Glossary of Everything SMS Terminology

Communication technology has its own lingo, and when we refer to SMS the acronyms play an essential role in the industry.

In this glossary you will find a succinct list of terms related to SMS and marketing, those that we use in Octopush the most often.

Are we missing something? Let us know in the contact page what other term comes to your mind.

A2P is the acronym for “Application to person”, and it refers to the sending of SMS to real people through a SMS delivering platform or by an SMS-API.

This usually covers bulk SMS delivery or the use of automations, instead of disclosing information by the phone with the company’s customer service staff.

Integration refers to create a connection between a system and any API.

A business can integrate an API to perform task such as data sharing, embedding of data, syncing data from several aggregators, among others. With the general goal of enhancing productivity through automatic processes.

To integrate the Octopush SMS-API please refer to our documentation.

At its origin, the term API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface. It refers to a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools that developers use to make applications to communicate between each other.

Nonetheless, current uses for the term API refers to productized software designed for the consumption of specific audiences.

SMS APIs, as software products, are standardized (typically HTTP and REST) sets of code that allow developers to manage an SMS delivery service by integrating it into a different software or application.

More information about Octopush API SMS here.

Frequently abbreviated as AR (for acknowledgement of receipt), is the confirmation that a ticket or payment has been received. The proof of delivery lies in this information or AR, which the recipient files to the sender to confirm the reception.

In SMS, it is possible to receive a notification, which is valid as an acknowledgement of receipt, once the recipient has received the SMS message.

With the Octopush SMS API an AR can be delivered via webhook.

Blacklisting takes place when a group or authority creates a list of individuals, countries or entities which they consider distrustful or unacceptable.

In mobile communications, the user can blacklist the reception of promotional SMS by replying with a specific short code (usually referred as the STOP mention). The SMS service won’t be able to deliver messages to any blacklisted numbers.

Delivering SMS in bulk means using a SMS platform to send the same text message (or a similar text message personalised with tags) to the totality, or a selected portion, of a business’ contact list at the same time.

This can take place for promotional or transactional purposes.

Read more about Bulk SMS here.

A callback is an executable in computer programming, sometimes called a post treatment function. A callback passes an argument from one code to another. Once this last code receives the argument, it is expected to call back (execute) the given argument at a given time.

Callbacks can be synchronous, when the execution of the argument is immediate; or asynchronous, when the execution of the argument happens at a later point in time.

For the Octopush API SMS, it is possible to register a callback URL to execute certain actions. Those callbacks are made by HTTP POST request.

Octopush SMS API uses callbacks to achieve the full integration of its services. Learn how to implement them here.

A chatbot is a software program powered by AI that emulates real-life dialogue with users. Businesses implement this feature in their websites and applications, with the goal of promoting automated interactions with their audience.

The use of a chatbot reduces human intervention in otherwise repetitive tasks and improves user experience.

Commercial SMS is one of the two types of text messages a SMS software can send (the other being transactional SMS). It has been conceived to send, as the name says, promotional content with the goal of driving sales.

Companies use commercial SMS to communicate special offers, coupon codes, flash sales, fidelity programs, cross-selling, and invitations. The interest is to build customer loyalty and increase the return of investment.

All commercial SMS require the receiver’s previous consent to send them.

Learn how to create a marketing strategy with commercial SMS here.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Which is the totality of processes and strategies a company implements to manage interactions with its customers and potential clients.

Typically, it encompasses departments such as marketing, sales, operations and support.

A CRM software is a centralized tool that helps businesses to organize and manage these actions by providing features such as trackings, database construction, planning, monitoring, campaigns, etc.

Octopush offers a seamless integration with CRM such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

Acronym for call to action. In marketing, CTAs are visual or textual cues inviting visitors to perform certain task while browsing or using the company services.

CTAs are mainly used to increase conversions.

Not sure of how to generate leads with a CTA in a message text?

In digital marketing, click through rate (abbreviated CTR) is a metric that helps businesses to measure the performance of their marketing campaigns. It consists in the ratio at which a certain URL address is clicked, an email or SMS is seen, to the number of users who watched the marketing material.

The formula goes as follows:

CTR often is calculated for Ads, but it also helps measure engagement in content, whether the user clicks on an anchor text, image or CTA.

A high CTR could mean the users are the most likely interacting with the content, thus the campaigns are successful. However, it is important to convey it with other statistics, as the CTR does not care for other factors such as customer satisfaction or sales.

Data Protection, also known as Data Privacy or Information Privacy, are the process, mechanisms and safeguards taken in place between the collection and the dissemination of data.

Information privacy, as a subject, covers from classification of the levels of accessibility granted for certain information (personal information and sensitive information), to the practices to follow to help keep the information safe from corruption, compromise or loss.

How Octopush applies the protection to your data here.

The U.K.’s Data Protection Act 2018 regulates how businesses can store and use consumers’ personal information.

In general terms. DPA requires that if a company wishes to collect and store a database of their customers’ details, they must check if they have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Companies are responsible of keeping that information secure and finally, and they must ask consent from individuals to hold this information.

To read the full text up to date, see the Official site.

HLR is short for Home Location Register, which is a register mobile operators keep for all the SIM phone numbers in their network.

It stores information ranging from phone numbers, their current state of use, and to current location of the subscriber.

More information about HLR visit our blog.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated phone system technology.

IVR systems can transform text to an AI speech synthesized voice. And use this voice to respond with pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio.

Companies implement this feature in their customer relationship management system to guide customers through simple problem solving instead of reaching to a human representative. Hence raising customer satisfaction.

Landing pages are websites designed with the single goal of pushing visitors down the purchasing funnel.

Visitors usually don’t arrive organically (from web browsers) to this page, instead they do it from an external cue such as an email, advertisement, or social media.

The visuals of the landing page usually match the ones of the brand that created them.

Their range of use comes from acquiring more leads to a specific promotion. They can belong to the main website or they can be specific microsites created outside the main domain.

Under a GSM-7 encoding, the maximum length of a SMS message is 160 characters. This number can drop dramatically to mere 70 characters maximum length when using special characters, non-Latin alphabets, or Latin accented characters.

However, to overcome such limitations, it is possible to implement long SMS.

Long SMS is a concatenation of several SMS messages, that the receiving mobile device recombines to display a single lengthier message.

Each composed SMS message is billed separately, and holds a maximum size of 153 characters instead of 160. Once it is recombined, the receiver handset sees a single long message.

Long SMS have a maximum length of 764 characters in non-Unicode.

Using special characters can reduce to 63 each fragment, in this case long SMS can reach a maximum length of 504 characters.

Long SMS is a feature Octopush offers on its Premium version.

The term mobile originated (frequently abbreviated as MO), belongs to the type of message that the customers send from their mobile phone.

A mobile originated message may be the first step for the buyer’s journey in an SMS marketing campaign; in which the customer responds to a promotional SMS.

A mobile terminating message (frequently abbreviated as MT) is any type of message sent to a mobile handset. It is in the mobile handset where the communication ends, regardless of the message source.

In the buyer’s journey from an SMS marketing campaign, it is common that the user prompts a MO message once they have received promotional content; when the marketer responds to this SMS, the generated message is an MT.

In marketing, open rate is a performance tracking metric that indicates how many people open or view an email or an SMS.

It is commonly expressed as a percentage. That percentage comes from dividing the number of messages opened by the number of messages sent.

In order to obtain a trustful open rate, the recipient must effectively view the message (it’s not enough reading the text through the push notification preview) and/or interact with it.

Learn about the fantastic 98% open rate for SMS here.

In sales, a lead is a potential customer that has not transitioned to purchasing.

When leads choose to be involved with the company, by taking a specific action that makes clear their consent and interest. But still they don’t buy the company’s product or service yet, it means they have opted-in as leads.

Learn how to invite your visitors to opt-in for your business here.

An OTP or a one-time password is an authorization method where a numeric or alphanumeric passcode is sent to users to log in to your service, make a transaction, verify a device etc.

As opposed to generic passcodes, a unique OTP is generated every time the users try to repeat the action, making it a secure method.

Apart from account management, OTP helps monitor unusual behaviour and prevents hacking or any other kind of cyberattacks.

More information about OTP in our blog.

Plugins are software component additions that users and developers can implement in computer programs, apps, websites and web browsers to enhance their features, add new capabilities, execute new tasks, and optimize its performance, among many others.

Depending on the software maker, and whether the software is made for several programs/web applications, etc. or for a single one, plugins can also be called addons.

Learn how to integrate Octopush services in Magento, Prestashop and WooCommerce, with their respective plugins.

A push notification is a special popup that appears on the top of a mobile device screen.

Different from SMS alerts, they depend on having their source app installed in the mobile phone’s system.

However, push notifications don’t require the user to be in their app, as publishers can deliver them at any time of the day.

Each mobile operating system has support for push notifications and their own services.

PECR is short for Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. They are derived from European law. Complementing it, and setting out more specific privacy rights on electronic communications.

The PECR applies to any electronic marketing methods, SMS texts and calls included. Also, website tracking (such as cookies) and Security of public electronic communications services.

More information in the ICO official guide.

Considered the evolution of the SMS, RCS or rich communication services, is a protocol between mobile telephone and their carriers.

Unlike SMS, RCS provides advanced capabilities that go further than simple text messaging and mirror online messaging platforms with features such as group chats, video calling, rich content, automation, polls, etc.

As RCS relies on the phone carrier’s services, they don’t need an Internet connection to function.

More information about RCS messaging here.

The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.

Learn how to take the right measures to comply with the RGPD here.

Software as a service, abbreviated as SaaS, is a web-based software distribution model, where customers acquire cloud based software on demand. In the SaaS model, the software provider manages access to the application, security, availability and performance.

Customers don’t need to install nor update their purchases, the only requirement is an internet connection.

Short codes, or shot numbers, are digital sequences used in SMS to execute an automated task when the user prompts them. Such as abbreviate dialing, blacklist the receiver’s number, opt-out or opt-in for a service, make a payment or donation, confirm the reception of the SMS, etc.

Short codes are usually between 5-6 characters length, either digits or a keyword, and shorter and easier to remember than phone numbers by design.

Also known as SMPP protocol, it’s short for Short Message peer-to-peer. This is an open, industry standard exchange protocol that allows transfer of SMS from applications (External Short Message Entities or ESME), SMS gateways or SMPP gateway to mobile telephones.

Although it generally uses two TCP/IP connections, a third one is also possible.

  1. Transmitter (from where the information comes)
  2. Receptor (who receives the information)
  3. Transceiver (double-sided communication)

SMS 2.0 or Rich SMS allows you to send a landing page to your contact list. This makes it very easy for the recipients to engage with the business, thus increasing your conversion rates.

The content shared through SMS 2.0 is customisable, so companies can tailor them according to their brand image and company theme.

Octopush offers this service to all our clients, check the SMS 2.0 features here.

This is another way of calling for the transactional SMS. It refers to all kinds of notifications coming through an SMS channel. These messages are sent to prospects to keep them informed.

Some examples of Alert SMS are shipping information, account verification with codes, order updates, and more.

More information: Ways to use SMS alerts

Automation is a set of technologies aimed at reducing human intervention in scheduled, repetitive tasks.

Hence, companies use SMS automation to send customisable SMS messages to their clients within a schedule.

This task executes automatically, with little to null involvement out of the initial programming.

From our blog: 3 examples of automation for eCommerce.

In marketing, an SMS campaign is an advertising and communications technique, consisting of a series of advertisement SMS messages sent to a certain group or target audience.

The goal of the SMS campaign is to convince its audience to take a certain action or to engage in some way with the company’s brand.

Check our guide for successful SMS campaigns here.

An SMS gateway is a software part of a telecommunication network, that control access from the SMS Center of a GSM service provider. It achieves it by connecting to the Internet or by using a GSM modem attached to a PC with a phone-to-PC data cable.

The SMS gateway allows sending SMS from a computer to mobile devices and vice versa. Developers can use gateway’s SMS source codes to create unique SMS solutions for their companies.

More information about Octopush SMS gateway here.

SMS marketing is a marketing channel that allows companies to deliver promotional content to their customers through text messaging or SMS.

Users opt-in for receiving promotional or commercial SMS from a company, and can opt-out any moment they want.

Check our guide for SMS marketing here.

Acronym for Short Message Service, SMS is a message channel created exclusively for mobile telephone. It relies on the mobile network carrier companies to function.

SMS messages consist in three parts: a sender phone number, a recipient phone number, and a message in text format. Some of its best characteristics are that it is small in data size and in length, and their deliverability is in real-time.

SMS software can send text messages from a PC to mobile phones, and allow two way communications as if it was another phone.

More information about our SMS service here.

An automated feature offered by many SMS software is to send scheduled or even triggered SMS to users as reminders to perform a specific task or remember a certain date.

Businesses sent their customers periodic reminders about upcoming appointments, election days, campaign rallies, registration deadlines, etc.

SMS reminders usually propose the option to cancel or reschedule appointments through text, in order to improve customer service.

From our blog: Send automatic reminders by connecting Zapier with Octopush.

A SMS router is a networking device that changes the flow of messages, directing them from one connection to another.

It can, for example, use the HLR of the recipient’s network and divert, copy, change the sender information or recipient phone number, or even replace the message text of inbound off-net messages, before they reach their target handsets.

An SMS routing table is a database of paths that activates once an SMS message is sent.

The system checks the match between the message and the route selected to its delivery.

If it’s not the correct path, the SMS routing table will pass over every available route until it finds the right match to drive the incoming SMS.

SMS software, also known as SMS marketing software or SMS service provider, is a service platform that allows business owners to design, deploy and manage text message marketing campaigns or transactional SMS to all or a portion of their customer’s phone database.

Many SMS software platforms present a variety of features such scheduled SMS, personalisation of the sender’s name, and customisable text tags, among others.

Usually the SMS software can be found as a cloud service type, or an API.

From our blog: How to choose the right SMS software for your business.

For the SMS service, transactional SMS is one of the two types of SMS you can create (the other is Commercial SMS).

Transactional SMS are automated texts that do not have commercial purposes for goal. They simply transmit the SMS receiver relevant information related to the service they contracted with the SMS Gateway client.

Transactional SMS can be of informing prouposes, such as reminders, confirmations, alerts, updates, news; or to promote brand engagement such as congratulations, motivational phrases, etc.

For more information: Ways to use transactional SMS

Also called two steps authentication or multifactor authentication, it’s a process to add a second layer of security for login credentials in business.

After typing the standard credentials, the user receives by SMS a randomized, short-live value code. The SMS text itself becomes part of the login verification procedure, as the user has to introduce the code to have access granted.

Companies automate the two factor authentication process by integrating an SMS API in their systems.

More about 2FA in our API documentation.

Two-way SMS is a service that allows users to send and receive an SMS from a dedicated number through a web messaging platform by using complete solutions or APIs. Two-way messaging is done using short codes or virtual phone numbers.

The idea behind two-way SMS is for businesses to engage with their customers by receiving feedback, multiplying interactions, or improving the customer support.

From our blog: Improve customer interactions with two ways SMS.

Unicode is short for universal character encoding. It covers text data of any language, modern and ancient, for software and information technology protocols.

This standardization of encoding allows the use of all kinds of letters, pictographic, punctuation and technical symbols in a single package. Assuring that systems will decode the text information as it is without risk of data corruption or errors.

A virtual number, or virtual phone number, is a dedicated number that is not linked to an specific landline or handheld device. They share the feature of a traditional phone number such as country calling code, nonetheless.

Virtual numbers are a contracted service acquired as an application or software, and their price is relatively cheap. They can be used from laptops, desktops, handsets, and more. Owners of a virtual phone number can forward calls, record voice messages, set an answer machine, and identify callers.

More information about virtual phone numbers from our blog. Or check our service’s features here.

Voice SMS or VMS is an SMS solution that either uses a pre-recorder audio message or a speech synthesizing tool to transform input text from an SMS into a voice call. Its goal is to reach all or a certain number of users from a phone database.

Reaching with voice SMS their customers cost a fraction of the price of phone calls, therefore companies use it to automate processes such as timely communications, reminders, or delivery emergency alerts.

Check Octopush’s voice SMS service features here.

In computer programming, a Webhook is a POST request sent to an URL. The data produced by the webhook is stocked in JSON or XML for later treatment.

When it comes to API, this is the way a user makes direct request to the API in order to obtain a response. Such request are usually repetitive task such as performing updates, management, notifications and data collection.

Octopush SMS API uses webhooks to manage different callbacks.