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A2P SMS messaging (Application-to-person messaging)

Learn what A2P messaging is as well as the most common use cases for this marketing tool.

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If you’re at all familiar with what we do here at SimpleTexting, then you already know a bit about A2P SMS messaging. You just may not have known what it was called!

What is the definition of A2P messaging?

A2P (application-to-person) messaging is defined as the process of sending text messages from an application, such as SimpleTexting, directly to a mobile user. It’s also commonly referred to as “enterprise” or “professional” SMS.

How is A2P messaging used?

A business may use A2P SMS messaging for several reasons, from banking notifications, to critical alerts and marketing notifications. Other reasons to use A2P messaging include:

  • Send automated, event-based notifications
  • Avoid using their personal number for business
  • Message large groups instantly
  • Track click-through rates
  • Deliver time-sensitive alerts

On the other hand, P2P (person-to-person) messaging is defined as back-and-forth texts sent between two humans. In other words, a conversation!

With SimpleTexting, you can have 2-way conversations. Even though you are using an application, the recipient won’t be able to tell. Messages will appear as though they came from a phone.

How does A2P messaging work?

There are four basic steps that occur when you send an A2P (application-to-person) message:

  • Access your A2P messaging platform (such as SimpleTexting)
  • Use an A2P messaging platform to send SMS or MMS message (in bulk or individually)
  • The A2P message gets sent through a mobile network operator
  • The A2P message arrives to your audience just like a regular SMS or MMS message

Recent changes to the meaning of A2P messaging

Until recently, people strictly associated A2P SMS with mass texts, or automated messages such as appointment reminders, shipping notifications, one-time passwords, and two-factor authentication.

In October 2019, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) released an update to their Messaging Principles and Best Practices.

In it, they clarified that P2P messaging must be between two consumers. People acting on behalf of businesses or organizations are not considered consumers. This, in turn, widened the definition of A2P messaging.

What is the difference between A2P and P2P messaging?

P2P (Person-to-Person/Peer-to-Peer) messaging refers to conventional conversational two-way SMS or MMS messaging between individuals. As noted above, A2P is where a person receives text messages from an application.

The big difference is that messages that do not originate from a mobile device with a SIM card are regarded as A2P messages. Beyond that, wireless carriers treat P2P texting and A2P text messages differently in terms of the type and volume of traffic allowed.

What are the benefits of A2P SMS?

There are plenty of benefits of A2P SMS, many of which are specific to different industries and use cases. However, there are some A2P benefits that are universal.

High demand
79% of consumers opted in to get texts from businesses this year and 60% of consumers report that they want to be able to text a business back.

Faster response time
The average response time for a text message is 6,000% (60X) faster than email.

High conversion rates
SMS campaign conversion rates can be as high as 35%.

Enhanced privacy
With SimpleTexting, you can choose a local number to register, a short code, or a toll-free number (just don’t forget to have your toll-free number verified). This means you don’t have to worry about sharing your personal number.

High volume messaging
If you’re looking to send messages to large groups of people at once, A2P SMS allows you to do it in one click.

Record keeping
Archive all your communications in one space for safe record keeping.

API integrations
Our SMS API allows you to add custom texting capabilities to your existing software or products.

There are just a few of the benefits of texting. For more industry-specific insights, check out our industry guides for text marketing.

What is the impact of 10DLC (local numbers) on A2P?

10DLC, which stands for 10-digit long code messaging, gives businesses and organizations the power to send bulk text messages from a number with an area code local to your business. In the past, high-volume text messaging was reserved for short codes and toll-free lines. 

Learn more about 10DLC and sending A2P text messages from a local number here, and get the rundown on registering your local number here.

Meghan Tocci
Meghan Tocci

Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.

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