A2P Vs. P2P SMS: Understanding Text Messaging Options for Your Business

a customer receives a text message

A2P Vs. P2P SMS: Understanding Text Messaging Options for Your Business

As a marketer, you know how important it is to maintain a connection with your customers. You need a medium to deliver updates and any vital information. Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is one of the best ways to send short messages to clients, and it has proven to be an effective tool for marketing.
If you want to jump on the SMS marketing train, you need to familiarize yourself with A2P and P2P messaging. You might have come across the terms, but you’re unsure what they mean. Understanding the difference between the two will put you in a better position to choose the best option for your business.
Here’s a deeper outlook of A2P vs. P2P messaging and how you can leverage A2P to scale your business.

What Is A2P SMS?

A2P SMS, or Application-to-Person messaging, refers to the process of sending messages to a person’s mobile phone through an application, typically a web-based platform. A2P messages are usually one-way — in some cases two-way, if they’re conversational or transactional. Another distinguishing characteristic is that they are automated.

What Is P2P SMS?

As the name suggests, P2P (Person-to-Person) messaging involves two people sharing messages through a mobile network. In this case, both the sender and the receiver of the SMS must be subscribed to a mobile operator. The mobile network acts as the bridge that connects people through SMS. Ideally, P2P messages are two-way and are typically sent from one individual to another, not for commercial purposes.

A2P vs. P2P SMS

A2P SMS are usually commercial in nature. They are traditionally one-way and can be sent to many mobile users at once. P2P SMS, on the other hand, are usually used for personal communication between the sender and the recipient.
With A2P SMS, the software is designed to handle large-scale messaging. The volume of messages that can be sent at once is another key feature that distinguishes A2P messaging from P2P messaging. The goal in A2P messaging is to reach as many people as possible, not necessarily to get feedback.

Different Ways To Send A2P Messages

It might sound fairly straightforward, but there’s quite a bit of work that goes into sending A2P messaging. Here are some of the different ways you can make use of this option for your business.

1. 10-Digit Long Codes

10-digit long codes (10DLC) are similar to standard phone numbers and originally used for P2P messaging. As such, only one message could be sent per second. Now, you’re allowed to send messages in bulk, provided you apply for A2P messaging.
Before using 10DLC, you’ll have to register, and this process involves carrier vetting. This is done in an effort to prevent spam messages. The vetting process is done by a third-party entity, which will then give you a trust score. Your throughput usually depends on the trust score you get.
Carriers monitor message volumes to check for non-approved A2P usage. You need to get your business approved to increase your throughput, and you can send messages faster.
Note: You can run the risk of having your messages stopped or delayed if you fail to adhere to local compliance laws.
Advantages of 10DLC

  • They are relatively cheap compared to dedicated shortcodes.
  • Their throughput is considerably high, provided you have a good trust score.
  • You can retain your current phone number or area code. This is especially advantageous to local businesses.
  • All replies, texts, voice calls, and text-to-landline are supported.

2. Toll-free Numbers (TFN)

Just like the 10DLC, TFNs have 10 digits. However, TFNs begin with 1-800, not an area code. Additionally, TFNs do not charge fees for calls.
Advantages of TFNs

  • TFN leasing is very fast.
  • No vetting is needed.
  • They’re reliable.
  • They’re the most affordable.
  • They’re very easy to set up.

3. Using a Dedicated Shortcode

Dedicated shortcodes are considered the premium of the three ways to send A2P SMS, mainly because they have the highest throughput. A dedicated short code is 5-6 digits long, making them easy to memorize and quite effective for marketing campaigns.
Downsides of using dedicated shortcodes

  • They’re pretty expensive.
  • Voice calls are not supported.
  • The registration and vetting process is long.

Note: In the US, shortcodes were discontinued as an A2P messaging option because it’s too easy for fraudsters to take advantage of innocent individuals.

A2P Messaging Use Cases

If you’re looking for ways to use A2P messaging to increase your business efficiency, here are three ways to do it.

1. Marketing Campaigns

Using SMS as a marketing campaign is a great way to interact with your clients. You can use SMS to send coupons and inform customers about discounts and sales.

2. Appointment Reminder Messages

Sending an SMS is one of the most effective ways to remind customers about their appointments. This way, you maintain attendance and increase your profit potential. Additionally, it shows your customers that you care, which helps improve loyalty to your brand.

3. Alerts and Notifications During an Emergency

The use of text messaging to send notifications and alerts has grown significantly over the past couple of years. Text messages can be used to notify people in a given area about upcoming changes or an immediate emergency.

Integrating AI Into A2P Messaging

Thanks to A2P technology, mobile messaging is becoming more interactive and intuitive. To create a seamless experience for customers, businesses need to keep up with a large influx of data. One of the best ways to stay on top of things is to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology into your A2P solutions.
With AI, the automated responses mimic those done by a real person. This way, it has the best of both worlds; the all-important human touch and the advantage of AI speed. An AI-powered response recognizes keywords in the customer’s inquiry and gives a comprehensive answer, resolving the issue immediately.
AI solutions, driven by Machine Learning and Natural-language Understanding, perform faster and have greater accuracy. Once your marketing team has devised a marketing campaign, the work can be taken over by AI. After integrating AI, you can use it to handle all SMS responses, sending messages to customers based on the content of their replies.
Customers today value personalized experiences. This means you need to find a way to interact with them. AI technology in SMS marketing strategies enables your customers to interact with your company in real-time. Transactional messages make your customers feel heard, which is a great way to build loyalty and retain customers.
You can also use AI to gather data on your customers — with their permission, of course. This enables you to personalize the messages and makes it easier to reach your target audience. You can also integrate it with subscriptions so you can send promotional material via email and tailor SMS messages with relevant information.

Convert Your Customers Through Conversational AI

In order to ensure that you’re sending your customers relevant and effective information, it is crucial to consider the communication channel. The more convenient the medium is, the better for you and your customers. Customers want to engage with your business now more than ever. One of the best ways to do this is through A2P SMS messaging.
If you’d like to make the most of A2P text messaging for your business, Aktify has got you covered. Aktify is dedicated to helping you create authentic and meaningful connections with your customers. We make use of data science and machine learning to enhance customer experience with personalized gestures and thoughtful conversations. With our science-first approach, you can efficiently conduct millions of human conversations via SMS.

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