Twilio's latest API, the Twilio Message Feedback API, aims to improve its delivery of services by collecting feedback data from its end-users. In an era when end users' skepticism regarding private data collection continues to grow, we must ask what data will Twilio collect, why is Twilio collecting it, and how will the data be used. Appropriately, Twilio got in front of these questions at the API launch and opened its blog post announcement with an annoying problem to our mobile poplulation:
"There's nothing worse than a delayed text message," Twilio's Justin Pirie proclaimed in the the blog announcement. "Whether it's a notification that your car arrived, a two-factor-authentication code or a response to a chat, it needs to arrive on time....Twilio [has announced] a new Twilio Message Feedback API that enables you to programmatically report back to Twilio critical deliverability information."
Through the API, Twilio collects action-specific data that indicates a message was received by the end user. Such actions include the entering of a two-factor authentication code, clicking on a unique link, submitting a temporary password, replying to a message with a call or SMS, and others. Such actions confirm that a user has received the message, which Twilio can then track after the data is pushed back to Twilio through the API. The reporting of data back to Twilio leads us to the second question.
Through the collection of such data, Twilio can identify network problems and improve delivery times. Now that Twilio has sent billions of text messages across the globe, the company has come to learn that delivery rates vary by a number of factors (e.g. geography, mobile operator, use case, content, etc.). While Twilio has long collected data from carrier partners and large customers, direct feedback from its individual end users will give Twilio an unprecedented level of insight into the quality and timeliness of its service delivery.
Finally, Twilio can use the collected data to monitor service levels and adjust accordingly. Because of the disparate factors that impact Twilio's service across use cases and geographies, Twilio readily admits there is no "one-size-fits-all operation" for getting messages delivered between two users. The data collected from the Message Feedback API will allow Twilio to detect issues and swiftly react to changes within its own systems and network changes throughout the world.
Per Twilio's usual approach, the Message Feedback API sits as a standalone API that users can take advantage of in parallel with third party services, or as part of Twilio's entire communications platform. Reporting feedback data to Twilio through the API is a simple, three step process. For complete details, check out the API docs.