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10 Reasons Why Your Message Wasn’t Delivered

George Perry George Perry
George Perry
10 Reasons Why Your Message Wasn't Delivered

It’s easy to take for granted that your text messages are delivered. But there’s plenty of reasons why a message sent isn’t a message delivered, and it’s important to understand any message deliverability issues—you pay for every message sent, not just those that are delivered. 

Don’t believe me? Here’s 10 reasons why your message didn’t get delivered.

1. You used the wrong type of phone number

There are two types of messaging—A2P (application-to-person) and P2P (person-to-person). In most cases, if you’re a business sending messages to your customers, you’re likely engaged in A2P messaging, which means you have to use the right type of number. These can include toll-free, short codes, and certain local numbers approved for high-volume messaging (known as 10DLC or 10 digit long code).

Using the wrong number, like say an unsanctioned local number to send hundreds or thousands of messages, will get your messages blocked by the carriers.

2. Your message was flagged as SPAM by the carrier

This is not to say that your message actually was SPAM. However, something in your message, or the way it was sent, raised a flag at a carrier and it was marked as SPAM and blocked. While the carriers mostly align on their guidelines for sending and receiving text messages (SMS and MMS), each carrier has their own guidelines for what they consider SPAM.

Knowing those guidelines ahead of time helps to avoid getting your message blocked as SPAM.

3. The receiver opted out of messages

The CTIA best practices give clear guidelines on what businesses must do to ensure users can opt out of messages easily. Sending messages to users that have opted out will result in those messages not being delivered.

Sending a link in your text messages raises a red flag. While there are ways to do it (more on that below), trying to include a link, even one as amazing and informative as, can get your message blocked. If you need to include links, be sure to do it the right way.

5. The volume of messages being sent (too many messages!)

There are guidelines around how many messages you can send depending on the number you’re using. Phone numbers designated for P2P traffic (typically your local phone numbers) are generally only allowed to send 1 message per second (mps). There should also be a fairly even one-to-one balance of sending and receiving.

Getting outside of these parameters by sending too many messages or having the messages be one-sided can result in your texts being blocked.

Are your messages at risk of getting blocked

6. The message was sent to a number that couldn’t receive it

Landlines can’t receive texts. It’s true. Despite all our advances in technology, your home phone is still limited to sending and receiving voice calls. Sending a text to that number will result in it not being delivered.

7. The carrier couldn’t deliver the message/network problems

Sometimes the carrier just can’t get the message all the way there. There could be a problem with the network, congestion, or some other issue with the receiver that just makes them unable to complete the delivery.

8. The message contained a risky shortened URL

I mentioned including links as a way to get your message blocked above (it was #4 on our list). You can, however, include a link if you use a link shortener. But, you have to use the right kind. Using shorteners like or can get your message blocked as well as those shorteners are often associated with SPAM and illicit content.

9. The message contained illicit content

Sending texts with illicit content, such as adult content, references to drugs, or anything referring to criminal activity, can get your messages blocked.

10. The receiver has complained about this message type to the carrier

You might be following all the rules and somebody just complained about your message. Maybe they don’t remember signing up to receive texts. Maybe they just decided they don’t want them anymore but don’t know how to opt out. Whatever the case may be, if the carriers receive complaints about your texts, they may stop delivering them.

BONUS Secret Reason: Are you really sure it wasn’t delivered? 

One of the most common error codes we see here at Bandwidth is a simple time-out. Essentially, it’s just a fancy way of saying your recipient probably has their phone turned off. Maybe they’re on a plane somewhere over Springfield, MO or maybe they forgot their charger at home and their phone died (#beenthere). Regardless, it doesn’t mean that your message didn’t necessarily get delivered—it only means your message didn’t get delivered within the first few minutes after it was sent. 

Want to know if your messages are getting delivered? Give us a chat to see how you can improve your message deliverability, including how to measure your ROI and know which messages are (and aren’t) getting delivered.

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Want to know if your messages are getting delivered? Give us a chat to see how you can improve your message deliverability, including how to measure your ROI and know which messages are (and aren’t) getting delivered.

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