In recent years, text messaging has become an essential platform for political campaigns to bypass filtering algorithms on email and social media to reach voters. More campaigns are getting started with texting every day and it’s important you understand that there are two types of text messaging and your campaign needs both.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) texting, as its name implies, refers to an individual texting another individual. To achieve the necessary scale to make this tactic effective, most campaigns use P2P software or vendors to quickly send each individual message. P2P texting uses traditional 10 digit phone numbers and doesn’t require opt-in permission from recipients.
Short Code texting is also referred to as application-to-peer (A2P) texting because a campaign can send a single text message to thousands of recipients in just a few seconds with one press of a button. Campaigns work with a platform like Tatango to secure their six digit short code from phone companies and manage the opt-in process, both of which are required to send at high volume and lower cost.
Each type of texting is important and effective campaigns rely on both.
Time To Set Up
Campaigns can get up and running with a P2P texting program in typically just a day or so, though recent 10DLC requirements have added some extra red tape. You’ll get a traditional, 10 digit phone number with your campaign’s local area code to send text messages from. Once you’ve uploaded a list of cell phone numbers (which some vendors can help you get) and you know how to use the software, your campaign can begin texting.
Short Code texting uses a six digit short code assigned by the mobile phone carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) and the process can take as long as 2 months to complete. The cell phone companies carefully vet everyone – especially political marketers – to ensure they comply with best practices and regulations for the privilege of direct connection to their customers.
Costs for sending P2P messages vary widely depending on the platform, but as a general rule Short Code texting is cheaper per message. Your campaign will need to pay a monthly fee for the six digit number you use and the SMS marketing software. Reach out to Tatango to learn more.
P2P texting relies on a loophole in communications regulations to reach mobile phone users who have not opted-in to receive messages from campaigns. This means you can rent or purchase lists of cell phone numbers to text and makes it an attractive option for campaigns starting from scratch. Unfortunately, recipients often regard these unwanted messages as spam and complaints are high.
Short Code texting requires explicit permission from each recipient. This can be through a keyword like JOIN sent to your six digit number or a form on your website. Getting opt-ins first adds a little more work but your subscribers will be more likely to take action and your campaign gets significant cost savings.
P2P text messages are sent one at a time by an individual pressing a button. To send faster, you add more staff or volunteers to the equation. With Short Code texting, hitting send once deploys your message almost instantly to every subscriber. Tatango can send millions of texts an hour which means that you can send to your whole list (large or small) and ensure that your message reaches its intended audience.
When you’re dealing with fundraising deadlines, debates, time sensitive news, and Election Day, this speed of delivery is a valuable asset. You simply don’t have the time to reach all of your voters using P2P texting.
Relational vs Broadcast
P2P texting works best for relational organizing where the messages are coming from a volunteer to a voter. Short Code messaging is for impersonal, broadcast messages.
A P2P program should not be the basis for your mass marketing via SMS.
Because a supporter has proactively opted in to receive messages from your Short Code texting program, they are primed to take actions like volunteer, donate, or vote. Tatango even offers a seamless integration with WinRed.
P2P texting, on the other hand, is more suited for opting in for future updates, visiting a candidate’s website, event turnout, and building name ID
Neither type of texting is better than the other. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Savvy campaigns understand the differences between Short Code and P2P texting and incorporate both into their strategies.
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