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Nearly everyone has seen a disclaimer stating, "message & data rates may apply." Other versions of this message might include "mobile messaging rates may apply" or "mobile data rates may apply." However, do you know what these messages mean?
When you see that "msg and data rates may apply," data and text message fees may be associated with an automated text message sent to a consumer. The consumer is the person who pays any of these fees when they opt to receive these kinds of messages.
But what does it mean to say text message charges may apply? It's a required disclosure that mobile carriers make mandatory for opt-in SMS confirmations. We'll share more about what that means below.
Msg and Data Rates May Apply, Meaning
In times past, people would pay an average of 20 cents for every text message. This applied both when sending and receiving a text message. Since there was a price associated with these messages, it was integral for customers to know that they would be responsible for the cost of SMS messages when they were sent from a brand.
While most people no longer pay per message, the "data rates may apply" message still exists. Today, most of us pay a monthly flat rate and use an unlimited plan for text and talking. However, exceptions always showcase a "message and data rates may apply" example. Because of the basic SMS plans that still exist, the disclaimer is still needed.
Creating excellent text messages can be challenging, especially when you consider adding disclaimers like "text messages may apply." The good news is that many SMS API service companies make the process easier. However, it is required as a business when you run professional SMS marketing campaigns.
Are There Data Rates for Anyone with an Unlimited Data Plan?
If you only send messages to people with an unlimited data plan, they won't have any charges for using data of any kind. At the same time, most of these plans have limits and exclusions to be aware of.
For example, some data plans are unlimited only when connected to the provider's network and not when traveling outside the country. Many carriers levy a fee for using data on other networks or even their networks when you are in a foreign country.
Why is this something you need to be aware of? The messages are sent automatically when you send a drip campaign, scheduled mass text message, or keyword campaign. This means there's no guarantee that receiving the message will be free. However, there needs to be a way to be sure where a recipient will be when they get the message.
Let's say one of your consumers is in Mexico for a vacation, and their cell company doesn't provide unlimited data. Assuming the phone isn't in airplane mode, any data or text message you send will go through. The next phone bill they get will have charges for each of the messages.
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What Are the Typical Data Rates
A data rate refers to the transmission bandwidth that moves digital signals from a sender to a recipient. It can be complicated to understand how data rates work. However, we'll do our best to make the explanation simple.
You may already understand bandwidth when it's defined through numbers. For example, if you go to Speedtest or a similar website, you can see your bandwidth rate expressed as something like 50 Mb or 300 Mb per second.
Carriers use data blocks for billing and provide customers with a pricing schedule they can use to calculate charges. In most cases, carriers will have data plans based on the number of gigabytes.
So, that much is included if you have a plan with one gigabyte of data. But if you use more than a single gigabyte of data, you'd be charged for that. Giving an exact rate for data is impossible, mainly because every carrier can create standard data rates.
Do Text Messages Utilize Data?
Standard data rates are for data rather than SMS messages. However, some messaging apps will use both SMS and MMS messaging protocols. A couple of examples include Google Messages and iMessage. This means that both data and text can be used at the same time.
Other messenger apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp also use SMS and data to receive and send messages. Because of this, text messages may use some of your data. This is especially true if gifs, graphics, or videos are included in the text messages.
You should also be aware that customers will use up some of your data when they click on a link to an online video hosting site, web form, social media page, or website.
Many assume that texting is one thing and data usage is only for visiting social media or websites. However, the two things are often part and parcel with the innovations in digital and mobile technologies.
Best Practices for SMS Marketing by Businesses
Your products and services are essential, but your reputation is even more critical for continued success. You start creating a great impression with your first impression and then sustain it by offering ultimate transparency and professionalism. This also applies to your marketing efforts, so we want to share a few best practices to live by.
Share Potential Charges Upfront
If consumers feel you're dishonest or aren't connected to their values and concerns, they will typically choose to move on and do business with another company. This is why you must prioritize providing appropriate disclaimers and advisories about any charges that could occur when receiving your marketing text messages.
Adding in a "message & data rates may apply" disclosure will go a long way. Most people who have phones understand their plan and what charges may apply to them. Regardless, it would help if you were responsible and clear about the charges your SMS broadcast marketing could cause.
Always Get Permission from Subscribers
Not only does it show transparency when you get subscribers' permission, but it is also the law. While many people think about transparency in terms of the government and politics, it's essential to the general public and not only in terms of government organizations and officials.
Consumers want to spend their money with companies that provide transparency—everything from how you manufacture your products to how you source materials matters. So does how you handle personal data and treat the people who work for you.
When you ask for permission before sending out SMS broadcast marketing texts, you will step back and give consumers a glimpse at your business practices. The consumers will often show their appreciation for that, while doing the opposite could lead to needing to ask for forgiveness.
Why Choose Esendex for Your Text Marketing Needs
Customers deserve to know when text message rates may apply, and you need to share that information. Esendex is here to help with the other challenges of running a successful SMS marketing campaign. We provide services and tools that can save you both time and money.
Our programmable SMS API lets you easily send and receive large numbers of texts. You can automate your entire SMS campaign and the responses you get from customers. We also make it simple to include disclaimers and other important information with consumers. Get in touch with us to learn more, or sign up for our services.
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