Get relevant information on mobile marketing delivered to your inbox.
Back to blog

Best Practices for Improving SMS Delivery Rates: The Ultimate Guide

Apoorv Bhatnagar Apoorv, Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at CleverTap, drives digital marketing strategies. Expert in SEO, analytics, and channel marketing. Previous roles at Freshworks, excelling in organic SEO, lead generation, and CMS activities.
Best Practices for Improving SMS Delivery Rates: The Ultimate Guide

Did you know, e-commerce brands across the world sent 62.3% more SMS campaigns in 2022 as compared to 2021,with a 10.66% CTR and this surge in SMS campaigns resulted in a 23.8% growth in orders.* Time and again SMS marketing has proven its worth for brands seeking to engage with the consumer directly.  However to measure the success of any SMS campaign it is critical to ensure that these text messages are actually delivered to the users phone. SMS delivery rate is the percentage of SMS that are successfully delivered to the intended recipient. A low SMS delivery rate translates to the user base missing out on valuable updates and exciting offers which can unfavorably impact a brand’s SMS conversion, SMS CTR, and SMS ROI. 

According to a survey* 90% of participants confessed that they check their phones within the first 30 minutes of waking up. Despite the increasing clutter of apps on the mobile screens, most individuals still rely on the default SMS app pre-installed on their phones for texting. As per a report by Gartner, text messages have an open and response rates of 98% and 45%, respectively,” surpassing the figures of 20% and 6% for email messages. This positions text messaging as a highly effective means of reaching the targeted audience. To tap into this audience brands must improve SMS delivery rate and get the optimum worth of SMS marketing campaigns.

Best practices that marketers can follow to improve SMS delivery rates:

Maintain an updated database

The first step towards ensuring a high SMS delivery rate is building a clean and updated database. Remove numbers that are inactive and incorrect, rid the database of users that have opted-out of receiving updates through SMS. This exercise will not only improve the quality of the database but also enhance the overall efficacy of SMS campaigns. 

Respect user privacy

It is obligatory to obtain explicit consent from the users by clearly communicating the purpose of the messages and allowing users to opt-out easily. Respecting user privacy not only builds trust but also reduces the odds of annoying the user and being marked as spam.

Customization is key  

Sending random messages to the user base without taking into consideration demographics, psychographics, past purchases and behavior would be a pointless endeavor. To make the most out of the SMS campaigns brands must tailor the content of the message to make it relevant for the specific segment users for Eg: sending a message using their names and other relevant information that is of value for them. 

Time and frequency optimization 

For maximum effectiveness, carefully consider the timing and frequency of the SMS campaigns. Segment the audience by time zones and avoid sending messages at odd hours that might irritate the users and drive them to opt out of receiving messages.  Try to strike a balance with the frequency of the SMS so that users are overwhelmed by them. 

Read how The World’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content used ‘Best Time’ for 60% uplift in their campaign CTR with CleverTap.

Supercharge your growth with CleverTap’s All-in-one customer engagement platform.

Talk to us

Craft a clear CTA

Whether it’s a promotion, a discount code or an invite, make sure that the SMS is concise and clearly states its purpose along with a strong Call To Action Button that is hard to miss. Avoid using slang and abbreviations and adhere to the character limit. Use A/B testing with a sample group to try-out different copies of the message to find the one that resonates the best with the customer base and leads to maximum conversion.  

Read How Neobank North Loop Doubled Its Engagement Rate With Campaign A/B Testing.

Avoid spammy language 

Spam filters could be triggered by certain words and symbols that might prevent the SMS messages from being delivered. Avoid using words like “free”, “guaranteed”, “urgent”, or “win”, and symbols like “$”, “%”, or “!” excessively. Also, avoid using all capital letters or excessive punctuation, as they may appear as too loud or spamming.


Segmentings the users based on past purchase history or preference, demographics, behavior and other aspects boosts the chances of running SMS campaigns that resonate with them and provides value without annoying them with spammy messages, resulting in high SMS CTR and SMS conversion.  

Read how Beblue Sees 96% Jump in New Active Users with Advanced Segmentation.


Automate SMS campaigns based on pre-defined triggers and schedules. A food app sending deals or promo during lunch hour, or a ticketing platform sending an alert on Thursday about the movies releasing on Friday. Sending timely and contextual SMS messages will drive users towards desired action.

Leverage analytical data

Make the best data driven decisions that are aligned with the goals of the brand by continuously monitoring and analyzing parameters such as delivery rates, rate of conversion, CTR and ROI. Refine SMS campaign strategies depending upon these metrics and current trends to design future campaigns effectively. 

By following these best practices brands can significantly improve the SMS delivery rate and boost the success and profitability of the SMS campaigns. To implement these suggestions effectively CleverTap’s customer engagement and retention platform can provide you with the necessary tools and insights. To learn more about how CleverTap can help with your SMS marketing, request a demo today.

Posted on January 19, 2024