A2P messaging has revolutionized how political organizations raise money, generate awareness, increase votes, and win elections. If you’re new to SMS marketing or not sure what A2P messaging is, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn more about A2P messaging and how political organizations are using it to outrank their competition and win their closest races.
Difference Between A2P and P2P Messaging
A2P (app-to-person) text messages are sent by an app to a person, just as the name describes. Standard text messages, the kind we’ve all been exchanging for 20 years or so, are P2P (person-to-person) messages. When you text your significant other that you’re on your way home from work and suggest picking up Thai for dinner, you’re engaging in P2P messaging. This is how text messaging started.
But a good idea is bound to be improved upon, and P2P messaging was no exception. This is especially true considering that 90% of text messages are opened within three minutes. There was little chance that businesses, and eventually, political campaigns could ignore that kind of communication power.
Soon developers created platforms that made it possible to send text messages to thousands, even millions of people, at one time. These mass messages look like any other text message, with all the intimacy of a text message. The term app-to-person, or A2P, came about because mass text messaging platforms are a form of application sending messages to people.
Advantages of A2P Messaging
A2P messaging offers some considerable advantages for political campaigns. Below are some of the most underrated benefits of A2P messaging.
The mere reach possible with A2P messaging is perhaps one of its greatest advantages. Tatango is a leading political A2P messaging service, having been guiding the industry in political text messaging expertise for more than 14 years. The Tatango platform is unrivaled in text messaging speeds and volumes, sending as many as six million messages per hour.
Text messages have a 99% open rate, and as you just learned above, 90% of those messages are opened within three minutes. A whopping 78% of consumers say text messaging is the fastest way to reach them. With political campaigns, timing is often critical. It’s important to be the first one to break news, own an angle, and announce your stance on critical policy decisions. Text messaging is virtually the only platform where you can be sure that recipients will actually see, open, and read your messages.
Ability to Segment
Tatango can help you send messages to specific groups of people by segmenting your subscriber list based on your subscribers’ location, income, age, donation activity and levels, and other demographic information they may have provided. Segmenting your list by ZIP code and time zone can also help you reach the right people at the right time and avoid texting someone at 3:00 a.m.
Access to Subscribers
In less than three decades, cell phones have become the most ubiquitous communication device known to humans. If you leave home and discover two blocks out that you forgot your cell phone, chances are you’ll turn back to get it. According to a recent Pew Research study, cell phone ownership is at 97% nationwide, and 85% of those phones are smartphones. Among 18- to 49-year-olds, a statistical 100% own a cell phone.
Studies show that people check their cell phones every ten minutes (some surveys say every six minutes). Their cell phone is an extension of themselves. Two-thirds of cell phone owners sleep with their cell phones at arm’s reach.
What Political Campaigns Can Do with A2P Messaging
How seriously have political campaigns embraced A2P text messaging? In October 2020, the last full month of the 2020 presidential campaign, candidates up and down the ballot sent 5 billion political text messages. Below are just some of the things your political organization can do with A2P messaging.
A2P text messaging has made a significant impact on small-dollar donations. In the 2020 presidential election, 49% of Donald Trump’s $773,954,550 in donations came from small donors. For Biden, 38.94% of his $1,044,187,828 in donations came from small donors. This kind of fundraising wasn’t relegated just to the presidential election, either. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York’s Fourteenth Congressional District raised 78.16% of her 2020 re-election campaign funding in small-dollar donations, totaling $18,900,658. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District raised 66.19% of his budget in small-dollar donations—another impressive figure, $12,122,206.
Get Out the Vote (GOTV)
It’s easy to get distracted on Election Day and forget to vote. With A2P text messaging, campaigns can easily send voters Election Day reminders. They can also send links to help voters find their polling place or even offer rides to the polls.
The COVID-19 pandemic also drastically changed how people cast their votes. Some of those changes will likely be argued in the legislature for years, but some are here to stay. Election campaigns need to ensure voters know all their voting options, and A2P text messaging is the perfect way to share that information.
Social media quickly gained popularity among politicians thanks to how easy it is to share photos and links on those platforms. However, campaigns are now discovering their content is subject to the whims of algorithms, and censorship has also become a growing concern.
A2P text messaging doesn’t have these problems. MMS messages can include graphics and links. Campaigns can send voters early announcements, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and even personalized messages from the candidate—and they can be sure the messages will reach recipients.
Members of various political parties in the US have developed fundraising platforms to enhance political fundraising. Tatango has worked with these platforms to maximize their potential through seamless integration, resulting in very powerful fundraising capabilities.
Since 2004, ActBlue has helped Democratic candidates at all levels bring in more than $8 billion from small-dollar donors. WinRed, debuted by Republicans in the 2020 election, did well in its first outing, bringing in $130 million in the first quarter of 2020.
Short Codes, Vanity Codes, Key Words
Campaigns using A2P text messaging can acquire a short code.
You’ve seen short codes before. These are five- or six-digit phone numbers used for sending and receiving text messages. A campaign can lease a short code from the Short Code Registry. One of the biggest advantages of a short code is that it’s much more memorable than a 10-digit phone number (also known as a long code). A vanity short code is even better, especially one that translates into a prominent word in your campaign or a number with a repeating, easy-to-remember pattern. Vanity short codes cost more, but they pay off.
Use keywords along with your short code to tailor messages to specific regions or discover voters’ hot-button issues. For example, “Text GEORGIA to 12345” conveys exactly who that message is meant to reach.
Keywords also help make list segmentation easier. Perhaps you initially contacted a supporter from Georgia during the primary campaign, and they opted in to receive your messages. During the general election, you might want to contact just the Georgia residents on your list to invite them to a campaign appearance or raise donations after the national convention. Segmenting your list to single out all Georgia residents will make that task much easier.
How the TCPA Applies to A2P Text Messaging
If you’re using A2P text messaging, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) applies to you. The TCPA is the set of regulations that helps protect Americans against spam, unwanted phone calls, and unwanted text messages. It specifically protects consumers against unwanted phone calls through auto-dialed systems or pre-recorded messages. This act also protects consumers against unwanted text messages, spam text messages sent by scammers, and unsolicited election-related texting campaigns. Partnering with a platform such as Tatango can help ensure your campaign is TCPA compliant. We make it our business to know the TCPA and guide our clients on compliance to avoid costly fines (download our TCPA e-book).
Partner with Tatango to Use A2P Messaging to Win Elections
Tatango has worked with political candidates and organizations for more than 14 years. If you’re ready to use A2P text messaging to connect with your supporters, let our political text messaging experts help! Contact us today to get started.