How to bulk unsubscribe SMS contacts in Klaviyo

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You will learn

Learn how to unsubscribe SMS profiles in bulk using a list upload. This may be useful if you want to clean your SMS list or ensure profiles that unsubscribed on a different platform are still unsubscribed from SMS in Klaviyo. 

Want to only remove consent for a couple of profiles? Find out how to unsubscribe a single profile from SMS

Unsubscribing vs. deleting SMS profiles 

It is better to unsubscribe a profile than delete them. When you unsubscribe someone, you won't be able to message them via text, but you can continue to market through other channels (e.g., email or social media) and learn about the individual over time. On the other hand, deleting someone removes them entirely from Klaviyo.

Bulk unsubscribe SMS contacts in Klaviyo

Before a profile can be unsubscribed, it must exist in Klaviyo. If the profile is not already in Klaviyo, upload it first and do not apply SMS consent.

If you want to bulk unsubscribe a group of contacts from SMS: 

  1. Create a new CSV file for the SMS contacts you want to unsubscribe
  2. Make the CSV’s first column Phone Numbers, and fill in the phone numbers you’d like to unsubscribe using one of Klaviyo’s accepted phone number formats
  3. Include the country for each phone number using one of the following options: 
    • Include a second column labeled Country and add in the country name/abbreviation 
    • Include a country code (e.g., 1 for U.S.) at the beginning of every phone number
      A properly formatted spreadsheet ready to be uploaded
  4. In Klaviyo, open the dropdown under your account name 
  5. Click Account > Settings > SMS
  6. Scroll to the Import SMS Unsubscribes section 
  7. Click Browse Files and upload your CSV file of SMS contacts to unsubscribe 
    In Klaviyo's SMS settings page, a cursor hovers over the Browse Files button
  8. Click Unsubscribe Phone Numbers
  9. Confirm your selection in the modal that appears 

Depending on your file size, it may take a few minutes or more for the upload to complete. Once it’s complete, you’ll see a success message under Status in the table beneath the Import SMS Unsubscribes section. You can confirm the success of the upload by navigating to a profile from your file and noting the red X next to their phone number in the Channels section. 

In Klaviyo, a profile's SMS consent is marked with a red X to show they are unsubscribed

Understanding bulk unsubscribes and SMS 

Uploading a list of numbers to unsubscribe will only impact profiles that already exist in your account. 

If you upload a phone number that doesn’t exist in a Klaviyo profile, no action will occur. 

If you upload a profile through the bulk unsubscribe tool that does include a phone number but doesn’t have SMS consent, the profile will be marked as unsubscribed from SMS. In this case, they would need to opt in again (e.g., through a form or list upload with SMS consent) in order to be resubscribed.

If you are importing data from another SMS platform, it’s important to create profiles for your previously unsubscribed phone numbers before bulk unsubscribing. To do so:

  1. Create a new list in Klaviyo called “Former SMS Subscribers”
  2. Upload your list of unsubscribed phone numbers to this list, making sure not to add SMS consent 
  3. Follow the instructions above to bulk unsubscribe the same list

When you unsubscribe a group of people from receiving SMS, their profiles will remain intact in your account. They will be considered "inactive," and you will not be able to send them SMS messages. Inactive profiles do not count toward your Klaviyo SMS plan's profile limit. 

Removing SMS consent will not affect email. For instance, if someone is consented to both email and SMS, the person will still be subscribed to email after you bulk remove their SMS consent. 

Troubleshooting list upload errors 

If your CSV file isn’t successfully uploaded, you’ll see an error message noting the problem. Learn how to resolve common upload errors

Phone number field required 

If you see an error stating that “Phone Numbers is a required field,” review your CSV file to ensure the first column is labeled Phone Numbers and contains a list of phone numbers. 

A number of records were skipped 

If Klaviyo wasn’t able to process one or more records from your file, you can use the Download Skipped Records button to see which records were skipped, and why. Common skip reasons include: 

  • Missing phone numbers 
  • Improperly formatted phone numbers
  • Improperly formatted country codes, which should follow the three-letter ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 format
  • Phone numbers for a region where SMS is not yet enabled for this account 

Remedy the file errors following the instructions in the Explanation column, then re-upload. 

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