Dear ThruText Clients,
With the election less than a month away, we wanted to share some important recommendations for ensuring your text messages reach their intended recipients.
Background on Deliverability
Deliverability has been a core focus for ThruText from day one. By encouraging best practices from our clients and following them ourselves, our deliverability has always been best-in-class, well over 90%.
Whether a message gets delivered is ultimately up to the cell phone carriers like Verizon, At&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
Deliverability has nothing to do with whether P2P text messages sent via ThruText are consistent with FCC guidelines (they are). The carriers control what traffic goes over their networks, and their leeway has increased significantly with the reclassification of text messages as an “information service” as opposed to a “telecommunications service.”
In July 2019, the cell phone carriers, via the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), announced new guidelines for how they would handle political text messaging sent via long codes (aka 10 digit numbers). We have closely monitored deliverability since that announcement and have seen no change.
Recently, some carriers have announced plans to enforce these guidelines more aggressively in the final 30 days of the election. You can read more about that from one of our SMS partners here.
While we don’t know whether or how much carriers will change their treatment of your messages, we do know that one important factor is complaints from their clients about unwanted messaging. The fewer complaints to the carriers, the less chance your messages will be filtered.
- Honor Opt Out Requests: The single most important thing you can do is to make sure to honor opt out requests. When a recipient asks to be removed from your list and you do not opt them out, it significantly increases the likelihood that they will file a complaint. Failure to honor opt outs is also a violation of our terms of service and could result in your account being suspended. Some additional notes on opt-outs:
- Any response that sounds like a recipient wants to be off your list should be processed as an opt out.
- If you are running a large program, it’s essential that you have “ sweepers ” review campaigns in the conversations panel of the admin to make sure all opt out requests have been honored.
- We encourage you to have a zero tolerance for texters who do not process opt outs. Texters who skip this step are putting your entire texting program at risk.
- Don't Over Text: Another practice that is likely to lead to complaints is over-texting. We do not have any hard evidence about how much is too much. But here are some basic rules to consider:
- Leave at least 3 days in between texting someone.
- Don’t text the same person more than 3 times with the same ask.
- Manage your lists: We know that at the end of the election cycle there is a tendency to text people who are less likely to be your supporters. Those people are also much more likely to complain about an unwanted text. Since those complaints could jeopardize your entire program, you should think hard about how many people with low support scores you want to text.
- Avoid Links: Avoiding links in initial messages has long been one of our core recommendations , and it is even more important given the recent carrier announcements. Links in your initial message significantly increase the likelihood that they will be filtered by carriers, especially if that link is from a known link-shortening service like Bit.ly.
- Provide Opt Out Instructions: Our final recommendation is to consider adding language at the end of your initial message letting recipients know that they can opt out. Carriers have explicitly said they want to see language like this at the end of every P2P text message. If you do not add this language, it could result in more of your messages being filtered. Possible phrases could include:
- If you don’t want more texts, let us know
- Not interested? Just say so :)
- Reply STOP to unsubscribe
We have been carefully tracking deliverability since the most recent carrier announcement. While it is extremely difficult to identify trends over short periods of time, we have seen some increase in messages being filtered by carriers.
If you have strategy questions or would like to discuss deliverability best practices with a member of our team you can book a time here . If you believe that your messages may be experiencing deliverability problems, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can investigate. The best clue of deliverability issues are large shifts in reply rates. If you see reply rate changes of greater than 50% among similar campaigns, please let us know.
Thank you for trusting us with your important P2P text messages. We are dedicated to working with our SMS partners and clients to maintain our best-in-class deliverability rates during this critical time, and we will continue to provide updates and recommendations as appropriate.
-The GetThru Team