SMS Deliverability Guidelines


Every SMS message sent (from Sakari or a handset) must be validated by a different combination of 'downstream' partners (number providers, carriers and networks) to be delivered.  The combination of partners varies with each country and with each sending and receiving number, and so do the deliverability criteria. 

Due to the variability in deliverability criteria, Sakari cannot promise the delivery of any single message. 

Best practice guidelines

Following these guidelines will help to maximize the likelihood of your message being delivered:

  • Ensure consent to receive (opt-in)
  • Be brief
  • Never send prohibited content
  • Identify your brand
  • Personalize
  • Encourage a response
  • Provide opt-out instructions
  • Avoid publicly-available URL shorteners
  • Use a single domain for URLs
  • Send the same message from the same number
  • Ensure messages match the stated campaign (US/Canada)

Ensure consent to receive (opt-in)

The most important practice is ensuring accurate, reliable opt-in specific to the type of messages you’re sending consumers.  Generally, opt-out rates are consistently low when you have obtained reliable and explicit consumer opt-in consent. At any time, Sakari or other wireless carriers may request evidence of documented opt-in consent for a particular message sent from you (or your customers).

SMS opt-in

The registration of messaging from US numbers requires evidence of SMS opt-in.  Please see our article US and Canada Messaging Campaign Best Practices

Be brief

SMS stands for Short Message Service, and Sakari recommends using SMS only for communications that can be kept to a digestible length.  Sending messages of no more than 1-3 message segments long on average is ideal.

You can use our free SMS Length Calculator to analyse your messages before and after sending them.

Never send prohibited content

Prohibited content can vary geographically but typically falls into similar categories.  In the United States, prohibited content is known as S.H.A.F.T. content:

  • Sex
  • Hate
  • Alcohol
  • Firearms
  • Tobacco (including cannabis)

Text messages with content directly or remotely related to these categories will most likely be blocked as SPAM by either the number provider and/or one or more Tier 1 Mobile Network/Handset operators in the U.S.

Identify your brand

Your application, service, or business name should be included in the content of the body of your message(s):

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Personalize the message to the recipient

Add Contact Attributes or personalization tokens from an integrated CRM when creating Campaigns:

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Encourage a response

Repeated messages to the same number without a reply are a key indicator of SPAM.  Asking a question or otherwise encouraging a response helps to demonstrate to downstream partners that your campaigns are targeted towards willing recipients:

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Provide opt-out instructions

Consumers should be able to opt out of messaging from your organization and Sakari supports carrier-based keywords for opt-in and opt-out.  Customers must also be informed how to opt-out.  Failing to have opt-out instructions in your messages may lead to carriers flagging and possibly blocking these messages as SPAM.

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All messages sent via a Sakari Campaign include opt-out instructions by default.

Avoid publicly-available URL shorteners

You can send text messages with full and shortened domains, although carriers prefer full domains.  URL shorteners may be used to deliver custom links but avoid public and shared domain shorteners.

Sakari Shortened URLs are a great way to ensure your links are being sent to customers.  Please also see Can I Use Shortened URLs in my Text Messages?

Use a single domain for URLs

Each campaign should be associated with a specific web domain owned by you, the customer. Although a full domain is preferred, a custom URL shortener may be used to deliver custom links.

You can create a custom domain for Sakari shortened links - please see Advanced Settings.

Send at the right time

Sending your message outside of office or sociable hours won't cause message filtering but may mean that consenting contacts choose to opt-out.  We recommend sending messages within office hours and strictly no messaging before 8am and after 9pm.

You can schedule individual messages and entire campaigns in Sakari.

Send the same message from the same number

You should avoid attempting to dilute reputation metrics and evade filters by spreading messages across many source phone numbers.  This is referred to as “snowshoeing” and can block your content.  If your messaging use case requires multiple numbers to distribute “similar” or “like” content, please discuss it with your Sakari account executive.

Ensure messages match the stated Campaign (US/Canada)

Sending SMS in the US requires advance registration with the US carriers of the type of messaging that will be sent, against the number sending the messages.  The type of messaging you send is known as your 'Campaign'.  Sending message content that falls outside of the description you give of your Campaign will cause messaging to be filtered.

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