Even if you don't realize it, chances are you've engaged in A2P and P2P messaging. In fact, they're probably part of your daily life.

Application-to-person (A2P) texting uses a machine or application to send texts to consumers, while person-to-person (P2P) texting uses a person to send the texts in real time. Both A2P and P2P SMS have their own unique and shared benefits.

If you've looked at an appointment reminder or sale notification, you've engaged with A2P messaging. If you've texted a friend or family member lately, you're familiar with P2P messaging. Keep reading to learn more about each type of texting, examples of how it can be used, and the benefits that come along with it.

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What Is A2P?

Application-to-person messaging, often referred to as A2P messaging or business SMS, is when an application is used to send messages to people. When you're receiving an automated message about your recent delivery or the latest flash sale, those are A2P messages.

Some of the most common applications used for this are SMS APIs and mass texting software, which allow companies to send out hundreds (and even thousands) of texts at once.

Typically, A2P messaging is done using a profit from texting short code. There are strict SMS short code regulations surrounding A2P texting and the use of short codes. One of these regulations is that users have to explicitly consent to receiving these messages by opting-in to a company's SMS list.

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A2P Examples

Examples of A2P are the automated messages you receive every day: delivery updates, sales alerts, appointment reminders, and more. These aren't sent by a person at the company; instead, the company schedules them to automatically send to a list of subscribers, which includes you.

But there are more examples of A2P messaging beyond what we've already discussed.

Example 1: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication is a security method that requires users to present two pieces of evidence in order to gain access to a website, application, account, etc. This evidence may come in the form of passwords, answers to security questions, or contact information. One-time passwords and verification codes are popular forms of 2FA A2P texts.

Example 2: SMS Support Channels

When you're receiving updates and notifications via SMS, have you ever seen a text that said “txt HELP for assistance” or something similar? That's an SMS support channel. You may have also seen similar pop-ups on social media or websites, asking if you need any assistance. If you were to text HELP, more texts would appear to narrow down your issues. It may have you reply 1 for issues with your order, 2 for schedule conflicts, and so on and so forth.

Example 3: Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is perhaps the most obvious A2P example, but it's also the most prevalent. Nearly every company uses SMS to market their products and services, largely in part because of the benefits we'll discuss in the next section. As you'll read there, SMS (and therefore A2P) has some impressive statistics. Every time you receive a text about VIP memberships, exclusive deals, and holiday pre-sales, you're receiving an A2P message.

Benefits of A2P Texting

SMS messaging boasts some of the best rates in the industry, including:

  • 77% of subscribers opt-in to marketing and communication messages
  • 90% of texts are opened within three minutes of receipt
  • Subscribers are 8x more likely to follow an SMS call-to-action

Combined, all these statistics and facts mean that SMS messaging is one of the most effective communication and marketing methods to date. And because A2P texting is a form of SMS, it means that these same success rates apply.

But A2P has its own benefits, too:

  • Connecting to a (nearly) unlimited number of customers in minutes
  • Saving time, money, and resources by automatically sending texts to preset contact lists
  • Meeting needs of a larger number of subscribers using additional SMS features

If your company needs to send a large number of texts or connect with a large number of people, then A2P texting is the recommended communication and marketing method.

What Is P2P?

Person-to-person messaging, also known as peer-to-peer messaging and commonly abbreviated as P2P messaging, is when a person is sending and receiving messages from another person. When you're texting your friend about the new café you tried out, those are P2P messages.

P2P texting includes messages sent between mobile phones and messages send using an API as a conduit. Typically, P2P texting is done using a SMS long code. And just like A2P SMS and short codes, there are certain long code rules and regulations that all companies have to follow.

P2P Examples

P2P messaging has a wide variety of uses, from sending customers appointment reminders to connecting subscribers with influencers and more. This flexibility is just one of its many benefits, which we'll cover a bit later.

Example 1: Connecting Internal Staff

Peer-to-peer messaging allows you to connect with most (if not all) of your internal staff, creating a network that encourages communication. In a regular setting, this is useful for keeping everyone up to date on projects, deadlines, new initiatives, HR regulations, and more. But you can also use P2P to quickly notify your staff of more important information, such as weather warnings and emergency plans.

Example 2: Texting Your Friend

Normally, someone texting a friend wouldn't be cause for excitement for companies. But it can certainly be useful if that connection is used to pass along marketing messages, referral information, and other messages from your business. Using P2P SMS, you can tap into an extended network of consumers by encouraging subscribers to reach out to their friends and family.

Example 3: Providing Customer Support

There's nothing worse than searching for a live support person, only to be faced with bots at every turn. If you're looking to create a timely and response customer support network, then P2P is the perfect choice. Live operators reduce frustration and can work with the user to find a solution to their problems.

Benefits of P2P Texting

P2P texting has its own benefits in addition to the benefits you'll already have access to as a result of using SMS.

Texting is a more engaging, widespread, and popular form of communication than email or voicemail. On top of these broad benefits, P2P taps into the aspects of communication that the everyday person can appreciate, rather than just ones that businesses prefer.

These characteristics (and benefits) include:

  • Allowing two-way communication and real-time dialogue between users
  • Creating a more sincere connection, perfect for targeted marketing
  • Connecting both domestic and international customers to your company

And despite its primary use for low-volume communication, P2P texting is incredibly versatile. Besides the uses described above, it's also a great choice for small business communication, companies looking to push their local presence, and businesses with a small international consumer base.

As a result, P2P SMS can be hugely beneficial for companies looking to create a stronger, more personalized experience for their subscribers.

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