SMS Compliance & Regulations

Various SMS guidelines and compliance regulations have been developed to ensure consumer protection from messaging abuse and SPAM:

Cellular Telecommunications Industry Associate (CTIA)

This 501(c)6 nonprofit trade association represents the wireless communications industry. CTIA advocates for legislative and regulatory policies at all levels to improve the countries wireless industry. The CTIA has developed a guideline document for Messaging Principles and Best Practices.


Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

Enacted in 1991 by Congress, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is the primary anti-telemarketing law in the United States and encompasses text messages as they are considered a communication tool similar to telephone calls.  Read the full Telephone Consumer Protection Act mandate

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC focuses on protecting consumers from unwanted SMS messages and enforces the TCPA. Read the full FCC ruling on Robocalls and Telemarketing.

SMS Guideline Overview

In addition to the guidelines and various entities described here, be sure to thoroughly review your Kerauno Launch contract language for regulatory information prior to building Campaigns and sending messages.

DescriptionRequirements
Call to Action

Standards: 

  • Clear identification of the company or organization sending SMS messages
  • Description of product or service being communicated
  • Telephone number or Short Code number sending the message
  • What it means to Opt-in to communications and any associated feeds
  • Applicable Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy links, & Customer Service contact information
  • Anticipated message frequency disclosure
  • 'Message & data rates may apply' disclosure
Consumer Opt-InCollect confirmation of consent to send messages.
SMS Consent Confirmation MessageAutomatically send a confirmation message when a Contact signs up via Keyword or widget.
  • Provide option to opt-out via STOP keyword
    • STOP confirmation that no further messages will be routed to the consumer
  • Provide help option via HELP keyword
    • HELP response providing help links or contact information
  • Include link to Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
  • 'Message & data rates may apply' disclosure
Prohibited Content
  • SMS text messages cannot contain topics of the following nature: Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, or Tobacco.
  • Do not send or request information identified as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as medical data, financial information, account numbers, or passwords. 
SMS Message ViolationsMessages failing to provide the following are in violation:
  • Identification of the sending entity
  • Clear product or service description
  • 'Message & data rates may apply' disclosure
  • Link to Terms & Conditions 
  • Link to Privacy Policy
  • HELP information via HELP keyword
  • Opt-out instructions via STOP keyword

Message Handling violations: 

  • Excessive message frequency or messages received after normal business hours
  • Sending unsolicited messages to consumers that have not opted in
  • Responding incorrectly to a STOP message from a consumer
  • Continuing to send messages to consumers that have opted out
  • Lack of response to a HELP message from a consumer

Prohibited topics: 

  • Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (SHAFT)
    • An exception is age-gated short codes provisioned specifically for adults of legal age for alcohol and tobacco. 
  • At this time, compliance guidelines do not exist regarding the cannabis industry.  Until federal regulations are developed, our recommendation is to avoid sending such messages.
Words to Avoid
  • Refrain from using using special characters within Keywords and Keywords that could be auto-corrected.
  • To avoid confusion, do not use reserved Keywords such as STOP or HELP in all caps within an outbound message.
  • Avoid the word 'Free' whenever possible. Using it can lead to overage fees for consumers.
Sweepstakes and Contests

Because both state and federal laws regulate sweepstakes, organizations are encouraged to speak with their Legal department prior to creating any sort of contest campaign within Launch.

List of Approved CTIA Abbreviations

TermAbbreviation
MessageMsg
Per MonthMo, ea. mo., or /mth
Per/
TextTxt
Message and Data Rates May ApplyMsg&Data Rates May Apply

Messaging Best Practices

In addition to following the SMS Guidelines above, be sure to follow these additional marketing standards when sending SMS messages: 

  • Provide value to your Contacts with each message by sharing useful news and exclusive discounts. Share content that is exclusive to SMS recipients. 
  • Include a Call To Action in each message encouraging your audience to participate in a specific manner.
  • Only send messages during regular business hours. Messaging before 8am and after 7pm should be avoided. Also be mindful of Contact lists that span multiple time zones. 
  • Do not send messages too often. When using a Drip Campaign, schedule 2-6 SMS messages per month. Any more than that may seem repetitive and annoying. 
  • When referencing online purchase content, include an embedded URL in the message directed to a secure Widget or Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant gateway for payment processing.

Learn about the Advantages & Disadvantages of both Short and Long Codes.