Industry Standards for US Short Code Advertisements and Opt-in forms

To make your short code campaign compliant with Twilio’s requirements, per our Acceptable Use Policy, your company is required to comply with carrier compliance requirements, industry standards, and applicable law.

Industry standards require specific information be included wherever the short code is advertised, or where individuals  are invited to sign up for short code messages. This can be paper forms, web pages or any other method through which the individual submits their phone number and will receive a message from a short code as a result.

Advertisements and opt-in forms are also known as Calls to Action, or CTAs. The wording of your short code CTA will vary depending on the sign-up method, since it tells users how to opt in to a short code campaign.  In developing your CTA, you should review the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook, and the MMA’s Global Code of Conduct and Best Practices Guide.  As a courtesy, we’ve provide some example CTAs below.

An SMS keyword Call to Action, for example, might look like this:

Text {Keyword} to ##### to sign up for alerts.

For all sign up methods, the following language (with your information in the blanks) must appear wherever the short code is advertised (on the web, in print, etc):

Message and data rates may apply. {Message frequency}. Text HELP to ##### for help. Text STOP to ##### to cancel. For terms: {URL to SMS terms of service}. For privacy: {URL to privacy policy}

Keep the following points in mind when writing your Call to Action:

  • Message frequency must be specific, for example: “1 message/day” or “4 messages/month.” If the message frequency is dependent on the user, use “1 message/user request”.
  • You should have a privacy policy that applies to and addresses your text messaging campaign.  It should include an accurate description of your campaign and how you will handle data in connection with that campaign.  You should make that privacy policy accessible from your CTA and the privacy policy link should be labeled clearly. You should consult with your legal counsel to ensure that your privacy policy includes all legally-required notices with respect to your campaign.
  • You should also link to the terms and conditions that apply to your text messaging campaign in your CTA.  The terms should be provide accurate information details about your text messaging campaign and how it will work.  You should consult with your legal counsel to ensure that the terms and conditions provide the proper disclosures with respect to your particular campaign.
  • STOP” must appear in bold anywhere it is displayed.
  • Depending on the nature of your text messaging campaign, your CTA may require additional language to be compliant with applicable law.

The above is based on industry standards for short code service.  You should expect that your short code campaign will be audited at some point by a carrier or industry organization.  In our experience, U.S. short code campaigns are typically audited for compliance with the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook.  Nonetheless, please note that each carrier reserves the right to suspend short code service for any user at any time, so compliance with the above guidelines is not a guarantee against suspension of service by a carrier.

In addition, there may be requirements for your CTA under applicable laws and regulations.  Which laws and regulations apply will depend on the particulars of your text messaging campaign.  You should consult with your legal counsel regarding any  legal compliance requirements, as well as any question regarding how the industry standards apply to your text messaging campaign.