Get a Local Identity with Area Code Geomatch

June 08, 2017
Written by
Billy Chia

  • Sends messages from phone numbers in the same area code as the recipient.
  • Available for recipients in the US and Canada.
  • Free public beta now open.

The pipes under your kitchen sink have failed again. You’re not sure if there’s a problem with the compression fitting on the P-trap or if your tailpiece is corroded, but the under-sink cabinet is starting to resemble swampland in the everglades. You need help fast. You call up a local plumber with great ratings and set an appointment for the afternoon. Then you get a text from the plumber, “I’m running a bit early, are you ok to meet at 1:45pm?”.

The only problem is—the text comes in from an out-of-state number. Panic and doubt set in. Did you call the wrong service? Was there a mix up? Will you ever be able to wash the mounting pile of dishes without completely waterlogging your floorboards?

When you interact with a local business you expect them to have a local phone number. Texting from the same area code as the recipient is vital to a smooth and delightful customer experience. This is why we’re happy to announce Area Code Geomatch—a new feature of Twilio's Messaging Services that handles delivery intelligence for you. A Messaging Service can now automatically prioritize sending from phone numbers in the same area code as the recipient in the US and Canada. Area Code Geomatch is available today for all Twilio accounts and it’s free to use. You can enable it on your messaging services in the Console.

Local Masked Numbers: Privacy, Stickiness, and Comfort

In the US, many home service professionals rely on leads distributed from larger companies. Local plumbers, contractors, and maids use marketplace apps like Porch, Handy, and Thumbtack to connect with potential customers. These services use masked numbers to anonymize the communication by creating a mapping between a Twilio number and user’s number. The user interacts with the Twilio number and the text is proxied through to the other side.

Masked Phone Numbers

Masked phone numbers have various benefits for the provider, consumer, and the marketplace host:

  • Customers and service providers don’t need to share their personal numbers. With a masked number they can keep their real number private and don’t need to worry about strangers having their phone number.
  • Helps to keep customers on the platform instead of negotiating directly the next time they need service.

To avoid jarring situations and keep customers comfortable, Twilio users build “local presence” into their SMS alerts. This is a tricky set of logic that ensures each customer gets a text from a number in their local area code. It requires parsing the customer’s phone number, maintaining a database of area code overlays, and searching through a stored pool of numbers to find an area code or overlay match. With Area Code Geomatch, this now happens automatically without any need to write extra code. (And, with the Twilio’s recently announced Proxy API, creating masked numbers becomes even easier. )

Getting Started

Enabling Area Code Geomatch is simple:

  1. Visit the Messaging Services section of the Console.
    • If you aren’t already using Messaging Services, create a new service and add phone numbers for each area code / overlay you want.
  2. Click on the messaging service name to view the configuration page.
  3. Under “Features”, check Area Code Geomatch.
  4. Click save to enable the service.

Enable Geomatch in the Console
That’s it. Be sure to add phone numbers to your messaging service for every location (area codes or overlays) you want to send texts in. Your Messaging Service will automatically select a number in the same area code or an overlay of your intended recipient. If it can’t find a matching number, it will prioritize another US or Canada number.

We can’t wait to see what you build!