Messaging best practices
In this article we distill the CTIA and TCPA industry rules and principles into the below best practices for messaging with Edify. These best practices are intended to outline the requirements for good messaging etiquette.
Edify’s messages fall into the A2P classification; due to this we must follow the A2P industry standards. This article is intended to help you understand and follow the industry guidelines and best practices for A2P messaging. It does not constitute legal advice.
All messaging traffic is required to comply with relevant laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
It's important to understand compliance before you send a message.
Express consent, Opt-In, from your contacts is mandatory. Messages should only be sent to recipients who have opted in to your service and/or are expecting communication from you.
Your call-to-action must include your:
Terms and conditions
Info about your message
Your first message to new contacts must be a confirmation message.
Edify reserves the right to block messaging service or suspend your account if abuse is reported.
If you choose not to follow these guidelines, Edify will be unable to assist in remedying any deliverability failures that you will most likely experience due to blocking and filtering at an industry level.
Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
This section outlines prohibited content as determined by the CTIA and TCPA. Messages that violate these policies will most likely experience blocking at the industry level, regardless of campaign verification. We reserve the right to block the phone number if customer abuse is reported or identified.
Harassing or Abusive Messages. Sending threats or unwanted messages to a single number without the recipient’s permission is restricted.
Engaging in fraud, phishing, or sending of sensitive data. Sending messages with fraudulent information, or phishing to request confidential information from subscribers, is not allowed.
Spoofing the SenderID, or otherwise attempting to mislead message recipients as to who is sending the SMS message is not allowed.
Unsolicited Messages. Messages should only be sent to recipients who have opted in and/or are expecting communication from you.
SHAFT. Any messages that engage in, sell, depict or promote Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco (including marijuana/cannabis) will automatically be blocked.
Marketing. Sending messages to advertise services or promotions is not allowed unless the recipient has specifically opted in for Marketing communications.
Third Party and Lead Generation. This is when the party collecting opt-ins is doing so for the purpose of collecting, aggregating, converting, or selling consumer information (“leads”) to third parties for a fee. The lead generator then either resells that consumer’s information to one or more third parties, is not allowed.
160 characters per message.
Over 160 characters will result in a MMS or a parsed message.
MMS is not fully supported on A2P and could result in deliverability failures.
Avoid SHAFT (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco (including marijuana/cannabis) at ALL costs.
Opt In/Opt Out is a must. Sending a message without an explicit opt-in is prohibited. Providing an opt-out is not a substitute for obtaining consent.
According to the TCPA, businesses cannot text or call consumers before 8:00AM or after 9:00PM.
The consumer must give appropriate consent
Make sure users explicitly say they want messages from you .
Be sure to document an opt-in consent process for each messaging campaign.
Single number use
Utilize a single number for identity
Don't spread you campaigns over several numbers .
Using a single number for both text and voice calls is a best practice! If your customers messaging use case requires the use of multiple numbers to distribute "similar" or "like" content, please discuss with LNP prior to submission of Campaign Verification(s).
Identify the brand or business in the body of the message
Your application, service, or business name should be included in the content of the body.
Example: [Your Business Name]: You have an appointment for Tuesday 3:00 PM, reply YES to confirm, NO to reschedule. Reply STOP to unsubscribe.
Use a single domain for URLs in your messages
Each campaign should be associated with a single web domain owned by the customer.
Avoid the common, public, or shared domain shorteners, such as:
Prohibited campaign types
Third-party or affiliate lead and/or commission generation
Advertisements for loans
Credit Repair offers
Work from home, secret shopper, or other similar advertising campaigns
The most important part of sending text messages to consumers is their direct ability to opt in and opt out of your messages. The Opt-In/Opt-Out process is the most heavily scrutinized part of the Campaign Verification process. Click here to learn more about Campaign Verification.
Top 3 ways to opt-in:
Send a keyword to your number based on an ad or public documentation that includes the required terms.
Enter a phone number into a web form online with the required terms
Sign up in-person at a physical location using a form with required terms
Let users know they have been opted in to receive messages from you.
Upon successful opt-in by a mobile subscriber, an opt-in confirmation message wll immediately be sent to the mobile subscriber number. Per the CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practices, "a single opt-in confirmation message displaying information verifying your customer's enrollment in the identified program and describing hot
Support for STOP
Use of Opt-Out language
Make sure your users can opt-out of receiving messages.
The best practice is notifying the consumer of their ability to opt-out from future messages from the message sender. This is especially important when sending informational or promotional messages.
An example would be to include the sentence, "Reply STOP to unsubscribe" to the end of the initial message sent to the consumer, or "reply STOP to cancel"
Processing STOP keywords
Ensure proper functioning of opt-out behavior.
End user's ability to opt-out is crucial to compliance.
Message senders have obligations to process the opted-out consumer phone number so it is removed from all distribution lists and be logged as "opted out" from SMS communications. This ensures that future messages are not attempted and consumer consent is honored.
Examples of valid opt-out keywords: "STOP", "Stop", "ARRET", "Arret", "arrett".
For toll-free SMS, there is no need to send an acknowledgment to the consumer. The opt-out confirmation message returned to a consumer is generic and gives instructions on how to opt back into service again with the message sender’s phone number. Below is an example of the opt-out confirmation message sent from Edify:
Example: NETWORK MSG: You replied with the word "STOP" which blocks all texts sent from this number. Text back "UNSTOP" to receive messages again.
Processing UNSTOP and START keywords
Ensure proper functioning of opt-in keywords specific to toll-free texting
Allow users to opt back in after opting out.
A consumer can opt back in at any time to receive messages by texting the keyword “UNSTOP” or "START" to a message sender’s phone number. The keyword is not case sensitive and triggers an opt-in only when sent as a single word, with no punctuation or leading spaces (any trailing spaces are trimmed). If the consumer uses the opt-in keyword within a sentence an opt-in is not triggered.
Examples of valid opt-in keywords: “UNSTOP”, “Unstop”, “unstop”, "START", "Start", "start", "NONARRET", "Nonarret", "nonarret".
The message returned to a consumer is generic and informs the consumer they can start two-way texting with the message sender’s phone number again.
Example: NETWORK MSG: You have replied UNSTOP and will begin receiving messages again from this number.
Processing HELP keywords
HELP commands should present a clear way for the end user to identify information about the message sender and how to opt out if necessary.
HELP keywords are not required on toll-free messages but are strongly suggested. There's no network-level processing of HELP as there is for STOP. Edify recommends the response to a HELP command includes the following:
• Business name and description
• Contact info (TN, TFN, or email) for the business
• Language about any associated fees or charges
• Instructions on how to opt-out
Example: Edify Employee Alerts: Help at 833-740-8024. Msg&data rates may apply. Reply STOP to cancel.
Checklist: Crafting a compliant message
What is CTIA?
CTIA stands for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. The CTIA is a trade organization that represents the wireless communications industry in the U.S. They create and maintain resources that help break down the complexities of the telco industry: