P2P Messaging vs. A2P Messaging: What’s the deal?

If you’re like 81 percent of Americans, chances are you are taking advantage of sending and receiving messages on your smartphone. Whether you are using Apple’s iMessage or Android messaging, your smartphone’s native messaging application is where you do the bulk of your communication – not via email, social media, or even carrier pigeon! Every day, hundreds of millions of text messages from family, friends – and yes, even brands – are being sent to mobile devices. There is a stark difference, though, between having someone such as your best friend sending you a message and opting into messages from a brand. The difference comes in the form of two delivery types defined by wireless carriers – person-to-person (P2P) and application-to-person (A2P). So what’s the deal with both and how does Subtext fit in?

P2P Messaging 

P2P, or person-to-person messaging, is any communication generally happening between two humans. These are the messages consumers are most familiar with and are conversations between yourself and the people that you care most about, be that your family, friends, coworkers, or acquaintances. P2P messaging is fundamentally conversational in nature and occurs in real-time without the aid of SMS messaging platforms and other technologies. 

Generally speaking, P2P messaging is a one-to-one delivery method and is not recommended for business messaging because the delivery method is tightly regulated by wireless carriers. Because of this, brands that do choose to implement a P2P messaging solution will suffer from lower deliverability rates, higher risk of being marked as spam by wireless carriers, and could even be inflicted with higher tariffs and messaging costs. Under some circumstances, P2P messaging may also include traffic that goes through an API to connect two people, however, some countries (including the US and Canada) do not consider any application-mediated traffic to be P2P. (via Twilio)

A2P Messaging

A2P, or application-to-person messaging, is a delivery method that is supported by any SMS marketing or engagement technology platform, or SMS API. Consider A2P messaging as inherently non-conversational and more transactional in nature, in many cases necessitating a compliant opt-in in order to send a message. A2P messaging allows a sender, in this case, any business, to send thousands of messages to opted-in numbers at once. 

The nature of these messages varies widely across use cases. Some examples of A2P messages could be a gate change from your airline before you catch a flight, a coupon for 10% from your favorite clothing store, a political party encouraging you to vote or volunteer, or a trusted news source sending you a rundown of that day’s top stories. A2P messaging greatly outperforms P2P messaging in almost all core KPI categories for business from deliverability and open rates, to following a call-to-action from a business. Here are only a few reasons why an A2P messaging strategy elevates businesses looking to connect with subscribers on a larger scale:

  • A2P messaging connects businesses to a (nearly) unlimited number of customers in minutes
  • Saves time, money, and resources by automatically sending texts to preset contact lists
  • Meets the needs of a larger number of subscribers on the medium they prefer and that is always near them, if not in their hand. 

How does Subtext fit in?

Remember when we said A2P messaging is inherently non-conversational? Well not with an A2P messaging platform like Subtext! We built Subtext with the deliverability and reliability of the best SMS marketing platforms in mind but engineered it in a way that allows for many-to-one communication to seamlessly transition to one-to-one conversations. Because of this, Subtext customers are sending hundreds of thousands of messages per day that feel and look like personal messages to the subscribers on the other end of the telephone. Many SMS marketing platforms are rigid, creating hardcore rails that their customers have to abide by in order to effectively use their platforms. Subtext’s flexibility offers customers the opportunity to truly personify their brand, bringing a crucial voice to a message delivery method that has historically been transactional, and even cold, in nature. Want to learn more about how we get this done for our customers? Contact sales at hello@subtext.com.

For more customer stories and SMS marketing tips visit our blog.

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