Text Delivery Statuses Explained

Profile Headshot of Kunal Suryawanshi
Kunal Suryawanshi

mins read

April 8, 2024

Text Delivery Statuses

Key Takeaways

  1. While using SMS campaigns, it is necessary to monitor SMS dashboards and text delivery statuses
  2. Delivered, sent, failed, rejected, blocked number, NDNC are some of the types of text delivery statuses
  3. Network issues, grey routes, wrong phone numbers, spam restrictions are some of the factors affecting text delivery statuses
  4. The delivery benchmarks should always be considered while analysing the data of text delivery statuses
  5. You can access and analyse these text delivery statuses and reports using SMS providers like Message Central

SMS marketing was used by 86% of businesses in 2023. This was more than 50% increase from 2022. The statistics show an indicative upward trend for 2024 as well.  

Thus, there is a necessity to familiarize with SMS dashboards, delivery reports and delivery statuses.  

Understanding what each status means—such as 'Delivered' confirming the message's arrival and 'Failed' indicating non-delivery—is essential for anyone relying on SMS messages or text blasts for personal or professional communication. This gives you a chance to enhance your messaging strategy, ensuring that your text messages are effectively reaching their intended recipients.  

This knowledge not only optimizes your text message delivery process but also clarifies the often-confusing '# meaning in text', making every sent message count.

Understanding SMS Delivery Statuses

Infographic Explaining the SMS Delivery Statuses by Message Central.
  1. Delivered: The SMS was successfully sent and received by the recipient's device.
  2. Sent: The SMS has left your device but delivery to the recipient's device has not been confirmed.
  3. Failed: The SMS could not be delivered to the recipient's device.
  4. Rejected: The SMS was not accepted by the recipient's mobile operator for various reasons, such as DND settings.
  5. Blocked Number: SMS will not be delivered if the recipient's number is blacklisted.
  6. NDNC: SMS sent to numbers on the 'Do Not Call' registry will show as NDNC, especially under promotional routes.

Factors Affecting SMS Delivery Rates:

  1. Incorrect phone numbers or carrier spam restrictions can lead to SMS not being delivered.
  2. Network issues, inbox limitations, or using grey routes for sending SMS can also affect delivery rates.

Benchmarks for SMS Delivery Rates:

  1. Excellent: Above 90%
  2. Good: 70% to 90%
  3. Average: 50% to 70%
  4. Below Average: 30% to 50%
  5. Poor: Below 30%

Understanding these statuses and factors can help you troubleshoot delivery issues and improve your SMS delivery rates, ensuring your messages are effectively reaching your audience. This further improves efficacy of SMS campaigns.

How to Access and Interpret SMS Delivery Reports

Accessing and interpreting SMS delivery reports is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance your understanding of how your messages are being received. Here’s how you can navigate this essential feature:

Accessing SMS Delivery Reports:

  1. Through Your Account: Log into your messaging service provider's account to view the last 1000 messages along with their delivery outcomes. Message Central is an SMS API provider which gives a comprehensive report on all your SMS campaigns. You can get in touch with the team with your use case.  
  2. Export Custom Reports: For a deeper analysis, export custom delivery reports based on specific date ranges or other criteria.
  3. Webhook Integration: Automate the process by sending delivery reports to a webhook for real-time analysis and action.

Interpreting Delivery Reports:

Delivery reports provide a wealth of information, including:

  1. Recipient's Phone Number: Who the message was intended for.
  2. Sender ID: Your identification, whether a shortcode or long-code number.
  3. Message ID: A unique identifier for each text message.
  5. Timestamps: When each message was sent, processed, and its delivery status.

Understanding Delivery Icons on Android

Once enabled in your messaging app settings, look for:

  1. Gray or Empty Icon: Message sent but not delivered.
  2. Blue or Filled Icon: Message delivered but not read.
  3. Double Check Mark or Tick: Message read by recipient.
  4. Red or Crossed Icon: Message failed to send or deliver.

By closely monitoring these reports and understanding the various statuses and icons, you can optimize your messaging strategies, ensuring higher delivery rates and effective communication with your audience.

Improving SMS Delivery Rates

Improving your SMS delivery rates is essential for ensuring your messages reach their intended recipients, enhancing communication effectiveness. Here are strategic steps to elevate your delivery success:

  1. Select the Right Phone Number Type: Use long codes for personalized, two-way messaging, opt for short codes for high-volume, bulk SMS blasts.
  2. Content Optimization: Personalize messages with recipient names, keep SMS texts concise, regularly clean your contact lists and use double opt-in to avoid spam filters and craft clear calls-to-action (CTAs) and tailor content to avoid using common spam words.

Technical and Operational Best Practices

  1. Choose a reputable SMS delivery service like Message Central to navigate through spam filters and adhere to industry regulations.
  2. Register for 10DLC to ensure compliance with carrier requirements.
  3. Quality control your phone lists and include opt-out instructions to respect user privacy.
  4. Optimize timing and frequency of your messages to avoid overwhelming your recipients.
  5. Monitor delivery rates closely, aiming for a ballpark of about 98% delivery rate. This involves analyzing SMS delivery reports to identify if messages are being delivered but not opened and validating all numbers in your contact list for accuracy.

By implementing these strategies, you can significantly improve your SMS delivery rates, ensuring your messages are effectively reaching your audience.


By understanding the meanings behind statuses such as 'Delivered,' 'Sent,' 'Failed,' and 'Rejected,' and by adopting best practices for SMS marketing and technical operations, stakeholders can enhance the efficiency and reliability of their messaging campaigns. This focused understanding allows for the careful planning and execution required to navigate the complexities of digital communication successfully.

To start using SMS APIs, you can get in touch with the team at Message Central.  


Q1: How can I confirm that my text message was successfully delivered?

To verify if your text message has been delivered, you need to enable Delivery Receipts on your phone. This feature does not indicate whether the message has been read, only that it reached the recipient's device. On most modern phones, you can activate this feature by going to the Messages app, then selecting Settings > Advanced > Get SMS delivery reports.

Q2: Is there a way to know if a text message sent as an SMS (green text) has been delivered?

Green text messages are sent via SMS and do not typically provide a delivery status. They are used when there's no internet connection available or when messaging an Android user from an iPhone. Unlike iMessages, SMS texts, which appear green, do not indicate a "delivered" status.

Q3: What's the distinction between a text message being 'sent' and 'delivered'?

A text message status of 'SENT' indicates that the message has been processed by the cellular network and is on its way to the recipient. A status of 'DELIVERED' confirms that the message has arrived on the recipient's mobile phone.

Q4: What does it mean when a text message is marked as delivered but hasn't been read?

When a text message status shows 'Delivered,' it means the message has been received by the recipient's device, but it does not confirm that the recipient has read it. If there is no 'delivered' status, the message may still be in transit or has not yet arrived, possibly due to the recipient's phone being switched off or out of service range.

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