7 min read

How to choose the right SMS provider and evaluate their performance

Header for how to choose the right SMS provider
Share to:

Instant reach. Unmatched engagement possibilities. Easy integration. SMS continues to shine as the tool for implementing your marketing and communications strategy efficiently.  

To work at its best, though, your SMS service provider (or SMS gateway provider) must meet your compliance and security needs. The supplier you choose must be able to support your strategy and make sure you reach your target audience, wherever they are.  

The SMS landscape is packed with providers that offer bulk SMS, transactional, and promotional SMS services. You need to make sure that the supplier you work with can reach all the markets you might consider targeting in the future. 

But don’t worry, we’ve done the work for you. Here are eight things you should consider when choosing the right SMS provider.  

Eight considerations for choosing the right SMS provider 


1. Ease of integration 

If you want your messaging to be a hit, it's crucial to have a bunch of APIs and SDKs at your disposal. They make life easier for developers and businesses by allowing quick and seamless integration.  

The perfect SMS provider should offer developer code that's a breeze to use in various programming languages. You should be able to effortlessly integrate it into your systems and apps. And hey, they might even have some user-friendly web tools that don't require any technical expertise. It's all about making things simple and efficient!


2. Security and compliance   

Security and compliance are absolutely essential for any enterprise. When selecting a supplier, make sure they have multiple data centers in different locations (just in case something goes wrong!) and that they’re PCI and ISO27001 certified. This means they follow the best security practices and have a solid plan to protect your business information.  

Oh, and don't forget about risk, governance, and compliance – those are important too! A good SMS gateway provider should regularly test their systems against hackers and have a backup plan in case of any emergencies. You need someone you can trust with your sensitive data!


3. Delivery performance

When choosing an SMS provider, it's crucial to find one that delivers outstanding performance. Look for a provider with a proven engine, optimized for high delivery rates and low latency. Their expertise ensures exceptional performance for all your messaging campaigns. 

Experience is another key factor to consider. The right SMS supplier will have extensive carrier integrations, maximizing the platform's capacity. By leveraging these integrations, they guarantee efficient message delivery and impressive results every time. 

A Tier 1 Network provider can help you deliver messages to people globally, rapidly, and securely over a single connection. Put simply, they can offer the same connection quality as if you had individual agreements with multiple operators all over the world, saving you time and resources.  

Tier 1 providers:  

  1. Possess deep technical knowledge and strong relationships with operators, delivering a superior service.  

  1. Have direct integration into the operator network, helping you to reduce latency, lower costs, and boost customer satisfaction. 

  1. Get unique insights into message delivery so they can optimize their network for maximum impact.  

  1. Offer enhanced data security and quick issue resolution, so your business has a competitive edge in communications.  

Benefits of choosing an SMS provider with a Tier 1 network


4. The power to scale

You know what's really important? Finding a top-notch communications platform that's designed to be lightning fast and can adapt to your needs, no matter how huge they might be. So, when choosing an SMS provider, make sure they can handle your current requirements and also offer room for your business to expand.

A scalable SMS provider is also important for successful SMS marketing. Look for a partner with a robust SMS infrastructure that can handle large or increasing message volumes as your business grows. This will help you ensure that your SMS campaigns can reach a larger audience without compromising on delivery speed or message quality. 


5. Two-way messaging  

Another thing to think about is whether your supplier can handle incoming messages. Basically, do your customers need to reply to the text messages you send? If they do, then you'll need to use inbound numbers, preferably in each market where you plan to offer your service. It's really important to work with a supplier who can guarantee that messages will be delivered directly to the recipient's phone and that customers can easily respond. This way, you can provide a much better user experience compared to just including a number in the message where they can opt out. 

We should note that this is especially important for sending two-way SMS marketing messages! A knowledgeable provider can also help you explore the possibilities of your text marketing campaigns integrating with your CRM or marketing automation systems, so your team can focus on what really moves the needle – like customer engagement. 

Now, you could text your customers from international numbers, but keep in mind that this might increase the cost for your customers when they reply. The availability and terms for purchasing inbound numbers can vary among different suppliers and locations, so it's crucial to check with the suppliers you're considering and find out their prices and how long it takes to set up in each market you're interested in.


6. Sender ID availability    

A Sender ID basically shows the sender's information to the recipient of the message. To build a strong and recognizable brand, it's crucial to ensure that your marketing efforts align with your brand identity. This applies to SMS too and can even influence your choice of supplier. When it comes to SMS, one of the key considerations is the type of Sender ID that’s supported. There are different options available, including: 

  • National numeric: This is a regular phone number in a national format. It's like using your everyday phone number. 

  • International numeric: This is a phone number in an international format, such as including the country code like +1678555555. You can even rent a long number for this purpose. 

  • Short code: A short code is a unique number associated specifically with your company, like 92250. It's a shorter and more memorable option. 

  • Alphanumeric: This is a text string that represents your company's name, like ACME Ltd. It's a way to display your brand name as the sender. 

Experience shows that one of the best things you can do to increase trust and open rates is to use a Sender ID – plus, the user experience is better when sensitive messages or notifications come from a number they know and recognize. 


7. Reporting and analytics 

The level of reporting you get from different suppliers can vary a lot. It's important to have detailed reports to understand how your services are performing. For example, some suppliers can provide delivery receipts to show if a message was delivered to individual recipients. Having good statistics on messages sent and delivered is also useful for monitoring total traffic and comparing the impact of different campaigns.  

It's not just about the information available, but also how quickly you can access it. Real-time tracking of message delivery can be extremely valuable for important business communications. So, when choosing an SMS supplier, make sure their reporting capabilities meet your needs.


8. Their global expertise 

When choosing the right SMS provider, make sure that they offer global connectivity with in-depth country knowledge to make sure it’s as easy as possible for you to communicate with the world, and maximize your effectiveness while doing so!  

Sending SMS messages may seem easy, but knowing when to send them, to whom, and at what time can be difficult. That's why a knowledgeable provider is essential to avoid costly mistakes. Additionally, while the SMS industry offers specialized providers, it’s important to select one that can cover where you do business now and in the future. This means selecting a supplier that can support your business as you grow.

Eight tips for choosing the right SMS provider


How to evaluate your SMS provider’s performance

Now that you’ve chosen your SMS provider, how can you evaluate their performance? Here are three important things to consider. 


Analyze the SMS provider’s delivery rates

Focus on delivery rate, speed, conversion rates, open rates, and other critical KPIs, especially if you’re using two-way messaging for customer engagement. Look for a provider with proven messaging services that are optimized for high delivery rates and low latency.


Is the API easy to use and integrate?  

The SMS API needs to work seamlessly on all platforms and apps so that you can easily manage your messages from one central place. This will make communication much clearer, faster, and more consistent overall.


What is the time-to-market? 

As the market and your business needs change, you may need to adapt your services. This makes it even more important to work with an SMS gateway provider that can set up numbers quickly in response to your needs. 

This is especially important for inbound numbers in heavily regulated markets. Talk to your supplier about the time they take up to set a new number and the support they can offer, and choose one that helps you stay prepared, relevant, and ready to adapt along the way!

Checklist of requirements for choosing the right SMS provider

Finding the right SMS provider for your business

Finding the right SMS provider for your business boils down to you carefully evaluating the provider’s delivery rates, integration functionality, pricing, scalability, and reliability. The right provider with a proven track record of delivering messages globally, rapidly, and securely can become a valuable partner to enhance your brand’s reach and engagement.  

For a more in-depth look at everything you need to consider when choosing the best SMS supplier for you and your business, check out The Product Manager’s Guide to SMS.  

If you need more expert advice, contact us to speak with one of our experts about all things SMS messaging, or check out our SMS pricing to take your communications to the next level.