Guide to Peer to Peer (P2P) Texting

Here is a quick summary guide to the new peer-to-peer (P2P) texting technology that is quickly being adopted as an effective way to reach voters, constituents, non-profit members and students.

As one of the leading messaging companies, Monarch Broadcast offers P2P texting as a core service and you can learn more about how you can begin your P2P campaign here.

There are two reasons P2P texting is becoming so popular

First, it’s a legal way to send text messages because texts are not “autodialed,” but rather sent individually, by people.

And secondly, the texts are personalized and allow for back and forth communication between the texter and the recipient. Instead of receiving a random generic text, the recipient might receive the following, “Hi Mike. This is Eric from the Anne Smith campaign. Just wanted to remind you to vote on Tuesday. Hope we can count on your support.”

Thousands of personalized texts can be sent per hour. The reason texts can be sent individually, and so quickly, is because campaign volunteers and staffers can use a special online interface to rapidly send the texts one by one to their list of contacts.

The important thing you need to know before you start

Because P2P texting is NOT an autodial program, you’ll need a core group of dependable volunteers or staffers who can access the interface from their computers to send out the text messages.. It is a manual process (which makes it legal) and there is no way around it — you’ll need bodies to launch each text. It’s not difficult at all, just repetitive.

That being said, here are a few basic Q&A’s that will help you understand the P2P world.

Guide to Peer to Peer P2P Texting

Frequently Asked Questions

What is peer-to-peer texting?

Peer-to-peer texting (also known as P2P) is a method of communication that stakeholders use to increase public interest in (and general knowledge about) a given cause, candidate, or topic. The general idea is that since people are more likely to read a text message from an unknown number than to answer a phone call from one or to open the front door when a stranger comes knocking, texting is the best way to reach constituents without intruding on their privacy or sense of personal safety.

It’s an extremely functional tool for outreach of all kinds. And, because peer-to-peer texting can be so highly individualized, it’s a more conversational, comfortable approach to spreading the word about your ideas or goals.

Think about it: If you are walking down a street and see someone shouting, you are not very likely to stop and have a chat with them. If they’re shouting your name, however, you are far likelier to go up to them and hear what they have to say. After all, they’re speaking directly to you.

Who can participate in peer-to-peer texting?

One of the big advantages about peer-to-peer texting is that individuals don’t need to physically opt into messaging in order to receive texts. So long as your campaign or organization is following the legal guidelines, you’ll be able to reach out to whomever you feel will help and spread the cause, or benefit from the cause.

It’s important to note that peer-to-peer texting is different from generalized mass communication. For example, when you text a keyword to a radio station hotline in order to enter a giveaway competition, you are required to authorize any possible charges on your account that may occur from that exchange.

It may be as simple as sending another text or clicking a box in a pop-up, but you still must actively approve continued conversation: one that isn’t tailored to you as a consumer at all. Similarly, if you sign up through a retail company’s website with your phone number in order to receive a one-time coupon code, oftentimes you are also agreeing to receive general promotional messages from that business in the future.

Peer-to-peer texting is different from this sort of mass uniform messaging. Instead of being reminded of sales or new deals going on at The Home Depot or Kendra Scott, you are being contacted as an individual by an individual, not a computerized system. It’s the difference between chatting with a customer service bot and connecting with a live customer service agent: a real person on the other end of the line.

Is peer-to-peer texting legal?

The short answer: yes.

The long answer: One of the most popular uses of peer-to-peer texting is by political organizations that are directing their messaging to voters. The messaging can offer insight into an individual’s local polling station, why they should vote for a particular candidate, or how a certain bill could positively or negatively affect their community. The goal is to sway this voter into action.

Peer-to-peer texting is, indeed, the only legal way that an organization is allowed to send text messages to voters. It doesn’t count as spam because it’s a person sending out the text, not a bot. People don’t have to opt in to get these texts on the grounds that they’re individualized.

Now, that’s not to say that peer-to-peer texting is a slow process. It is actually a fairly quick process. There is no copying and pasting the message for each individual text. Rather the main portion of the text body is saved and ready to be pulled into each individual text that is sent, but with personalization being added.. Replies from recipients can then be responded to as they are received, thus continuing a personal conversation. The agent or volunteer is in complete control of each message being sent.

(Note that in order for a P2P campaign to be legal, it must comply with FCC, TCPA, and CTIA guidelines: no sending inappropriate/unwarranted messages to minors, no NSFW content, etc.)

Is peer-to-peer-texting effective?

P2P is wildly effective. According to an NPR article from 2018 there were over 1,300 campaigns that sent over 200 million text messages to established voters and prospective voters. On Election Day in 2018, about 50,000 volunteers were responsible for sending 20 million messages.

So, why is P2P so effective? The fact of the matter is, there are more people in the world that check their texts than answer their phones. Text messages can be checked discreetly in the workplace or while engaging in different technologies and activities where answering a phone call could be rude, like watching TV with a group of people or standing in a long line at the grocery store.

Regardless, imagine trying to reach 20 million individuals through tacky mailers, by knocking on doors, or by stopping them outside a shopping mall, clipboard in hand.

As it stands, many phone settings are such that text messages appear at the top of the screen or written out on the lock screen, so they’re highly visible any time a phone is turned on. Plus, aside from just straight-up deleting a message without reading it, the notification that someone has received a text message often won’t disappear without them opening the message.

It goes without saying that campaigns strictly running on social media only reach the demographic of people who use social media (and, of course, the even smaller percentage of people on social media who don’t scroll past advertisements or messaging by accounts that they don’t subscribe to or follow).

However, you would be hard-pressed to find someone of voting age who doesn’t own a cell phone, and even harder-pressed to find a cell phone without text messaging capabilities.

Peer-to-peer texting is quick, wide-reaching, and immensely effective.

Getting started with P2P messaging

Here at Monarch Broadcast Messaging, we pride ourselves on our attention to detail and our ability to provide highly personal service to each and every one of our clients. By building a partnership with us, you’ll be able to reach thousands of people in almost no time at all, ensuring that your peer-to-peer message is read widely.

We strive for excellence, and by employing our programming in your peer-to-peer texting campaigns, we can imbue your cause with excellence, too.

Give us a call

Overall, peer-to-peer texting is an extremely useful tool for organizations all around the world. With the ability to speak quickly with scores of people who may be interested in your cause, why not use P2P for your campaign or organization’s benefit?

Give us a call at (888) 387-8636. Whether you’re looking to reach 50 people or 5 million, we’ve got you covered.