Bulk SMS Best Practices To Avoid Wireless Carrier Filtering (SPAM)

Why do carriers have content and spam filters
When a subscriber receives an unwanted message they may file a complaint or report the phone number. Wireless carriers protect their customers from what they consider unwanted messages (spam) by blocking certain phone numbers or messages with certain words/phrases, URLs or patterns.

How do wireless carriers filter messages?
There is no standard practice for carrier filtering across all carriers. This can range from a simple static list of prohibited terms while some use advanced systems. Regardless of the method, carriers do not divulge their practices to prevent reverse engineering filtering systems.

How do I reduce the chances of my messages from being filtered?
  • Is it a good user experience?
    First off, use good judgment. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospect, is this a message I will report as spam.
  • Formatting and writing style
    The message format and style is very important. Extremely long messages, too many capitalized words/exclamation marks/dollar signs, mysterious links
  • Personalization
    Use merge fields so a carrier doesn’t detect identical messages sent
  • Volume
    Try and keep your sending volumes lower.  Perhaps break-up your campaigns into smaller chunks.

Examples of Spam Messages

Clubname Fitness is having a 48 hour membership sale!  Join by May 31st and pay NO ENROLLMENT FEE! Save $99 (our regular enrollment fee) when you decide to take the first step to a healthier, more active lifestyle at Location's premier fitness club. Bring your friends! To take advantage of this offer, please reply with the day and time you can come by to start your membership.

The above message was sent to over 5000 People without Personalization.

Suggested Improvements

  • Add a Merge Field.   Hi [person.first_name] would have helped personalize the message.
  • Remove Some of the references to money.  NO ENROLLMENT FEE!   or   Save $99
  • Try a shorter message.  This is 381 Characters
FLASH DEAL- This is the FINAL DAY to get $100 in ClubCash and half off of your enrollment! See what you're missing here: http://bit.ly/xyzlink
Want in? Better hurry- this offer ends TONIGHT! Call (415) 555 1234 or stop in to get started.

Suggested Improvements

  • Add a Merge Field.   Hi [person.first_name] would have helped personalize the message.
  • Remove Some of the references to money.  Get $100 in ClubCash
  • Remove too Many capitalized worlds.   TONIGHT!   FINAL DAY,   FLASH DEAL
  • bit.ly has a bad reputation with the phone carriers.  Try to avoid this URL shortener.
Hello from The Location Club team,
Summer is coming quickly with activities for everyone!    We have a great promotion for joining by May 31st with $0 initiation fee!  Starting June 1st, heading into our peak season, we will have an initiation fee for each category of membership.  Please join by May 31st to have your initiation waived!  Call our membership team to join.   We look forward to hearing from you. Take care.

Suggested Improvements

  • Add a Merge Field.   Hi [person.first_name] would have helped personalize the message.
  • Remove Some of the references to money.  Get $0 initiation fee!
  • Try a shorter message in smaller batch
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