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Alexander Haque Co-Founder at Clerk Chat
Alexander Haque

Co-Founder at Clerk Chat

A2P - Understanding Application To Person Messaging

A2P - Understanding Application To Person Messaging

Application to Person messaging is the name for sending SMS messages from a software application to an individual’s cell phone. These messages are typically automated and used for two-factor authentication (2FA), notifications and alerts. A2P can also be used to send mass-marketing SMS service messages.

It is possible to send scheduled text messages so they reach users at a specific time of day. This allows for careful targeting, for example advertising your best restaurant deals in the run-up to lunchtime when potential customers begin to get hungry. A2P makes SMS for small business a viable revenue stream.

Many messages that are generated via A2P are automated transactional messages that keep businesses running. These can be things like two-factor authentication, which texts a randomly generated code to a user’s phone so that they can prove it is them trying to access their business email or bank account. This has become a completely normal part of many organizations and how they operate securely on a day-to-day basis.

Understanding A2P Messaging

How does A2P Messaging Work? There are three different standards that are used for A2P messaging. These are ten-digit long codes (10DLC), Toll-Free Numbers (TFN) and short codes, and they all have their respective pros and cons, with different costs associated with each. All of these methods fall under the wider banner of enterprise SMS messaging and are subject to rigorous texting compliance regulations.

A2P vs P2P messages

Simply put, businesses using A2P can send more texts than an individual could. App-to-Person messages have the ability to send hundreds of messages in seconds. Unlike individuals, who would have to send each message separately, businesses can use an app to automate SMS messages or WhatsApp messages to groups. This technology makes it possible to send 500 messages per second via short codes.

If you are relying on one person to manually send all your business updates to customers via text, it may be time to consider an enterprise-level solution, such as an A2P service. Implementing an A2P business to consumer communication system is important for business growth.

Short Codes

These are five or six-digit numbers that don’t look like a traditional long-form telephone number. Short Codes are one of the most popular ways of running SMS campaigns. It is possible to opt in or out of receiving them by texting a particular word to the short code. This functionality is used by many fundraising organizations such as charities and not-for-profits.

Although short codes offer this limited text response functionality, they are not meant as a two-way messaging system. It is only really possible to opt in or out, rather than have a full conversation. This is why some of the other methods are much better suited to having customer support conversations. The A2P messaging platform as a whole tends to be quite conducive to two-way communication and the short codes are the exception to this rule.


Ten digit long code or A2P 10DLC messaging technology is ideal for managing customer service inquiries and can handle incoming calls and SMS messages. A 10-digit long code looks like a standard telephone number with a specific area code. This allows businesses to establish a local presence, especially with a recognizable nearby area code.This can be a great way to encourage higher engagement rates with your messages.

Toll-Free Numbers

These numbers use the well-known national toll-free prefixes, such as 800. These are familiar and free to call from any landline. National businesses often use these numbers for SMS marketing, order confirmations, and delivery tracking.

These numbers are a way for customers to always have a reliable contact point and can easily send messages for assistance if and when needed.

Regulations and Compliance in A2P Messaging

There are many rules and regulations surrounding A2P messaging, and rightly so, because all A2P SMS business communications go directly to the phones of the end-users, which could be bothersome if in the middle of important tasks. The last thing people want is to be interrupted by spam messages that they have no interest in receiving.

SMS is still one of the most trusted forms of communication, with open rates far exceeding that of email or any other marketing medium. Email marketing has an open rate of around 22%, and SMS messages have an astonishing open rate of 98%. When you understand this, it suddenly makes a lot more sense why so many businesses want to send SMS marketing messages.

Guidelines for A2P Messages

10DLC regulations have been tightened up a lot over the past couple of years, with all campaigns being required to be vetted and overseen by The Campaign Registry (TCR). One of the key 10DLC requirements is that businesses must be able to verify where their subscribers have come from. They must be able to prove that users have actually opted in to receive the correspondence that you are sending them.

It used to be the case that multiple businesses could share the same short code, and this made it far harder to track who was misusing it. Now a short code will only be registered to a single brand, and this makes it much easier to track and punish any misuse. Punishment for failing to comply with regulations is levied as fines. These can range from $500 per violation to $1,500 per wilful violation, so the financial consequences can get pretty serious very quickly.

The global size of the A2P SMS market was estimated to be approximately $66.91 billion in 2022, with estimates suggesting that it will hit $79 Billion by 2030. This growth is around 3% year-on-year and can largely be attributed to even more SMS automation and streamlining of systems across many different industries.

The phenomenal growth in the A2P SMS sector can be partially attributed to a number of factors, including a spike in worldwide population numbers and more interest than ever before in smartphone ownership. The growth in mobile payment solutions is also driving the growth of A2P SMS as payment providers rely heavily on technologies such as 2FA to secure the accounts of their growing user-base against intrusions.

Increasingly, SMS integrations such as Clerk Chat are making it much easier to extend the functionality of existing programs to include A2P SMS. This drive to include the ability to send text messages from within a wider range of customer relationship management (CRM) systems can also be seen to increase the popularity of the medium.

A2P Messaging Technologies

Various messaging technologies can be used to enhance your SMS messaging. One of these is texting templates that can be treated similarly to a mail merge letter. This means you can pull the individual’s name, or other contact details, into the text message, and every recipient will therefore receive a personalized message.

Use Cases and Applications of A2P Messaging

Each of the different technologies associated with A2P messaging serve distinct purposes. Short codes, for instance, are memorable and offer high throughput of messages, making them ideal for larger marketing campaigns targeting large subscriber bases. Being able to send upwards of 500 messages per second means a campaign can be sent to a large group of opted-in subscribers on a significant scale.

A ten digit long code proves valuable in customer service or feedback scenarios where you are expecting and hoping the potential customer gets in touch with you directly. 10DLC can also convey local presence, even if the business isn’t physically based in the area. This can help to fosters a positive perception and ownership toward the company.

A Toll-Free Number is excellent for handling customer service inquiries, as the customer can call or text the same number for assistance. They can do this while feeling assured that any follow-up calls will be free. This is one of the major attractions of both toll-free and 10DLC.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between A2P and P2P Messaging?

P2P messaging is on a much smaller scale than A2P generally and tends to consist of a single person sending messages to family or friends. A2P tends to have many more messages being sent, either through an automated process or via a button being pressed to send a campaign out to subscribers.

How can Businesses Ensure Compliance with A2P Regulations?

Ensure compliance by familiarizing yourself with the regulations and make every effort to keep your company in line with them. The regulations are clear and straightforward and designed to enable marketers to keep using SMS marketing responsibly, without jeopardizing its use for others. It is also recommended to register your campaign and adhere to industry best practices when launching an SMS campaign.

The Future of A2P SMS Messaging

It is clear that there has been significant effort in recent years to strengthen regulations surrounding A2P SMS messaging, aiming to instill confidence in recipients that the messages they receive are legitimate and authentic. This reassurance is so important for maintaining trust in SMS messaging at a high level.

The A2P SMS market will continue to grow over the next decade, given the increasing reliance of many businesses on available technologies. This suggests that businesses are unlikely to move to a different method in the foreseeable future.

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