For years, we have been using SMS to connect and communicate with others. And, it is still one of the most popular modes of communication. Worldwide, over 23 billion text messages are sent every day (Forbes). Have you ever noticed the different types of messages you send and receive on your phone? Most likely this is the reason why you are here, right?
Let’s start by considering some real-life examples.
Example 1: You sent a text message to your colleague wishing her “Happy Birthday”.
Example 2: Your favorite skincare brand launched a new product. You received a message from them informing you of the same.
Example 3: You just made a transaction and received an SMS informing you about the transaction details.
Example 4: You executed a marketing campaign for your business. You sent SMS messages to your customers for the ‘festive discounts’.
All the above examples will help you understand the different types of messages. The first example showcases ‘Personal Communication’. The second example is about a ‘Promotional Message’. The third one is a ‘Transactional Message’. And the fourth one is again a ‘Promotional Message’ but the only difference in this case is that you are the business.
Now, you have got a basic idea about different types of messages. Let’s understand the concept from the technical perspective.
In the messaging industry, there are various types of terminologies used among which A2P, P2P, and P2A are quite common. These terminologies explain different types of messaging technologies. Let us go deep into these technologies one by one.
What is A2P Messaging?
A2P meaning ‘Application-to-person messaging’ is a type of SMS a mobile user receives from an application. This type of messaging traffic is also known as A2P SMS. Some common examples of A2P messages include:
- Appointment reminders
- One-time passwords using 2FA
- Banking notifications
- Loyalty programs
- Order confirmations and shipment tracking updates
- Promotional messages from businesses
- Alerts and emergency notifications
- Weather updates or news alerts
- Notifications from social media platforms
- Flight or travel information from airlines
Another example could be a message sent by a clothing retailer who sends out a text message that says:
A2P SMS has today become one of the most important marketing tools that are used by enterprises and marketers for promotional purposes. Banks and financial institutions have been using A2P SMS to deliver event-based SMS notifications to customers. Some examples of A2P SMS of financial institutions include withdrawal notifications, mini-statements, cash deposit alerts, check clearance alerts, etc.
Businesses use A2P Messaging through SMS API integration. A web interface is provided by SMS platform providers to enterprises, which can be used to avail the A2P SMS services.
Key Benefits of A2P SMS
A2P messages are typically meant for business use and offer several key benefits:
- Improves Customer Engagement: A2P messages can be personalized to cater to individual recipients. This adds more relevance to the communication and results in better engagement and loyalty from the customers.
- Reduces Operational Costs: A2P messaging is automated in nature which helps reduce the cost of running a business. A simple example is – automated appointment reminders.
- Respects Customer Preferences: A2P messaging provides customers with the option of opt-in and opt-out mechanisms. This allows customers to have complete control over the messages they receive from a business.
What is P2P Messaging?
P2P Messaging or Person-to-Person messaging is also known as P2P SMS in the SMS industry. This type of messaging is an exchange of messages between two mobile users. Usually, an end user form of communication, P2P Messages is low volume messages executed via a Rest API. For a successful P2P SMS communication, both person – the SMS sender and receiver of the SMS messages need to be subscribed to a mobile network operator.
Being human-to-human communication, this type of messaging process is known as person-to-person SMS. On many occasions, P2P communication can be between a business representative and a user. For example, a company representative sends an SMS and the user replies to it sending another text message.
- Offers Personalization: Like A2P messaging, P2P SMS messages can be personalized with the recipient’s name or relevant information. This makes them more engaging and tailored to individuals.
- Customer Support: P2P messaging is a great tool for businesses to provide real-time customer support, answer inquiries, and resolve the issues of their customers.
- Ensures Security: P2P SMS messages are relatively secure. This is mainly because these messages are sent directly to the recipient’s phone number i.e. only between two specified parties. So it gets more difficult for hackers or third parties to intercept and read messages.
What is P2A Messaging?
P2A Messaging or Person-to-Application Messaging is also known as P2A SMS. As the name suggests, P2A is the process of sending SMS by a mobile user to an application. A mobile user can initiate a communication by sending an SMS to some business registered numbers such as 5757, 3821, etc. When combined with A2P, P2A becomes a form of a two-way messaging system. Brands use this type of text communication to provide a call to action for any message campaign.
Examples of P2A Messaging are:
- TV voting campaigns
- SMS lottery campaigns
Being a 2-way messaging, P2A is nowadays becoming quite popular as customers can interact with brands easily. For brands, it’s a quick way to attain clients’ feedback on a certain business campaign.
Here’s a practical example of a P2A (Person-to-Application) message interaction:
- Enables Self-Service: P2A messaging presents users with self-service options. This allows them to perform different types of tasks like checking their bank account balances or making travel reservations without human intervention.
- Reduced Friction: P2A messaging minimizes the effort required from users to get information or assistance, reducing friction in the customer journey.
- Useful Insights: P2A interactions are a great source of valuable business insights that can help businesses make informed decisions and improvise their products and services.
- Automation: P2A messaging often involves chatbots or automated systems. With predefined responses, P2A systems ensure quick response and also handle routine inquiries, speeding up the process.
How to Choose the Right Messaging Type?
The type of messaging chosen by a business directly impacts the effectiveness of communication with customers as well as streamlining business operations. This is the main reason why making the right choice is paramount. The below table highlights the primary characteristics and uses cases of A2P, P2P, and P2A messaging. Let’s have a look!
Comparison Table : A2P vs P2P vs P2A
Why Choose A2P Messaging?
Automation is the number one USP of A2P Messaging. If you are a business that wants to send messages to a large audience without any human intervention, then A2P messaging can be the ideal choice. For practical understanding, we can take the example of transactional messages that are sent to customers every time they do a transaction. Using SMS Platform, these messages can be fully automated adding more efficiency to the business.
Why Choose P2P Messaging?
The primary use of P2P is to exchange messages between users for personal conversations. Use P2P for personal communication with friends, family, or informal groups. It’s the best choice for building personal relationships and sharing multimedia content. In the context of business, P2P has only limited usage.
Why Choose P2A Messaging?
If you’re a business looking to streamline customer interactions, P2A is the way to go. Implement chatbots and automation for efficient customer support and information retrieval.
SMS is still today one of the most effective marketing tools despite the popularity of OTT apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, etc. A2P, P2A, and P2P have their respective relevance in the communication industry. We’ve explored the versatility of A2P campaigns, the usefulness of P2A, and the personal touch of P2P. It’s evident that each messaging mode plays a crucial role in keeping us connected with businesses, applications, and one another.
Note- This post was updated with the latest information on 30-10-23.