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What is an SMS Aggregator?



In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson discusses SMS aggregators. Prefer to read instead? No problem, please see the post below. You can also find answers to all of your SMS marketing questions in our Q&A video library; click here to browse.

How Does a Brand Send an SMS Message to a Customer?

An SMS aggregator plays a vital role in sending an SMS message to a customer. So, before we dive into what exactly an SMS aggregator is and how it functions, let’s examine how a brand sends an SMS message to a customer.

When a brand, let’s say Target, wants to send a text message to a customer who uses AT&T as their wireless carrier, Target has to send the text message to AT&T first, and then AT&T has to forward that text message to their customer. The same has to happen across all the other wireless carriers.

So as you can imagine, companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint don’t want to deal with thousands of brands sending them text messages. This means that wireless carriers would have to work with every single brand that is sending a text message to a customer, from an Amazon-sized organization to a mom-and-pop pizza place. In addition, the wireless carriers would be the primary contact for any IT support issues or other problems. This led wireless carriers to develop a middle man, and this is where SMS aggregators come into the picture.

What is an SMS Aggregator?

An SMS aggregator sits in between brands and wireless carriers. There are only a few SMS aggregators in the United States. An SMS aggregator does the work of sending a text message to every carrier to be delivered to a customer on behalf of the brand. For example, if Target was running a promotion and wanted to send a text message to their database of mobile numbers, Target would have to work with every single wireless carrier that their customers use. But with an SMS aggregator, Target simply provides an SMS aggregator with that information, and all of the work is done on behalf of the brand.

This has made it slightly easier for brands and wireless carriers. Brands only have to send their messages to an SMS aggregator, and then the aggregator figures out which wireless carrier that phone number is using, and forwards it to the right wireless carrier. For a while this was the best solution, but SMS aggregators realized that working with brands was extremely time-consuming, as brands required a lot of support, and the SMS aggregators had to provide the brands with software to streamline the process. This is where SMS software providers came into play, and that’s what Tatango is.

What is an SMS Software Provider?

An SMS software provider sits in between the brand and the SMS aggregator. SMS aggregators require their clients to sign huge contracts; they have a very complex product to set up and they require high minimums that a lot of brands cannot meet on their own. So, SMS software providers like Tatango work with thousands of brands to help them easily connect with customers via SMS messages. Tatango sends out SMS messages on behalf of a brand and alleviates the stress of dealing with an SMS aggregator, which is complex and time-consuming.

SMS aggregators and software providers are sometimes thought to serve the same purpose, but this is not true. Learn more about the differences between SMS aggregators and SMS software providers here.

Working with an SMS software provider like Tatango creates the following workflow:

  1. A brand works with Tatango to craft a message for its customers.
  2. Tatango sends that message with a customer list to the SMS aggregator.
  3. The SMS aggregator then sends that message to the appropriate wireless carriers.
  4. The wireless carries send that message to the customer’s mobile device.

So, that’s how a message from a brand typically gets to a consumer, and where SMS aggregators fit into that process. The best part is, brands no longer have to worry about dealing with wireless carriers and not qualifying to work directly with SMS aggregators. SMS software providers, like Tatango, give the opportunity for any organization—no matter their size—to effectively communicate with its customers via text message.

Ready to start sending text messages to your customers? Check out our platform and all the great things we can help you accomplish; click here to learn more.

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