Understanding SMS Compliance

SMS Compliance: What it is And What it’s Not

SMS Compliance is often a topic that goes overlooked. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, a whopping 781 Billion text messages are sent monthly. Nearly 49% of those messages are spam. Bringing this point home, how many text messages do you receive in a day? Plenty, right? To emphasize this even more, the chances are that two out of every five text message you receive each day may be classified as spam. No one is comfortable with this, because spam can be pretty invasive and distracting.

What can we do about it?

In today’s post, we would talk about SMS compliance and it’s benefits to you and your audience.

SMS Compliance: What it is And What it’s Not

SMS compliance requires marketers adherence to a set of rules, regulations and best practices set-up by the FCC, industry associations, and marketing commissions. These organizations guide the transmission of bulk text messages, telemarketing calls, and auto-dialed calls either from person-2-person (P2P) or application-2-person (A2P).

In other words, they protect your users from receiving unsolicited text messages and calls from pesky marketers, who only want to get into your wallet with the least resistance.

Organizations that regulate SMS Compliance

There are three different bodies that provide insight and guidance for SMS compliance. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the only entity with the legal clout and authority to prosecute violators.

  1. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), regulates interstate communications by radio, wire, television, satellite, and cable. Additionally, they are responsible for enforcing federal law and TCPA regulations. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulates telemarketing calls, auto-dialed calls, text messages, etc. The FCC issues the rules and regulations that execute the TCPA.
  2. CTIA stands for Cellular Telecommunication Industry Association. An organization that represents the U.S. wireless communications industry and the companies in the mobile ecosystem. The CTIA makes the rules about text message marketing and enforces those rules through random audits. Violation of these rules will lead to being put on a blacklist or losing a short code.
  3. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), a global non-profit trade association comprised of over 800 member companies from around the world. They focus on publishing industry best practices and guides for SMS marketers.

Important things to remember about SMS Compliance

  •  A business should only deliver SMS messages to those who opt-in for them. In other words, they are giving you permission and want to receive the text messages.
  • Being SMS compliant keeps you out of any legal troubles with the TCPA, therefore you can avoid class action lawsuits like this $16.335 million TCPA settlement by Papa John’s.
  • The procedure to opt-in and out, and the type of message subscribers would receive are clearly spelled out.
  • Provides the best practices manual for everyone involved. Saving you the marketer from being on the wrong side of the TCPA.
  • Reduces the number of spam complaints against your marketing campaigns.


Being SMS compliant serves as a solid framework for improving your SMS marketing [include an inbound link to a related article] campaign. Thereby becoming better senders because you understand the importance of compliance with the rules and regulations. In the long run, building an opt-in based list and grooming that list with better messages and offers tailored to their needs, will strongly improve your marketing campaigns. An added benefit of being SMS compliant is this, your list will be interested in your messages, they’ll know what to expect, and their trust level for your brand will see an increase.

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