A2P messaging

Table of Contents

What is A2P messaging?

A2P messaging stands for application-to-person messaging. This type of messaging is used by businesses to communicate with their customers. It is also called Business SMS or enterprise SMS. A2P messaging can be automated. Group texts and Mass texts can be sent through A2P messaging.
This type of messaging was introduced to protect consumers from unwanted messages.

How does A2P differ from its counterpart P2P messaging

P2P messaging stands for person-to-person messaging or peer-to-peer messaging. This type of message is sent between two people. Think of the messages that you send to your family and friends. This is P2P messaging. P2P messaging cannot be automated. 


P2P messaging sent between two people generally follows a pattern. This pattern can be assessed by looking at certain attributes of P2P messaging. The attributes of P2P messaging are: 

Attribute 

Comment

Throughput

15 to 60 messages per minute, as a consumer is typically not able to originate or receive more than about one message per second.

Volume

1,000 per day Only in unusual cases do Consumers send or receive more than a few hundred messages in a day. A Consumer also cannot typically send or receive messages continuously over a long period of time.

Unique Sender

1 telephone number assigned to or utilized by a single Consumer A single Consumer typically originates messages from a single telephone number

Unique Recipients 

100 distinct recipients/telephone numbers per message A Consumer typically sends messages to a limited number of recipients (e.g., 10 unique recipients)

Balance

1:1 ratio of outgoing to incoming messages per telephone number with some latitude in either direction Consumer messages are typically conversational. An incoming message typically generates a response from the recipient.

Repetition

25 Repetitive Messages. Consumer messages are uniquely originated or chosen at the direction of the Consumer to unique recipients. Typical Consumer behavior is not to send essentially or substantially repetitive messages. 

 

Any behaviors outlying the above-mentioned attributes would be becoming of A2P messaging.

It’s important to note that if as a business you have not enabled A2P messaging and continue to text with your customers through A2P messaging, the mobile carrier providers can filter or block your messages. 

What are some of the benefits of using A2P text messaging?

Let’s look at the benefits of A2P messaging.: 

1. Send High volume messages

As discussed in the section above A2P messaging allows businesses to send mass texts. This means you can send easily send upwards of 1000 texts at a time if A2P messaging is enabled. This will help you get in touch with many customers at a time.

2. Improves customer engagement

Texting has an open rate of 98% and hence is highly engaging. Other than that A2P messaging allows for 2-way texting. This means that both the business and the customer can send each other texts and engage in conversational messaging. When customers have a channel to easily connect with businesses the engagement rates also increase significantly. A2P messaging also allows businesses to retain their existing business phone number for messaging. Since customers already know the business phone number, they will feel more comfortable engaging with them.

3. Select the implementation of your choice

A2P messaging can be implemented as either 10DLC, Shortcode, or a Toll-Free Number. Depending upon the budget and the number of messages you intend to send to your customers you can make a choice for your implementation method.

4. Avoid blocking/filtering

A2P messaging requires that messages sent to customers are not spammy or unwanted. To keep this in check, various mobile carriers as well as aggregators ensure that no unwanted content is contained in the message. Therefore when the message reaches the final recipient it is cleared of spam. 

So, what are the kinds of messages that a business can send through A2P messaging? 

Use Cases of A2P messaging

A2P messaging must be used in the following cases – 

  • Marketing campaigns: Marketing campaigns are targeted at a business’s entire customer list. To ensure that each and every one of these customers is engaged with your business you can send text messages. To send text messages to such a vast number of customers, you will need to have A2P messaging enabled. These campaigns are also automated and hence A2P messaging becomes even more important.

  • 2- Factor authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) sends a one-time password to a person’s mobile phone when they try logging into one of their accounts. This helps prevent hackers from breaking into your customers’ accounts. A2P messaging is often used for 2-factor authentication.

  • Order notifications: A2P messaging is also used to send updates to customers about their purchase orders. Customers can get confirmations about their order purchase, the status of the order if it has been shipped, etc. Other useful information such as the order number is also included in these messages.

  • Appointment reminders: Healthcare practices need to send reminders to their patients about their upcoming appointments. This helps ensure that the slot at their practice doesn’t go to waste. Appointment reminders are also facilitated through A2P messaging.

  • Review requests: A business needs a decent number of reviews from its customers to establish its credibility. Collecting these reviews from the customers often requires a nudge from the business’s end. The best way to ask customers for reviews is to send them a text message requesting a review. You can add the link to the review site in this message. As you need as many reviews as possible, you will send these messages to all your customers. Hence A2P messaging will be required to reach out to your desired number of customers.

  • Surveys: Surveys are a great way to collect customer feedback. Unless you know how your business is being perceived by your customers, you won’t be able to identify gaps in your operations or improve your services. Hence it’s vital that you gather customer feedback. Text messaging is a great way to engage customers and get their feedback. Again, you need to send a survey to all your customers and therefore A2P messaging is required. You can also automate this process.

  • Unusual activity alerts: A2P messaging can be a great way to alert customers about any fraudulent activity on their accounts. With A2P messaging, you can send alerts to individuals about any unusual activity automatically.

  • Reservations: Just like the healthcare industry, the hospitality industry has also started sending out text messages for reservation confirmations as well as reservation reminders. This also is facilitated through A2P messaging.

How does A2P text messaging work?

A typical path of P2P messaging looks something like this:

Sender’s mobile phone > Carrier network > Recipient Mobile phone

How P2P messaging works

While the path for A2P messaging looks something like this:

Sender A2P messaging platform > SMS gateway > Carrier > Recipients mobile

How A2P messaging works

Note: The SMS gateway or the SMS aggregator acts as a bridge between the texting software and the mobile carrier. They are the link between carrier networks, such as T-Mobile and AT&T, and text messaging software providers–such as Emitrr.

The network carrier performs various checks to see if the message sent is unwanted or spam.

Ways to implement A2P text messaging

Now that we’ve covered the different use cases of A2P messaging, we can look at the ways in which you can implement this for your business text messaging needs. Essentially there are three ways in which you can implement A2P messaging. These are-

i) 10 Digit Long Codes (10DLC)
ii) Shortcodes

iii) Toll-Free Numbers (TFN)

1. 10 DLC

10DLC is nothing but the 10-digit phone numbers that people possess. Businesses can use 10DLC numbers to send messages to their customers. However, A2P messaging has to be enabled to be able to do this.

Businesses need to register with their carriers to use 10DLC for A2P messaging.

The benefit of sending messages through a 10DLC number is that you can keep your business’s phone number. Customers will not only be able to receive messages from this number, but also respond to it. A 2-way conversation medium can be established with you and your customers. 10DLC is also a cost-effective solution for A2P messaging.

2. Shortcodes

A shortcode is a 5 or 6-digit number used to send text messages from businesses to many people through a software program. Earlier Shortcodes were the only way businesses could send high-volume messages.

Shortcodes were available for businesses to buy. Often these shortcodes were shared by a couple of businesses.

With the recent developments with Shortcodes becoming dedicated, i.e shortcodes are no longer shared by businesses, it has also become quite costly. Its monthly usage cost has become over $500 per month, in addition to the per message cost.

3. Toll-Free Numbers

Toll-free numbers are free to call.  TFN A2P messages can handle medium-volume message broadcasts and are great if you want a cost-effective, more professional phone number from which to message your prospects or clients. 

 

Laws and Regulations regarding A2P texting

While A2P texting is a boon for businesses to do mass customer communication, it should be done carefully. All legal regulations must be followed. The A2P messaging regulations include TCPA and associated FCC regulations regarding customer consent for communications. Broadly speaking the laws state that businesses should: 

– Obtain a customer’s consent to receive messages generally;

–  Obtain a customer’s express written consent to specifically receive marketing messages;

and

-Ensure that customers have the ability to revoke consent.

 

Consent may vary on the type of message content exchanged with a customer.. To gain a better understanding of the kind of consent you need to get from your customer, first, you need to know the three types of messaging content and its associated consent principles.

The three types of messaging content are

1. Conversational

Conversational messaging is a back-and-forth conversation that takes place via text. If a customer texts a business first and the business responds quickly with a single message, then it is likely conversational. If the customer initiates the conversation and the business simply responds, then no additional permission is expected

2. Informational


Informational messaging is when a customer gives their phone number to a business and asks to be contacted in the future. Appointment reminders, welcome texts, and alerts fall into this category because the first text sent by the business fulfills the customer’s request. A customer needs to agree to receive texts for a specific informational purpose when they give the business their mobile number.

3. Promotional

Promotional messaging is a message sent that contains a sales or marketing promotion. Adding a call-to-action (e.g., a coupon code to an informational text) may place the message in the promotional category. Before a business sends promotional messages, the customer should agree in writing to receive promotional texts. Businesses that already ask customers to sign forms or submit contact information can add a field to capture the customer’s consent.

And the associated consent types are:

1. Implied Consent

If the customer initiates the text message exchange and the business only respond to each customer with relevant information, then no verbal or written permission is expected. This is implied consent, as the customer is texting first.

2. Express Consent

The customer should give express permission before a business sends them a text message. Customers may give permission over text, on a form, on a website, or verbally. Customers may also give written permission.

3. Express Written Consent

The customer should give express written permission before a business sends them a text message. Customers may sign a form, check a box online, or otherwise provide consent to receive promotional text messages.

So how exactly are the message types and the consent related?

Message Content-TypeConsent TypeComment
Conversational MessagingImpliedSince in conversational messaging customer initiates the text, mostly to inquire about a product/service, the consent is implied.
Informational Messaging





Express
Customers usually allow businesses to contact them to update them about their account activities, fraud alerts, appointments, etc. These messages are informational and the consent given is express.
Promotional MessagingExplicitPromotional messages are sent by businesses to engage their customers. It’s used to market the business/its services. Therefore the consent given has to be explicit.

Some FAQs related to A2P SMS

  1. What does A2P SMS stand for?

      A2P SMS stands for Application(A) To (2) Person (P).

     

  2.  What is A2P SMS?

     A2P SMS is the messaging between a software application and a person. In A2P messaging a text is sent from a texting software to a person’s mobile phone. Texting software is used by businesses and enterprises to communicate with their customers.

     

  3. What is A2P SMS and P2P SMS?

    A2P SMS stands for Application to person and is used for communication between businesses and customers, whereas P2P stands for Person to Person or Peer to Peer, and is used when two or more people communicate with each other.

     

  4. How is A2P SMS implemented?

    A2P SMS can be implemented in three ways: 10DLC, Shortcodes, and Toll-Free Numbers. 
Note: A2P messaging and A2P SMS is used interchangeably. 

Conclusion

If businesses wish to communicate with their customers, they have no option but to ensure that A2P messaging is enabled. A2P messaging can be implemented through business texting software that makes customer engagement super easy!

Not adhering to A2P messaging guidelines while communicating with customers, can lead to serious fines and offenses.

Consent is to be obtained from your customers when you use A2P messaging to send promotional and informational messages. 

There are three ways in which you can implement A2P messaging. It can be done through, 10DLC, Shortcodes, or Toll-Free Numbers. 

You can connect with Emitrr today, to learn how you can start A2P messaging for your business! Schedule a demo here

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