Changes to P2P: SMS Growth Tactics for 2022

6 minute read

Team Mobile Messaging

It’s time to future-proof your SMS peer-to-peer text messaging program

Let’s set the stage. You’ve developed a robust SMS messaging strategy. Your company is driving significant results and revenue from your text message campaigns. Peer-to-peer messaging is a critical piece of your fundraising, voting, volunteer mobilization, or growth strategy.

Does this sound familiar?

If it does, you’ve likely heard that big changes are coming to the world of peer-to-peer messaging. And even if you haven’t heard about these P2P messaging changes, they’re about to take hold – whether you’re ready or not.

What’s changing with peer-to-peer text messaging?

A lot. After the heavy use of P2P messaging for the 2020 U.S. election, many cell users were frustrated not only by the sheer number of messages they received, but also the fact many did not agree to be contacted in the first place.

Understandably, mobile carriers knew they had to improve the mobile experience of their users. AT&T, T-Mobile, and other carriers prepared changes – particularly focused on P2P messaging – to the Principles and Best Practices of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CITA).

Not to be confused with the FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the CTIA is enforced strictly by the mobile carriers themselves. And just because your SMS program is FCC compliant does not guarantee you’re in compliance with the CTIA.

To cut down on unwanted peer-to-peer mobile messages, all private companies will need to register their ten-digit long code number (10DLC) with The Campaign Registry.

Do I really need to register my 10DLC number and campaigns?

The Campaign Registry is not just an arbitrary company. Mobile carriers created this organization and plan to use it as the primary way they’ll determine the legitimacy of your future SMS text message campaigns.

For people who continue to send without registering, there are a number of consequences. While determined on a case-by-case basis, unregistered SMS messaging campaigns may be hit with large fees, slower send rates, or potentially have their campaigns blocked all together.

The process of registering isn’t that simple. Not only do you need to pay and register your 10DLC number with your company or business, but you then have to register each new campaign you intend to create. Once submitted, every new campaign will then go through a review process.

In order to get approved, you must provide proof your audience has opted-in to receive messages around this campaign.  

Wait – the majority of our audience isn’t opted-in!

Requiring an opt-in is great for controlling spam SMS messages like the ones falsely telling you you’ve won an unexpected prize, need to provide personal data, or verify banking information. But requiring an opt-in also means legitimate organizations such as many non-profits or political groups may need to rethink their entire SMS strategy.

Peer-to-peer messaging allowed organizations to circumvent many of the compliance rules in place by the FCC. However, it wasn’t until recent years that users exploited the benefits of 10DLC P2P campaigns. The 2020 election essentially destroyed the brand of 10DLC, and carriers no longer trust it in the hands of businesses.

If you’re hearing these changes and thinking your strategy is doomed, we have some specific tactics to help you navigate the world of SMS messaging as we head into the next year.

How can I save my P2P messaging program?

1. Get your P2P audience to opt-in now.

While we can guarantee these changes are coming, a specific date hasn’t been set. That said, we expect to see this take place within the next 12 months. Right now, while you still have access to your current P2P sending, create a dedicated campaign for your subscribers asking them to opt-in to your SMS campaigns.

2. Develop an on-going strategy to grow your SMS list.

If you don’t currently have a strategy in place for growing your SMS list, it’s time to get that in place or improve your existing one. A good starting place is to make sure that all the places you ask for an email opt-in, you also ask for SMS. Here’s a quick list of tips for growing your SMS list. That said, no matter which way market your SMS program, be sure your audience can see the value in becoming an SMS subscriber.

3. Drop 10DLC and get a dedicated short code.

Historically, organizations balked at using short codes because it provided a less personal experience. But those days are in the past! Advancements within the SMS industry mean you can replicate a P2P experience using A2P (application-to-person) SMS messaging software.

4. Invest in the future of your brand.

Your short code is part of your brand. One of the most common barriers for companies to make the switch from 10DLC to a dedicated short code is price. And, we get it, price is a significant barrier to consider. However, you need to make sure you compare the up-front cost of a short code with the long-term cost of using 10DLC.

These new regulations are just the first wave of removing 10DLC altogether. When that happens, not only will you need to pay any short code registration fees, but you’ll also need to pay messaging costs to notify your subscribers of your new number.

Additionally, there’s the hidden cost that comes from using an unrecognized 10DLC. Many people have come to immediately distrust any SMS message that comes from an unknown 10DLC number. This distrust means you are likely losing out on many audience members who are leery of your message being a scam.

When will the new peer-to-peer messaging rules take effect?

Short answer: soon.

The long answer is a bit more complicated. Mobile carriers initially planned to launch these changes earlier this year. However, many organizations pushed back saying this would dramatically affect their efforts right before major fundraising and voting seasons.

While an official date has not been announced, we expect these changes to begin to take effect early 2022. By the end of next year, the peer-to-peer messaging world will look a whole lot different. And by the next U.S. election in 2024, 10DLC and P2P messaging will likely be a thing of the past.

Don’t wait. Now’s the time to set your organization up for continued success in 2022 and beyond.

If you’re interested in learning about the real cost of your P2P messaging program and how you can make the switch, sign up for a one-on-one meeting with one of SMS experts. We’ll be able to take a look at your exact situation and help you evaluate the best option for your company going forward.

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