. However, to ensure maximum efficacy, marketers must work diligently to ensure their messages reach the intended recipient. That’s where SMS delivery reports come in.

Learning how to get delivery reports on text messages is a crucial part of any effective SMS marketing strategy. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of delivery reports for SMS message marketing and show you how to troubleshoot potential issues while improving delivery rates.

What is an SMS delivery report?

An SMS delivery report is a confirmation message sent by a mobile carrier to the sender, indicating whether a text message was successfully sent to the recipient. Since businesses send many messages, they typically use advanced SMS software, which provides this information.

These reports help businesses know whether the marketing materials were sent out by the carriers and if there are opportunities to identify issues for immediate resolution. Having this precise delivery data on messaging  and making adjustments will increase the percent of messages that reach the intended recipients and therefore increase conversions and ROI.

What information is in an SMS delivery report?

SMS delivery reports contain a wealth of information, including the status and outcome of the message—typically using categories like delivered, undelivered, pending, expired, failed or undelivered, and error code. These reports also contain a time stamp of the message delivery or a delivery attempt. Some reports even provide details about the recipient's device, such as the device model, or network information.

The comprehensive data contained in these reports allows businesses to gauge the effectiveness of their SMS marketing campaigns and helps them identify reliability or reach issues to address. 

How do SMS delivery reports work?

When a sender dispatches an SMS, the message gets relayed to the carrier which handles text message operations. The carrier then attempts to deliver the message to the recipient's device. Once it attempts delivery, the carrier generates a delivery report with critical information. This report goes back to the sender through the mobile network, indicating the status of the message. If the message delivery is successful, the report confirms it, often providing a time stamp for reference.

In case of delivery failure or if the recipient's device is temporarily unavailable, the report shows the message as expired, pending, rejected, or failed.

Why are SMS delivery reports important?

The last thing you want is for your team's hard work on a dynamic and strategic marketing plan to go to waste. An SMS or text message delivery report shows precisely how many numbers on your list were sent  your marketing messages. Even if your messages are not sent, you are still paying for them which unnecessarily increases your costs. Additionally, you don’t have the opportunity for the conversions (e.g. purchases or form fills) on those messages which decreases your conversion rates and ROI. 

Using SMS delivery reports to identify areas for improvement will decrease costs and increase conversions. By doing so, the marketing team will increase ROI and be able to highlight their positive impact on the business.

How to get delivery reports on text messages

Any enterprise messaging service should allow for the creation or enablement of SMS delivery reports. On a service like Twilio Messaging, you can use out-of-the box, real time reports through Messaging Insights or set up real-time delivery reports within the Programmable Messaging API. Follow these steps, starting in your Twilio Console:

1. Set up a status callback endpoint

Create a publicly accessible API endpoint. Then, implement a status callback handler using your preferred technology. Ensure the status callback URL contains a valid hostname.

2. Configure the status callback URL

Set the status callback URL for your messaging service or individual messages in the Twilio Console. Be aware that Twilio sends status callback requests as HTTP POST requests with specific properties.

3. Implement signature validation

Use Twilio's provided signature validation methods to ensure the security and authenticity of received callback requests. Implement logging mechanisms in your callback handler to record MessageSid and MessageStatus.

4. Test the implementation

Use Twilio Functions or your chosen validation method to test and inspect status callback requests. Be mindful that status callback requests may not always arrive in sent order due to quick succession transitions.

5. Monitor and update as necessary

Check the logged information regularly to monitor the delivery status of your outbound messages. Then, adjust functions accordingly to ensure you’re satisfied with how your SMS delivery reports operate.

Common causes of SMS delivery failure

There are a few common causes of SMS delivery failures, including:

  • Network issues: Poor network coverage or disruptions can lead to messages getting stuck in transit, causing delivery failures. This is hard to control, but if you continually get a high bounce rate due to network outages, it may be worth switching carriers.

  • Incorrect phone numbers: If the recipient's number is inaccurate, the message won't reach its intended destination.

  • Carrier filtering: Mobile carriers implement strict filtering mechanisms to combat spam. As a result, legitimate messages can get flagged and blocked. Use delivery reports to identify error codes for triaging.

  • Exceeding character limits: Messages beyond the maximum character count may get truncated or fail to send altogether.

  • Phone memory issues: If a recipient's phone memory is full, it may not be able to receive new messages, resulting in delivery failures.

How to improve SMS delivery rates

Improving SMS delivery rates ensures effective communication with your audience. Here are some key strategies to implement:

Partner with a reputable SMS gateway 

Choosing a reliable SMS gateway provider with a good deliverability reputation will help you quickly boost delivery rates. To showcase their trustworthiness, this provider should have strong network connections to major carriers and a history of positive customer ratings.  

Clean and verify phone numbers

Update and clean your contact list regularly to remove invalid or inactive numbers using a phone number validation tool. This can help ensure accuracy and lower your bounce rate.

Comply with regulations

Adhere to local and international regulations when sending messages. For your team to avoid legal issues, follow standards like the General Data Protection Regulation or the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Additionally, provide clear opt-in and opt-out options for subscribers.

Optimize message content

Optimize your message content for messaging services and readers alike, avoid excessive use of special characters, like emoji, or all caps. If including URLS, be sure to use a link shortener that includes your branded domain name to limit the risk of carrier filtering.. After all, clickbait is the quickest way to get people to unsubscribe or have your messages flagged as spam.

Time messages appropriately

Send messages at appropriate times to maximize your engagement and increase click-through rates. This includes taking time zones into account and the times of the day when consumers are most active on text (typically 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Be sure to be aware of any time-of-day sending restrictions as well. 

Monitor and analyze your strategy regularly

Monitor delivery reports and analyze performance metrics regularly. This will help identify patterns so you can adjust your strategy based on these data-driven insights and feedback.

Get SMS delivery reports with Twilio

SMS messages have become a vital tool for businesses to connect with customers, meeting them in their messaging inbox, where they spend the most time. However, your team must ensure a successful delivery to the intended recipient for your message to get across. The key to achieving this is in your SMS delivery reports, offered by dedicated messaging service providers like Twilio. 

As a robust messaging service provider, Twilio offers an intuitive approach to SMS delivery reports within our Business Messaging service. With this scalable platform, you have more information at your fingertips to refine your communication strategy and build deeper customer relationships. 

Ready to leverage a better messaging platform? Get in touch today.