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Increasing Deliverability of SMS Messages in Conversations
Increasing Deliverability of SMS Messages in Conversations

Wireless Carriers filter sms content for "SPAM" in ways similar to email providers.

Eric Range avatar
Written by Eric Range
Updated over a week ago


Are you experiencing issues with undelivered SMS messages showing up in the activity feed? The content of your message may be triggering the wireless carrier's junk message filters.

This article will provide best practices and dos/don'ts for sending SMS messages to avoid being filtered out by spam filters.

Sharing Links or URLs

While carriers generally don't share how to "beat" their filtering rules, based on recent testing and research, it appears carriers are blocking the delivery of most messages that contain both text and URLs (web addresses) in the same message. However, It is still possible if you want to share links or a website.

  • The best chance of delivery is to separate the text content of your message from each URL you want to share. Sending them as stand-alone messages increases deliverability rates considerably (when separated, our testing showed 100% deliverability). See the example below broken into two separate text messages.

  • Include the entire URL in your message, including the protocol (http:// or https://)

  • Do not use link shorteners like

Here's an example: 

  • Message 1: “It's Eric, your admissions counselor at Element University.  I hope to see you at one of our upcoming admitted student events. Remember, I’m here to answer any questions you might have.”

Sharing Email Addresses

SMS messages that contain an email address ("Hi. I'm Eric, your admissions counselor at Fire University. If you have questions, text me back or email") were delivered during our most recent testing.

However, Element451's recommended best practice is to avoid including an email address in your SMS as it may be read as a link by the carrier. You can always send it in a standalone message, as noted above. This holds especially true for the first message of a conversation. This will maximize the delivery of the very important first touchpoint in a conversation. 

Device Level Filtering (Blocking)

Remember, even if the carrier allows your message to be delivered, it is possible that the recipient has some form of device-level filtering enabled (they have blocked your number). This would make your message undeliverable.

Since device-level filtering is an affirmative setting, most users don't have device-level filtering enabled. If they do, a user may have blocked receiving text messages specifically from the number associated with your Conversations451 module or from all numbers not in their contacts list. 

One way to reduce the impact of device-level filtering is to get your prospective students to add your Element451 phone number to their contacts by sharing it via email or other communication channels. 

SMS Character Limits for Conversations

Element451 can send SMS messages of up to 1600 characters via the Conversations module. That said, brevity is best when using the SMS channel.

  • Messages over 160 characters will prompt you with a warning; however, those messages can still be sent.

  • Messages over 320 characters may see reduced deliverability by carriers.

  • Messages over 1600 characters will be rejected.

📙 Note: The character limits above apply to SMS messages sent via Conversations. As bulk messaging rules are more strict, SMS messages sent via Campaigns are limited to 918 characters.

Other Best Practices

  • Keep it friendly. Text messaging is a great way to connect with your prospective students. While you should always remain professional, it is not as formal as an email or a letter.

  • Keep it short and sweet.

  • Keep messages sent via Conversations relevant to the student. For instance, You may want to increase engagement with a particular admitted student. You could start an SMS conversation by offering to answer any questions about their offer of admission and invite them to an upcoming admitted student event. This is the personal touch that will stand out to the student and their family.  Save the general institutional promotion and marketing lingo to Campaigns and other communication channels. 

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