Campaign drift in business texting

Don’t let your SMS Marketing campaign drift off-course!
Campaign drift

In the vast sea of options for reaching customers, SMS Marketing is like a cruise ship. With over 6 billion SMS users globally and open rates of up to 98%, SMS Marketing has broad reach and wide consumer appeal. Even better, SMS Marketing offers an array of options for campaigns, from short codes to 10DLC to toll-free and alphanumeric.

But imagine if you boarded a cruise ship bound for the Caribbean and ended up in Alaska. You wanted warm beaches, but you ended up with glaciers!

When your text messaging changes course like our fictional cruise ship, it’s called “campaign drift.” 

Campaign drift is more than just an annoyance for customers. For companies, carriers, and aggregators, campaign drift can cause brand damage, additional expenses, and even business texting compliance issues.

What, exactly, is campaign drift?

Campaign drift happens when a number previously registered for one use case is used for content unrelated to that original use case.

An example of campaign drift would be a medical office that registers a number with a use case for appointment notices and reminders. The office cannot then use that same number for educational content or promotional offers.

Campaign drift can be unintentional at first. Organizations simply think of additional uses for their registered numbers and start sending messages that are unrelated to the approved use case.

But when recipients don’t want the new messages, they may opt out or block the existing numbers. They may even report the messages as spam.

Why does campaign drift matter?

Consumers, carriers, and aggregators are increasingly diligent about stopping spam texts and robotexts. According to the FCC, text scams and complaints have risen dramatically in recent years. In 2022, the agency reported almost 19,000 robotext complaints—a 500% increase from 2015.

Because bad actors are using text messaging in increasing numbers, brands and the platforms they use that provide text messaging as a product have an obligation to be more careful about staying on-course with their original campaign intent.

When campaigns drift from registered use cases, carriers, aggregators, and providers may suspend the campaign.

Suspended campaigns can result in lost sales, disgruntled customers, and fees and penalties for non-compliance with business texting regulations. Companies then incur new costs to register a new campaign. (Learn more about campaign registration and campaign drift in Episode 3 of The State of Business Texting podcast.)

Want to learn more about campaign registration?

Be sure to listen in to our State of Business Texting podcast, where we tackle important issues in messaging today.

How to avoid campaign drift

Given the potential liabilities, it’s not surprising that companies find the SMS Marketing campaign registration process daunting. In Bandwidth’s 2024 State of Messaging Report, 71% of respondents reported feeling anxious about registration requirements in the last year.

But avoiding campaign drift isn’t impossible. Here are a few tips to help brands maintain business texting compliance—and their reputations and relationships with consumers:

  • Be clear about the original campaign purpose, and choose the correct use case when registering.
  • Just as call providers are already required to, text platforms should practice Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols, and brands need to be prepared to provide appropriate proofs for compliance.
  • Brands and resellers can consider mixed use campaigns or special use campaigns for campaigns that may have multiple uses. However, they should be aware that these use cases take longer to approve and may not be delivered as quickly as single use campaigns.
  • For a separate use case, such as marketing texts vs. customer service texts, a clean and simple option is to create a brand new campaign. Creating a new campaign will help everyone within the chain, from carrier down to consumer, to be sure the texts are legitimate and compliant with business texting regulations.
  • Brands and platforms should familiarize themselves with business texting compliance rules from the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) and any relevant government agencies, such as the FCC.

Avoiding campaign drift is essential to maintaining brand and platform integrity. After all, no one would rebook with a cruise line that accidentally ended up in the wrong port! But with careful planning and consideration, SMS Marketing campaigns can stick to their original intent and produce great results.

Text messaging platforms and brands can trust Bandwidth to provide the Application-2-Person (A2P) products they need to reliably boost business results. To learn more, contact us.