All text (SMS) messages in the US are run through “spam” filters on the carrier side. While in Higher Education we know we are not spamming our students, our messages are still run through the same filtering as those of private companies and marketing campaigns. 

While there is nothing we can do on the Ocelot end to stop filtering from happening, we do want to arm you with some best practices to give you the best chance for all your messages to reach their intended recipients. Keep in mind that, like spam filtering for email, the exact details of how carriers do their filtering are left vague so that people cannot game the system. With that said, these are our recommendations based on everything we know from the carriers:


  • Avoid the use of public link shorteners. The most commonly used are and TinyURL. United States carrier policies expressly forbid the use of shared public URL shorteners. It's best to include the full link and you should have plenty of room to do this considering our Campaigns have a text limit of 1,600 characters.

  • Include opt-out language. The language must include a widely accepted keyword for opt-out like STOP. If you are contacting the same recipients (from the same phone number) multiple times per month, you do not need to provide opt-out instructions in every message, but you must do it at least once per month. 

  • Identify who is sending the message. This is a best practice for both spam filtering and general communication. 

Additional Considerations:

  • Only use caps lock when necessary (e.g., FAFSA). Some spam filters will filter out messages that include excessive capitalization.

  • Use emojis sparingly.

  • Limit the number of phone numbers included in your text message. If you would like your contacts to call a number for additional help, this is fine; however, do not include an excessive amount of phone numbers in the body of your text message.

  • Text is not email. There is no need to include your name at the end of your text messages. This is an easy red flag that you are simply trying to recreate an email.