SMPP vs SMTP Mobile Marketing
There are two ways to send a text message. The difference on the surface may not seem like much but behind the scenes it can mean the difference between a successful mobile marketing campaign and one that leaves a sour taste in your mouth for all things mobile.
The difference lies in the way the text messages are sent from a mobile marketing platform and the subscribers mobile phone. You may notice when searching for a text marketing partner for your business, some companies have to good to be true pricing that include “unlimited text messages included!” Others such as Moto Message include a package of text credits but also charge a few cents for additional text credits.
These providers of unlimited text message marketing packages typically send messages using SMTP. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol also known as “Email to SMS” or “Standard Delivery.” The company is sending the message through an email gateway on the cell phone carriers network. My Verizon phone can accept text messages by addressing the message to my cell phone number @vtext.com. The email message will appear as the text message.
The protocol we use SMPP, Short Message Peer-to-Peer Protocol, is also known by “SMS”, “Short Code” or “Express” messaging. This is the method approved by cell phone carriers and was designed for the sending and receiving of text messages. The messages transfer through the cell or SMS network as designed and not the email network which was not built to handle text messages.
Let’s look at the major differences that separate SMPP and SMTP mobile marketing:
1. Speed: Messages sent through the SMTP email channel can take hours if not days to reach their destination. Couple that with email filters that can zap 50% of the messages sent from ever reaching their intended destination. On the other hand, SMPP messages are routed through SMS aggregator’s with high outputs up to 500 messages a second. When you send a text blast out to a subscriber list of 500 people, you know the messages are going to reach your subscribers and within minutes your message is being read.
2. Cost: To start a SMTP platform, you need a simple website and a email server. This can be done in a few hours. There is no cost to the company to send these text messages through the email channel. On the other hand a true SMS or SMPP marketing company must create software that will interact with one of 9 SMS aggregator’s in the US that handle all text message traffic. After software development there is an 8-12 week approval process in which each cell phone carrier must approve the company and shortcode for commercial use. SMTP companies face no approval process as this method of sending text messages is not approved for any use. SMS companies must pay for each text message sent, connectivity and output to ensure messages are sent to every subscriber with ensured delivery of the highest speed.
3. Reliability: Cell phone carriers are constantly changing these SMTP email gateways in an effort to prevent companies from sending text messages to their customers. Companies using this protocol are not notified of changes and usually only become aware when clients complain of poor results and they have to try to find the new email addresses for each cell phone carrier. SMPP or SMS companies do not face this issue as we work with SMS aggregator’s who have direct relationships and connections with all cell phone carries.
4. Regulations: SMTP channels are not built for or cleared for commercial use. This is why cell phone carriers are constantly changing the email addresses and messages are buffered when sending. Plain and simple, it is not legal and within the terms and conditions of the cell phone carriers. SMPP or SMS was designed for commercial use and is heavily protected by the FCC and CAN-SPAM act to ensure compliance. Businesses have lost their entire subscriber list without notice when SMTP companies are shut down by government agencies. SMS companies do not face this risk as we are always in compliance by sending messages correctly and working directly with carriers.
For those that value their marketing dollars and want to be sure that when they start a mobile marketing campaign using text marketing will get results, SMPP or SMS marketing is the only clear choice. Don’t risk your business and marketing by using a SMS marketing company that sends text messages through SMTP channels. Look for companies that DO NOT offer unlimited text marketing plans and charge a fee per each text credit used.
About the author
Shane has been in the restaurant business his entire life. Working as a cook in fine dinning, owning multiple pizza parlors around Boston and as a one time owner of the oldest bar in Boston, The Red Hat. Now he uses his experience to write marketing guides and articles and act as customer support liason, all in the name of helping his fellow small business owners succeed.