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SMS Marketing Terms You Need to Know

Like any marketing channel, SMS has its own lingo and jargon. This lesson covers all of the texting terms you need to know.


Before we get into how to get started with SMS marketing, it’s important to go over the jargon. This glossary covers the basic texting terminology.

Once you master the lingo, you’ll be ready to master your SMS marketing strategy.


SMS stands for Short Message Service and is more commonly known as texting. It’s a way to send text-only messages to or between phones.


MMS means Multimedia Messaging Service, and it’s a highly effective mix of text and graphic content such as images and GIFs to generate more interest in your marketing message.

Text Campaign/SMS Campaign

These terms refer to any SMS marketing activities that involve sending text messages to consumers.

A2P Messaging

Application-to-person (A2P) messaging is the process of sending mobile messages from an application or online platform to a mobile user.

SMS Short Code

Short codes are 5 or 6-digit numerical sequences that can be used to send and receive SMS and MMS messages.They are designed to be easier to read and remember than telephone numbers.

SMS Long Code

Long codes are standard telephone numbers that can be used to send and receive SMS and MMS messages.

Short Link

Short links are URLs that have been shortened using a link shortening service for use in SMS communications. They may also be referred to as “mobile tracking links” or simple “mobile links.”

SMS Keywords

An SMS keyword is a word or phrase that customers text to an SMS Short Code or Long Code to sign up for actions like receiving SMS marketing communications, entering a giveaway, or receiving a special offer.


Characters refer to the number of letters, numbers, special characters, and spaces allowed in an SMS message, generally 160 characters.

Bulk SMS/Text Blast

Bulk SMS messaging, also known as text blasts, is the practice of sending a large number of SMS messages to the mobile phones of a predetermined group of recipients at once.

SMS Flow/Automation

An SMS Flow or automation is a sequence of automated actions based on different triggers, including flows for first-time customers, cart abandonment, and customer support.

Conversational Flows

Conversational flows are 2-way communications which provide the recipient with an opportunity to respond to the message.

Transactional SMS Messages

Transactional SMS messages provide customers with information about their order, including confirmation, status, and delivery.


An SMS Bot is a chatbot designed to support conversational content via text messaging.


Opting in is when a customer explicitly signs up to receive SMS communication from a business.


Opting out is the act of unsubscribing from a business’s text messages or declining to opt-in.


The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) is an organization that represents the U.S. wireless communications industry.

S.H.A.F.T. Guidelines

The CTIA-created and monitored S.H.A.F.T. is an acronym which stands for Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco, and it outlines the categories of text messages that can’t be sent due to moral and legal issues.


The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is a set of regulations from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that aim to protect consumers’ privacy and reduce spam. It specifically prohibits certain types of automated calls, texts, and faxes.


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European data protection and privacy regulation that protects the privacy and personal data of individuals within the European Union and includes compliance guidelines on text marketing.

Now that you know your texting terminology, it’s time to get started with SMS marketing.