Lesson 8

SMS Reporting

Learn the ins and outs of SMS reporting and all the techniques used to track your campaign performance and other messaging activity.
Lesson 8
SMS Reporting

Reporting on SMS campaigns and delivery and is important to ensure effective communication, message value, and keeping your contact database clean. The primary methods of reporting are as follows:

  • Delivery Receipt (DLR)
  • Message Reply
  • Link Tracking
  • Unsubscribes
Sample DLR log file

8.1 Delivery Receipt (DLR)

The primary information that SMS companies report on is called a delivery receipt (DLR). The DLR is a piece of information which contains elements that are used to determine what happens to an SMS message on its journey to the handset. These elements include:

  • To
  • From
  • Date/time submitted to the carrier
  • Date/time message report completed
  • Message status
  • Message error code
  • Message ID

Handset DLR vs Carrier DLR

In order to save money, some SS7 connected SMS companies may not provide a handset delivery receipt. They will only provide a carrier acknowledgement that the message was delivered to the network. This causes problematic reporting as you will not get a true representation of actual delivery time. This can cause issues if you rely on accurately timed reporting. Make sure you ask if your service provides handset delivery receipts if this is important to you.

Although this looks a little complicated, everything is here that we need to report on the message status. Status reports and the timing of these back from the carrier can vary, the most common are as follows:

  • Sent (Delivered to carrier network)
  • Delivered (Delivered to handset)
  • Undelivered (Number active but unavailable)
  • Rejected (Number disconnected)
  • Expired (Max delivery attempts reached)

It is now common practice to add links to text messages. As described in detail in Lesson 8, link tracking is a great way to generate engagement and get a better idea of the quality of your messages through the volume of link hits you receive.


Similar to replies, unsubscribes or opt-outs are a good way to gauge how well a campaign has performed. The fewer opt-outs, the higher value the perceived service is. It is always tempting to make opting out difficult, however, this is rarely a solid tactic. It just serves to frustrate the recipient and projects a bad brand experience on your company. It also is more expensive to send to people that do not want to hear from you.

8.2 Common Reasons for Message Failure

With rejected messages, the most common reason is a disconnected number. On very rare occasions there may be a technical or network error that will return a rejected status, but in almost all cases the number is disconnected.

An undelivered message is one where the message could not be delivered for one of many reasons.

  • Phone out of credit and cannot receive SMS
  • Phone number active but phone switched off or out of range
  • Active pre-paid account but SIM not in the phone
  • Network problems
  • Phone roaming overseas

8.3 Australian Carrier Retry Strategies

Another good way to report on message success is to gauge replies. One of the great things about text messages is that there is the ability to immediately reply to the received message.

If you ask the recipient to reply with a keyword, for example, you can have them receive an autoresponse, add them to a new list, or forward their details to an email.

The volume of replies can then be directly correlated to the effectiveness of the message so are an excellent way to report. Most good online SMS services will show you a report of replies.

Lesson 7
Inbound SMS Messaging
Lesson 9
SMS Market Overview