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    | 6 min read

    Why aren't my messages delivering?

    With instant communication at our fingertips every day, we've gotten pretty used to being able to contact those we need to quickly. Because of this, it can be highly frustrating to send out a message and discover that it wasn't delivered. It's even more frustrating if you can't find out why it wasn't delivered.

    If you're a business sending messages to customers, deliverability issues may be frustrating, but they could also be detrimental to your business. Patients could miss appointments, customers could miss deliveries, and parents could miss important text messages from their child's school.

    Let's explore some critical reasons your messages may go undelivered and get to the root of the issue.

    Reasons Your Message May Not Deliver

    The Number is Invalid

    The most common reason text messages are not delivered properly is if the phone number is invalid. This reason makes sense as there’s no way for the message to reach the right person. Usually, your phone carrier will alert you of an invalid number unless you have typed in the wrong number. If this is the case, the incorrect individual may receive the message.

    A common reason for invalid numbers is that an international code has not been used correctly. Failing to use the correct international code can result in the message failing to deliver to the number.

    Another possibility for why a text message isn't delivered could be that the number in question is a landline. You cannot send an SMS message to a landline. If you're sending messages through our platform, we will automatically detect landlines for you.

    The Message Was Flagged As Spam

    In rare cases, it is possible that your message was flagged as spam by the phone carrier of the recipient. This is similar to how emails end up in a spam folder. The difference is that a recipient can’t access their spam folder for text messages. These messages are filtered out. 

    All carriers have their guidelines and reasons why a message might be filtered. For instance, it’s possible that your text message included a link that looked suspicious. Text messages written in all caps tend to be filtered out, as do too long messages. If you send messages that are more like essays, there's a chance that this practice will get your messages blocked by the carriers. In addition, if you send too many messages to the same recipient at once or call a recipient repeatedly, your message may be blocked.

    The Recipient Opted-Out 

    If you are using a platform to send SMS messages to individuals, then recipients will have the option to opt-out. They can usually do this by texting ‘stop’ back. If they do this, you won’t be able to send them any more messages unless they opt back in. They can usually do this by texting ‘start.’ However, the process for opting in and out can be different depending on the platform used. 

    With Text-Em-All, our system automatically detects inbound messages which clearly show an intent to opt out. Will will opt these contacts out for you to save you time and ensure you communicate with an engaged audience.

    Some examples of messages that would automatically opt-out your contacts include:

    • "Please remove me from your list."
    • "This is the wrong number."
    • "Please do not text this number."
    • "How do I opt-out?"

    The Contact Blocked Your Number

    Similarly, a recipient's device won’t receive SMS messages from you if they have chosen to block your number. A sign of a blocked number will usually be if you don’t receive a delivered or read notification when sending a message. There is no way around a blocked number unless the recipient decides to unblock you. 

    As a best practice, always make sure that you only message phone numbers designated to receive your text messages.

    Billing Trouble 

    A more simple explanation for an undelivered message could be a billing issue. This can be a problem on the side of the recipient. While this is quite rare, you may find that you've texted someone on a pre-paid plan. If they have an outstanding balance, some carriers will decide to block these accounts from receiving any messages until the balance has been paid.

    Routing Issues 

    Routing can be another reason why a message fails to deliver. Usually, SMS messages are sent directly to a specific phone number. However, this isn’t always the case. The SMS message may be sent to a network provider that won’t allow the message to be delivered. If there is no automatic rerouting, the message can fail to deliver. This is one of the more common reasons why recipients do not receive messages that have been sent out. 

    Problems With The Carrier Network

    There may be a problem with the recipient’s mobile carrier network. Technical issues with cellular like this can be enough to stop a message from getting through. Though, a delivery issue is usually temporary if this is the problem. 

    The Recipient May Be Out of Network

    If the recipient is in a place with no connection or another country, they may not have any cellular data or internet connection. This will prevent them from receiving your text messages.

    Illegal or Illicit Content 

    The receiving carrier will block any messages with illegal content. In the USA, SMS messages are monitored by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. When sending messages to a community or people connected to your organization, you need to ensure that they comply with the laws in the jurisdiction where the recipient is located. If you don’t, then your message may fail to deliver. 

    Understanding Potential Text Delivery Issues

    While it's rare, there are instances when a message you sent from a mass messaging platform, such as Text-Em-All, may not be delivered. Text-Em-All sends your text message to your contacts' phone carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile), and they then have the responsibility to deliver it to your contacts' phone.

    Common reasons text messages are not received

    Carrier Filtering

    • Mobile carriers have filters in place for automated text messages to prevent spam messages. Here are a few filters that can have your text messages blocked:
      • Sending the same exact text broadcast repeatedly (changing your wording slightly shows the carriers that you are not sending out SPAM).
      • Using all caps, special characters, and excessive punctuation (THANKS, ASAP, @, %, !!!, ???).
      • Including an email address in the text.
      • Using too many numbers or dates or listing a phone number in the text that is different from the number that sent the message.
      • Use of links.

    Invalid Numbers

    • The numbers you are contacting may not be working numbers. You can see which numbers are Invalid from your Broadcast Details results page. 

    Delivery Issues

    • Mobile devices are constantly updating for improvement and depending on where the mobile device is. The amount of coverage it can obtain, text messages can have issues being delivered:
      • Devices could be roaming or in and out of range.
      • The device could be performing an update.
      • Carriers could be experiencing an outage in a specific area.
      • Carriers can experience a delay in delivery, so the message shows up later than when it was initially sent. 

    Message Arrived Out Of Order or Incomplete 

    • If your text message is longer than 160 characters, it may arrive at your contact's mobile device incomplete or jumbled into different segments. Unfortunately, this issue occurs on a third-party carrier level and is out of Text-Em-All's control. 

    If you are receiving reports of anyone in your audience not receiving your text, please let us know! Our Customer Experience team is happy to help research further and can be reached at 877-226-3080 or


    It’s clear then that there are countless reasons why text messages may not reach a recipient's phone. If you need to keep a group of information informed through text, the best option is to use Text-Em-All service. Our solution can ensure that people that need information through text receive it. We help schools, non-profits, businesses, churches, and more get the word out, helping their communities stay connected. 

    Using our service, it’s possible to detect mobile numbers and automatically leave voicemails where necessary. We can help you significantly reduce the issues you may be having with your deliverability rates.  

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    Kaitlyn Orred

    Kaitlyn Orred is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Text-Em-All, a mass texting and automated calling company that provides solutions for small and medium sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. She has 7 years of experience in content creation, and you can catch her practicing yoga, curling up with a great book, or hiking with her Mini Aussie, Koda.

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