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Voyage SMS Marketing Glossary
SMS Marketing 101

Voyage SMS Marketing Glossary

We want to provide your company with the necessary resources and knowledge to build your SMS initiatives. Check out our glossary of important terms to keep in mind to ensure you are always one step ahead in your SMS journey.

December 9, 2022

At Voyage, we work hard to provide your brand with all the tools and resources it needs to develop successful SMS campaigns. A concrete understanding of SMS terminology is a crucial tool for all SMS marketers to have in their toolbox, but it’s easy to become mixed up in the ABC jumble. To keep you on top of your SMS game, we've compiled an alphabetic list of the key lingo for any SMS marketer. 

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Definitions marked with a 🛥️ are Voyage-specific terms.

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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | #


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A/B Testing: A/B testing is a method for user experience research. A/B tests consist of a randomized experiment with two variants, A and B to see which performs better. In the context of SMS, this could be testing two different images or links. Generally it'll be performed on a subset of a total list (10-20%). Results are measured for the key decision variable (ex: CTR or Conversion Rate), and the winning variant is sent to the remaining list.

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Abandoned Cart: A customer who places a product in their online shopping cart but does not complete the purchase and leaves without making a payment. Businesses often miss out on additional revenue when their SMS systems aren't in place to immediately offer discounts or price reductions at the point of abandonment.

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Abandoned Checkout: A customer who begins the purchasing process but does not finish. The purchase can be in any stage, from searching for a product all the way to entering credit card information and billing address. SMS messaging campaigns often offer rewards or incentives at this point in order to get customers back on track and come back to complete their purchases. Dive deeper into the differences between abandoned cart and abandoned checkout.

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ADA: Signed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides civil rights protections to people with disabilities in public accommodations, transportation, employment, government services, and more. Importantly, in 2010, the United States Department of Justice released guidelines for ADA-accessible design. Be sure to follow these SMS accessibility best practices.  

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Auto Response: A message sent from an SMS system that doesn't require any (or requires very little) direct human control. An SMS autoresponder is a series of SMS messages that are sent to your recipients in response to their initiating message(s), based on certain predefined rules which may include intervals, delays, logic, or external data. Trigger multi-message automations with powerful filtering capabilities with Voyage automations. 

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A2P: Application-to-Person (A2P) is any form of message traffic in which a person receives messages from an application rather than another individual. A2P SMS empowers brands to both single send and automate drip workflow text messages from a platform like Voyage SMS. Explore the difference between A2P & P2P SMS.

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🛥️ Back-in-Stock SMS Alerts: Back-in-stock SMS alerts give subscribers a heads-up to shop the goods they've been waiting for when an item they've viewed or expressed interest in is back in stock, eliminating friction and promoting quicker transactions. Voyage’s Back-in-Stock feature automatically displays a button that prompts visitors to opt-in to SMS updates.

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BFCM: The weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is often referred to as BFCM (also known as: the greatest shopping event of the year). The annual event begins on the Friday following Thanksgiving and goes through Monday. Be sure to prepare your marketing and sales strategy early with these six SMS campaigns for BFCM.

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Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is a term that represents the percentage of visitors who enter a website and leave rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site. This is a metric used to determine if there is any content turning users away from your website. For example, if you have a modal on your website and your bounce rate is high, it is a good indicator that you may want to make some changes to the modal.

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Call To Action (CTA): Call to Action, or CTA is used by marketers to prompt a response from consumers. CTA encourages consumers to immediately act on something, like buying a good or service. An example of this could be a hyperlink to subscribe to an SMS list, a visit to your eCommerce website, or replying to a text.

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Carrier: Carriers, or "mobile network operators", offer cellular services to consumers. Some examples of common carriers are T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T.

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CCPA: The California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA gives consumers more control over the personal information that businesses collect about them. This compliance law affects all consumers in California or companies who do business with them. Some new privacy rights that the CCPA ensures are:

  • The right to opt-out of the sale of personal information
  • The right to delete personal info collected (with some exceptions)
  • The right to know the personal information collected by a business and how it is used

In regards to SMS, the CCPA affects all businesses which communicate with California customers in any way, including text marketing, and will give customers more control over who has access to their personal data.

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Character Limit: The SMS character limit refers to the maximum amount of characters allowed in a single text message. The typical character limit for an SMS message is 160 characters. However, MMS messages may have a higher limit. If your SMS message is longer than 160 characters it will be sent in multiple parts. Most carriers send multipart SMS messages as one messages, but some providers send them as separate messages.

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Chargeback: Chargebacks are a form of consumer protection. This protection allows cardholders to dispute a charge and have the transaction amount returned to them. On the merchant side, this means the revenue is taken from you unless you can prove the cardholder is wrong. Good news - you can use SMS to prevent chargebacks! 

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Click Through Rate (CTR): Click Through Rate, or CTR is the ratio of users who click on an ad or link to the total number of users who viewed the campaign or email. The formula for CTR is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. This metric allows marketers to measure the success and overall effectiveness of their campaigns. For example, if an ad has high views and low clicks, this is a sign that it may be lacking consumer interest.

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Compliance: Adhering to a set of guidelines and specifications (such as the TCPA and CTIA). Learn more about navigating the SMS Compliance seas.

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Conversational Commerce: Conversational Commerce, or cCommerce, is the evolution of the traditional eCommerce experience, focused on natively delivering personalized convenience and decision support for consumers on the go. Learn why cCommerce makes sense now more than ever.

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Conversion rate (CVR): Conversion rate refers to the percentage of website visitors that complete a site transaction. The transaction is termed the marketer’s predefined goal. A predefined goal can be considered a purchase or a visitor information request. For instance, 100 consumers visit a website and 10 purchase the website. The conversion rate is 10%. Average conversion rate for eCommerce brands is between 1-3%.

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Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Cost per acquisition (CPA) is a marketing metric used to measure the total cost of acquiring a new customer via a specific campaign or channel. The formula for CPA is the total cost of conversions divided by the number of new customers acquired from the same channel or campaign. (add example- if you spent $5000 on ads and acquired 100 customers your CPA is $50)

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Cost Per Click (CPC): Cost Per Click, or CPC is how much it costs per user clicking on your advertisement.

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CTIA: The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, or CTIA has represented the wireless communication industry since 1984. They are responsible for developing and testing plans and certification processes for mobile devices, and creating and enforcing regulations on messaging principles and best practices.

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Custom Events: One type of marketing data used is "website events", which are actions that consumers take on your website. For example, adding something to their cart or making a purchase is a website event. Custom events are actions that fall outside the category of standard events, which are actions with predefined names that we recognize and support across ad products. Rather, custom events can be personalized and given unique names to display the action taking place. When you set up custom events in your code, you can log those custom events, optimize for conversions and build audiences.

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Customer Experience: The sum of customer influences on given point(s) of interaction with a company or brand that affect the customer's evaluation of the quality of those interaction(s).

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Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): Customer lifetime value, or CLV, is a key marketing metric to track your customer experience and how your customers contribute to your company as a whole. This is the total amount spent by customer throughout the period of their relationship with your brand. It is more cost efficient to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones, so increasing the value of your current customers is important to the growth of your brand.

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Data Collection: The process of receiving and compiling business information, such as revenue data or customer phone numbers. This can be done manually or automatically by using marketing software.

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🛥️ Deep Links: When your customer clicks a Voyage Deep Link on their mobile device, a text message automatically opens that allows them to opt-in to your SMS list. With this functionality, your brand can build your SMS list across all web platforms—including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

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Delivery Rate: Delivery rate measures the percentage of people who received your email or text message compared to the number of people you sent it to. SMS delivery rate is a rate of delivered versus intended messages. Some of the best ways to increase deliverability is ensuring phone numbers are correct, avoiding "spam-like" messages, and using short code to send mass messages. It is important to structure your texts carefully, because messages that appear to be spam may be blocked by carrier partners.

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Do Not Contact (DNC): A term used in the marketing industry to describe individuals who specifically opt-out of sharing their contact info and/or receiving promotional content from a business.

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Double Opt-In: A soft requirement for SMS marketing where a customer opts-in to receive text messages or emails, providing consent twice. For example, the first consent can be clicking a button on a modal window, and the second consent is replying ‘Y’ to join the text list. Double opt-in can apply to subscribing for an email list as well. It is meant to add another step to the opt-in process to confirm consumer interest and verify contact information. Note: other than via custom keyed entry, single opt-in is an acceptable form of opt-in compliance.

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🛥️ Drips: Drip automations involves a specific set of messages sent over a controlled period of time to retain, engage, and convert subscribers. Drips are based on a trigger such as adding to cart or signing up. Drip series include messages and delays, as well as filtering based off of behavioral and segmentation data. Deploy multi-message Drips with powerful filtering capabilities with Voyage automations. 

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Emoji: ​​An emoji is a visual representation of an emotion, object, or symbol. Emojis are fantastic when using during A/B testing to see what your audience finds engaging.

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🛥️ First Mate by Voyage: With First Mate by Voyage, SMS is used to connect real agents who will serve as your Brand Ambassadors. Brand Ambassadors have the full context of the customer experience and engage your consumers in beautiful, human conversations using information from your integrations and your brand standards as a guide.

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GDPR: The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is a legal framework that went into effect in 2018 designed to protect the privacy of European citizens. It sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the European Union or engage with businesses located outside of the EU. Since GDPR requires informed and freely given consent before you send marketing emails and texts to a contact, it is critical to have GDPR compliant opt-in forms.

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Geofencing: A marketing technique that allows SMS marketers to send SMS messages only to those who are in particular geographical areas. This can be used to serve hyper-localized offers, promotions and/or content.

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Holiday Readiness: Holiday readiness is nothing more than prepping your brand to ensure success and avoid last-minute scrambles ahead of BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday). We’ve put together a Holiday SMS Readiness Checklist so you have all the to-do’s in one place.

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🛥️ Keywords: SMS Keywords are words or phrases that users text to your company short code to opt in to receive text messages from your brand. These different Keywords interact with short code that correspond directly to specific campaigns, and can help you track their effectiveness. An example is a brand advertising 'Text "newcandles" to XXX-XXX-XXXX'.  This will opt-in users and create a targetable segment.

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List Hygiene: A key element to an effective SMS campaign with increased engagement and conversion rates is practicing better list hygiene — meaning purging the bad data to keep your subscriber list squeaky clean. Here’s how. 

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🛥️ Live Conversions: Live Conversions let you chat directly with high-LTV customers and intervene on triggered messages – converting bottom-of-funnel customers with 1:1 conversations, at scale. 

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Long code: Dedicated long code is a 10-digit code used to send SMS or MMS messages.

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MMS: Multimedia Message Service, more commonly known as SMS, is a text message that includes a media file. For example a picture, video, emoji, or link would make a text an MMS.

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Modal: A modal is a pop-up window that draws a user’s attention to specific text or images, used in this context to ask for a customer’s email or phone number. It is common practice for eCommerce brands to have a welcome modal on their website for new visitors, including a discount or special offer to incentivize them to subscribe to their marketing list.

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🛥️ One-Time Campaign: One-time, single message Campaigns support your product launches, sales and promotions, news and updates, and so much more. Schedule and send based on the recipient time zone and throttle your message sends to keep things running smoothly.

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Opt-In: Compliant SMS opt-in is when your customers willingly give you permission to text them. Your text opt-in is anything that prompts a customer to give you written permission to send them SMS messages. It's best to get this written permission when you get a customer's phone number. Explore the SMS Opt-In & Opt-Out best practices.

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Opt-Out Rate (OOR): OOR represents the percentage of subscribers who opt out of receiving text messages or emails from your business. Your opt-out percentage is a direct measure of the value subscribers are receiving. Good opt out rates remain below 5%.

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Promotional SMS: Brand-sponsored marketing texts delivered with the goal of generating sales. Promotional SMS campaigns help to boost revenue and enhance customer engagement – ranging from one time product launches and announcements to ongoing triggered messages based on consumer behavior.

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P2P: P2P, or person-to-person long codes are phone numbers that use the number format of the country or region where your recipients are located, and are also referred to as long numbers or virtual mobile numbers. P2P communications are sent individually and is the least efficient method of texting for businesses because it cannot be automated. Explore the difference between A2P & P2P SMS.

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RCS: Rich Communication Services (RCS) is an end-to-end software platform and IP-based communication protocol. RCS is relatively new and still slowly progressing. The technology is made to eventually replace traditional SMS and MMS messaging with a system that is richer, and redefine the application-to-person business space.

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🛥️ Reporting: You should be able to use your data however you see fit. You can create and download a CSV report with all of the key performance indicators for each and every one of your SMS Campaigns and Automations from the Reporting section of your Voyage account.

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ROAS: Return on ad spend, or ROAS is a marketing metric that measures the efficacy of a digital advertising campaign. It is calculated as total revenue divided by total ad spend. For example, 100k revenue / 20k ad spend = 5x ROAS, meaning for every $1 in advertising spent $5 in revenue is generated.

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Segmentation: Segmentation capabilities allow you to micro-market at scale and target based on customer attributes and event history and can be used to create lifecycle groups of customers and leads with automated message content designed to drive conversions and retention.

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S.H.A.F.T.: The CTIA’s SHAFT regulations for SMS covers prohibited content in North America. It categorizes text messages and regulates their content based on moral and legal issues. SHAFT also restricts any message that includes depictions of violence, profanity, and hate or discriminatory speech. 

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Short code: Dedicated Short code is A 5 to 6-digit number, exclusive to your business, used to send SMS or MMS messages. 

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SMS: Short Message Service, more commonly known as SMS, consists of a text message of up to 160 characters without an attached file. SMS is only capable of sending text messages, not any form of media. Increase engagement by sending your SMS at the right time and learn how to write the perfect SMS.

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Subscriber: A subscriber is an individual who has given you express, written consent to send them text messages. Be sure your SMS subscriber list is poised for growth.

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TCPA: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA is a regulation that went into effect in 1991. The TCPA was designed to protect consumer's privacy and places limits on unsolicited phone calls and messages. It states that customers must give businesses “express written consent” before a business can legally send them text messages.

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Toll Free: A toll-free number is a 10-digit number that begins with one of the following area codes: 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833. For customer convenience and flexibility in your marketing campaigns, you can use toll-free texting for SMS and MMS messaging. Toll-free numbers can only be used to send transactional messages.

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Transactional SMS: Non-marketing automated message that relay transaction updates and helps to support the consumer throughout their purchase. Transactional SMS provides consumers with a new method to connect with your brand when used together with a general focus on customer experience. Discover the 8 transactional texts you should be sending.

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🛥️ Two-Tap Anywhere: Voyage Two-Tap Anywhere functions are just like the Voyage Deep Link for your customers and works for all mobile users. But instead of a link, Voyage Two-Tap Anywhere is an embeddable button code that you can add to your website and your custom Modals with full attribution tracking in the Voyage platform.

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Two Way (2-Way) Short Message Service: Allows users to both send and receive text messages from a dedicated phone number, usually through a web messaging platform or API.

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Unsubscribe: An option included in an SMS campaign that allows users to opt out of future messages via their mobile phone. Usually using common, intuitive words such as STOP or CANCEL.

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Uniform Resource Locator (URL): Simply the address of a given web resource on the internet, usually beginning with http or https.

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Vanity Short Code: A vanity short code is a 5-6 digit phone number that is customized by a business. This number is exclusive to your business, and consumers can reach you through texting this short code number. In contrast, a non-vanity short code is selected at random by the CSCA.

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Zero Party Data: First coined by Forrester Research, zero-party data is “[data] that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize [them]”. Also known as explicit data, zero-party data is trustworthy because it’s coming straight from the source, and doesn’t leave marketers guessing on a consumer's intentions. 

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10DLC: 10DLC, or 10-digit long code is a 10-digit phone number used in North America used for A2P business messaging. 10DLC messages display a 10-digit phone number as the sender. Unlike toll-free numbers, 10DLC supports both transactional and promotional messaging, and can include any US area code.

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Want to learn more about the Voyage platform? See what the most powerful SMS marketing and message commerce platform in the world and expert eCommerce guidance can do for your brand. Request a demo today!

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