Follow the recommendations in this article to ensure that the SMS messages you send comply with regional requirements.
This information is subject to change and does not constitute professional legal advice. To learn more, read our disclaimers.
In this article
Sending SMS messages in a responsible way begins with gaining consent from the user. Set up your SMS channel so that users can easily opt in, and make sure they know how to opt out.
Ask your users for explicit permission before sending promotional campaigns.
Single opt-in happens when a user makes a single interaction, such as entering their phone number in an opt-in form, that subscribes them to your SMS channel.
Double opt-in includes an additional step to confirm subscription and provides express written consent from the user. This is a best practice and offers a higher level of compliance.
To learn how to set up a double opt-in journey using Iterable, read Build a Welcome Sequence for New Subscribers
Examples of what not to do:
- Collecting a user's phone number for a certain reason (like a request to call them back) and then using it for a different reason (such as sending SMS marketing campaigns).
- Obtaining phone numbers from a third-party list.
- Having the user opt in to SMS for a transactional message type (such as a shipping alert) and then sending them marketing content.
- Pre-selecting checkboxes on opt-in forms. To provide unambiguous consent, have your users actively make the selection on a form.
In certain jurisdictions (particularly in the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom), customers may be exempt from obtaining prior consent from the user before sending SMS marketing, providing that: (i) the customer acquired the user’s contact details in the context of the sale of its products or services; (ii) the customer is marketing similar products or services to the user; and (iii) the user was provided with a simple means of opting out from future marketing at the point they provided their contact details and each SMS includes a simple means for opting out.
To determine whether your actions are exempt, consult with your organization's legal representatives.
Let users know how to opt out, and honor their requests. Iterable SMS and
sending partners Twilio and Telnyx do this automatically when a user replies
with a correct opt-out keyword (like
To learn how SMS opt-out keywords work with your Iterable account, read SMS Unsubscribes and Resubscribes.
Don't contact those on Do Not Call registers. Consider a third-party service that can scrub your list for you—Iterable and partner SMS providers don't suppress phone numbers from these lists.
Send messages for a concrete reason, and provide a clear call to action.
Your SMS messages should:
- Identify who sent the message.
- Indicate if it is a marketing message.
- Instruct users how to opt out in their local language.
Opt-in calls to action should include disclosures such as these:
- "Msg&data rates may apply"
- A link to your organization's terms of service.
- How often you expect to send messages.
Don't send content that could be interpreted as unwanted spam, deception, a safety or privacy concern, threats or intimidation, unlawful, or harmful.
By default, Iterable SMS adds opt-out text in the correct language based on your SMS settings and the phone number's country.
You can customize this behavior and language in your SMS Settings.
If a country always requires opt-out language, then Iterable adds these instructions to every SMS message and the setting is locked.
Send SMS during the day, in the user's local time.
Avoid sending at nighttime, on holidays, and on Sundays.
The content in this article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Use this information at your own risk.
Iterable, Inc and any of its employees, contractors, or attorneys who participated in providing the information expressly disclaim any warranty: they are not creating or entering into any Attorney-Client relationship by providing information to you.
Iterable cannot guarantee regulatory compliance. To ensure your use of SMS is compliant where applicable, seek legal counsel.
- CTIA's Messaging Principles and Best Practices
- Telnyx Country Specific SMS Guidelines
- Twilio Regulatory Guidelines for SMS
Want to learn more?
For more information about some of the topics in this article, check out this Iterable Academy course. Iterable Academy is open to everyone — you don't need to be an Iterable customer!