At Postscript, the successful delivery of your messages is a top priority. However, there are times when deliverability issues arise that are out of our control.
We wanted to share a transparent look into the deliverability process. We’ll take you through the process from start to finish and discuss which parts your shop, Postscript, and the carriers control. We’ll also discuss common causes of deliverability issues and recommend some best practices.
Postscript and Mobile Carriers
Postscript works with your shop and network carriers to deliver the messages that you create to your subscriber base. However, it’s important to break down which entity is responsible for which parts of the delivery process.
While Postscript and network carriers play an important role in the message delivery process, the below are the responsibilities of your shop to ensure you are viewed by the carriers as a trustworthy source.
- Collect explicit opt-in consent from every subscriber using compliant list growth methods.
- Create messages (including GIFs/images, copy, and promotional offers) to send to your subscribers.
- Choose a phone number type (e.g., short code, toll-free, etc.) that best supports the volume of messages you wish to send.
- Keep messages concise, engaging, and free of restricted content.
- Provide opt-out opportunities (we recommend at least once a month).
The below are the responsibilities of Postscript as an SMS marketing platform.
- Store subscriber data.
- Educate shops on the legal requirements and compliance best practices for SMS marketing.
- Provide tools and features your shop can use to create engaging messages that capture your brand voice and personality.
- Build compliance requirements into tools and features.
- Allow you to segment your subscriber base so you can send targeted campaigns and automations to your intended audiences.
The below are the responsibilities of the network carriers.
- Filter messages for spam, fraud, restricted, or unwanted content.
- Send messages to subscriber phones via their telecommunication networks and confirm receipt.
- Update Postscript of any delivery issues or delays.
What Impacts Message Deliverability
Several factors can impact message deliverability, and network carriers are responsible for the majority of these.
Carriers experience peak activity time, whether it be a specific time of day, day of the week, or time of year. Increased activity and traffic create network congestion, which can delay a message or cause delivery failure.
This is especially common during holidays, in particular Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many brands send campaigns to their entire customer base, which can lead to a large message volume that causes your message queue to overflow. Delays in sending are even more common for MMS campaigns since media files like images and GIFs use more data when sending.
What You Can Do
- Send SMS campaigns. During peak time, carriers may experience difficulty sending MMS messages. It’s always a good idea to either send SMS campaigns during peak time or have a backup campaign message. This is especially important during BFCM so your message doesn’t get lost in the congestion.
- Send campaigns to smaller segments. Create campaigns tailored to different parts of your subscriber base using customer segments. Not only will this help with conversion, it can help keep your message queue manageable. The more targeted your messages, the better. At Postscript we believe in quality over quantity.
- Target brand enthusiasts and repeat buyers. Rather than sending to your entire subscriber base, target subscribers who are regular purchasers as they are more likely to convert.
- Enable SMS fallback for MMS campaigns during poor delivery windows. You have the option and ability to pause scheduled campaigns so that they don't send during times of poor deliverability. If you have a time-sensitive campaign, then it might be best to let it send as an SMS. Simply select the Pause MMS messages instead of SMS fallback checkbox on the Settings page accessible by clicking your shop name in the side menu.
- Extend coupon deadline. Make more time-sensitive holiday sales span over longer periods so that coupons won’t expire (and customers won't miss out) should there be deliverability delays.
Carriers filter messages sent via their network for two reasons:
- To protect subscribers from unwanted messages, spam, fraud, and abuse; and
- To enforce rules and regulations in place for the destination country or mobile network.
What You Can Do
- Include opt-out opportunities. Opt-out language legitimizes your message and can keep you free of spam labels. Select the Add "Reply STOP to unsubscribe” checkbox below a message field to include this language in your message. If you send regular campaigns, then we encourage you to include this language at least once a month.
- Engage in conversations. Texting with your customers boosts sales and helps improve deliverability. Carriers see subscribers actively engaging with your brand, which tells carriers you are credible and can improve message deliverability in the future.
- Use a TFN or consider applying for a short code. Brands using a dedicated toll-free number (TFN) or short code number undergo less filtering and experience faster message transmission times. Reach out to our support team for more information.
When shops send a large number of messages in a short period of time, it can cause their message queue to overflow.
What You Can Do
- Send to smaller segments. Skip sending a campaign to your entire subscriber base and send to smaller segments of subscribers.
- Stagger campaigns throughout the day. Rather than sending a large campaign at one time, target your various segments with the campaign throughout the day. This helps reduce the number of messages in your queue at any given time.
- Create campaign flows. Build out campaign flows and include time delays to help stagger messages over a period of time. Options include minutes, hours, and days.
Phone issues are the most common cause of SMS delivery failures. If a subscriber’s phone is turned off, disconnected, or roaming, a carrier may be unable to deliver your message.
Carriers might also discover the phone number is no longer in service or unable to receive SMS messages (i.e., a landline number). These instances also result in a delivery failure.
What You Can Do
- Enable confirmed opt-in. With confirmed opt-in, subscribers receive a follow-up text to confirm opt-in (i.e., Reply “Y” to subscribe.) This helps you avoid fake, mistyped, or landline phone numbers and keeps your subscriber list healthy and engaged.
How Postscript Notifies You of Deliverability Issues
We will always keep you in the loop when deliverability issues occur. When our system detects a carrier issue with MMS message delivery, we'll notify you within the Postscript app.
We have two banners, both of which will display at the top of the page.
Our gold banner indicates that our system recently detected issues with telephone carriers delivering MMS messages and we suspect those issues may occur again in the near future.
How Postscript Handles Deliverability Issues
As soon as our system recognizes that carriers are having issues delivering MMS messages, Postscript stops sending MMS messages.
Postscript also takes the following actions:
- Temporarily prevents you from sending or scheduling new MMS campaigns. You can still send SMS campaigns by removing images or GIFs from the campaign.
- Converts keyword replies and replies to MMS messages to SMS messages. Postscript will charge you the normal amount of credits for the SMS message but will not charge you over 3 credits per message. This ensures your message cost is less than or equal to the MMS message.
- Converts current MMS automations and previously scheduled MMS campaigns to SMS messages.
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