2024 guide to scaling your SMS messaging solutions

Learn how to grow your digital reach and build customer loyalty through SMS and messaging channels

2024 guide to scaling your SMS messaging solutions

Customer engagement has become a cornerstone of running a successful business. And with the expansion of technology and digital first engagement, there are exciting opportunities to grow and expand the reach of your business. However, when a business expands into new messaging channels, geographic regions, or increases the amount of messages sent to customers, there are hurdles along the way that can bring growth to a screeching halt. 

Twilio is here to help you wade through the complexities of the SMS/MMS messaging space, whether you’re an independent software vendor (ISV) looking to grow your customer base, or a business looking to engage directly with consumers. In this guide we’ll highlight the common hurdles that come with growing your SMS messaging solution, plus how to identify and avoid them so you can strategically engage with businesses or consumers at scale. However, we aren’t at liberty to give you or your organization legal advice relating to compliance and geo-specific regulations.

The building blocks of an SMS messaging solution: choosing the right phone numbers

The first step towards scaling your messaging solution is choosing the right phone number. Different application-to-person (A2P) phone numbers have different capabilities, from varying messaging throughput to global reach to ideal use cases. 

This means that as you look to expand your reach, you need to have the right phone number. Below are the main categories of phone numbers and messaging channels you will see around the world for business messaging.

Global phone number types

Short codes

These are five- or six-digit phone numbers (ex. 234546) that have a global reach. Short code numbers go through a six to 10-week approval and screening process with cellular carriers, which allows their traffic to experience the highest possible delivery. 

Short codes are used best for high volume, transactional messages such as a weather alert to a community or any notifications with critical deliverability needs. 

Alphanumeric SenderIDs

This is a phone number type that can comprise of alphabetical and numerical characters instead of only numeric codes. It allows customers to personalize the sender “from” name to a string that represents a business or brand, like Twilio. 

Alphanumeric SenderIDs can be utilized across a variety of use cases such as one-time-passwords, account notifications, and promotions.

National and local numbers

When sending messages in a region outside of your main area of business, you will come across national phone numbers for specific countries, like 10 digit United Kingdom long-codes. Capabilities and use cases vary, but they can be pivotal for business messaging when you want to establish a local presence within a new region.

North American phone number types

A2P 10-digit long codes (10DLC)

A phone number type within the United States of America that everyone is familiar with, it has an attached area code based on location (ex. 415-333-3333). Originally, local long codes were intended to be used for person-to-person (P2P) messaging rather than A2P, so businesses utilizing 10DLCs for their campaign messaging would see higher filtering by the carriers. 

However, in 2020 in order to improve deliverability and higher throughput carriers began offering A2P 10DLC numbers and registration. These are new long code routes intended specifically for 10DLCs. 

Essentially, businesses can keep the same local long code, but these now function on an A2P-specific route. 10DLC numbers are ideal for customer care, account notifications, and promotional messaging.


These are 10-digit phone numbers with an 833, 800, 877, etc. attached instead of an area code (ex. 800-234-5618). Toll-free numbers provide your business with a universal brand identity, and are best suited for support or sales messaging. 

Also, with registered toll-free numbers you are able to see similar throughput and deliverability as short codes. That means SMS marketing and notification-based messaging can be accomplished utilizing toll-free numbers.

Over-the-top (OTT) sender types

When growing into a new region, demographic, or use case, it’s helpful to understand your customer’s preferences on how they want to interact with your business. OTT communications channels are third-party messaging platforms that aim to reach people on the applications they are already using. 


With 2.7 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in more than 180 countries that allows you to create engaging customer interactions with rich content. Twilio, in partnership with Meta, has introduced the "Tech Provider Program" to simplify WhatsApp onboarding for independent software vendors (ISVs). This program allows ISVs to:

  • Provide self-serve WhatsApp onboarding for their customers through a "login with Facebook" button within their UI using WhatsApp Embedded Signup
  • Manage customers' WhatsApp Business Accounts to provide higher level of support
  • Register WhatsApp numbers programmatically with Twilio's Senders API

Facebook Messenger

With over 1.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook Messenger is ideally used for customer support and ecommerce OTT messaging. 

Although not all sender types are built the same, they can all assist you in creating an engaging messaging experience for your customers on the channels they prefer. And, if you’re an ISV, giving your customers options for choosing  the sender that best fits their use case and location is ideal to help them grow their business. 


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However, choosing the right phone number is just the first step.  Maintaining compliance with geo-specific regulatory requirements is what keeps a messaging solution alive.

Creating a compliant SMS messaging solution

In recent years, SPAM, fraud, and non-compliant messages have greatly increased, leading to a decrease in trust when it comes to messaging channels. Consumers are more alert than ever of bad actors who look to deteriorate the messaging ecosystem. 

Meanwhile, over the past decade the global messaging industry has transformed, emphasizing sender transparency and phone number registration for greater compliance. This evolution reflects a shift toward more stringent standards in messaging practices worldwide.

At Twilio, we understand that keeping up with global messaging compliance while trying to grow your business can feel like a full-time job. That’s why we’ve focused on creating the following APIs, software, and professional services needed to offload the burden of onboarding and compliance from your business: 

  • Twilio’s 10DLC and toll-free registration APIs plus console experiences allow you to onboard at scale and build the provisioning, verification, and phone number set-up directly into your messaging architecture.
  • A2P fast track onboarding packages partners you with an onboarding account manager who leads the compliance and onboarding strategy for your business, allowing you to focus on growing your business. With set SLA’s and a 40% average faster time to market, you’ll be able to onboard your messaging senders at scale.
  • Compliance embeddable UI is a whitelabel, configurable embed offering that ISVs can securely put inside their web application to collect and process compliance information. It can help streamline compliance processes via enabling self-service for the ISVs’ customers as well as result in overall faster vetting times due to its built-in validation capabilities.
  • Regulatory compliance REST API is designed to ensure that you can continue to leverage the global communications infrastructure without having to worry about staying constantly aware of and managing local regulatory requirements. 

Architecting for growth

Whether you are months or years into your customer engagement and messaging journey, there are always improvements you can make to your platform to architect for scale. The three areas to focus on after you’ve figured out which sender types you will utilize and have become compliant are: 

  • Making sure your messaging solution scales with your customers
  • Planning for peak sending times so your messages get delivered
  • Monitoring and reporting on your success

Partner with an SMS messaging platform that grows with you

As you scale, your messaging platform should have the ability to scale with you. Out-of-the-box messaging solutions can be a good fit for businesses that need to get to market quickly with minimal development time. 

But when you grow into new use cases or regions, they can restrict your growth. Software shouldn’t get in the way of your path to scalability. An API-first approach allows you to build, iterate, and scale with your roadmap without the risk of tech-debt and outdated systems. 

Managing a complicated messaging solution for ISVs

ISVs are managing a messaging platform for hundreds or thousands of customers, which can complicate how you architect your solution. The ideal solution?  Subaccounts. 

Subaccounts are a division within a Twilio account that are "owned" by that account and have their own usage and resources. However, subaccounts do not have their own account balance and instead share it with their parent account. This account architecture is an ideal way to separate your phone numbers, usage, and application settings for a specific end customer. 

Optimize your messaging traffic 

As you scale geographically, expand use cases, or add new sender types, you might encounter deliverability and messaging throughput issues. These challenges come from strain on carriers' networks and how messages are prioritized and delivered.

A prime example of this is the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday where billions of messages are sent through the ecosystem in a single week. That’s why we’ve invested in Twilio’s Traffic Optimization Engine to help give our customers the granular control they need to manage, scale, and prioritize their messaging solutions.

This suite of products works across different networks, senders, geographies, and use cases to ensure that your most timely messages are delivered based on your highest priority needs—without overwhelming carrier networks. That way, your messages will always be delivered in the time you and your customers expect—something other providers can’t always guarantee.

Real-time data, reporting, and protection

Since messages are delivered over networks of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), aggregators, and other providers, it can be challenging for businesses to understand message delivery in aggregate or on a per-user basis. For most businesses, they have limited expertise or visibility into the health of their own messaging traffic, leading to misrepresenting or poorly reporting on the data that really matters. 

Twilio has multiple products to take back control and confidence of your monitoring, reporting, and protection of your messaging traffic.

Messaging Insights

With Messaging Insights, you can enjoy real-time performance and deliverability metrics in pre-built reports through the Twilio Console. Rather than getting a report at the end of the month, you can observe and adjust your messaging solution to optimize the messages you send. 

Intelligent Alerts

Our new Intelligent Alerts product monitors for anomalies in outbound messaging traffic in real-time using predictive artificial intelligence. Alerts are categorized to help prioritize events based on their impact on your business and can be configured to send notifications and review prior alerts on the Twilio Console.

SMS Traffic Pumping Fraud

Also known as Artificially Inflated Traffic, this continues to threaten the ROI of SMS globally. Twilio’ first-to-market and expanding Protection Suite across Verify, Messaging, and Lookup is safeguarding the ecosystem from bad actors while offering a portfolio of tools. From guaranteed automatic blocking to intelligent risk signals, we meet businesses where they are while saving them over $46M with Verify alone.

Grow the reach of your SMS messaging solutions

A great messaging experience is key to delivering great customer engagement. If you’re growing your messaging solution globally, have encountered messaging delays and long queue lengths for high-priority messages, or want to gain more control of how your messages achieve optimum delivery, Twilio has the APIs, software, and support to help you scale your business. Contact our sales team today to learn more.