What is the difference between template SMS and custom SMS?

What is the difference between template SMS and custom SMS? by Rahul Am

Answer by Rahul Am:

[ Disclaimer: I work for 2Factor SMS Gateway Provider & below answer may involve references to 2Factor’s APIs or Documentation pages ]


Let me dive you thru concept of Open template and Template based messages from practical implementation point of view.

In India, there are primarily two categories of messages ( as approved by TRAI, Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India )

  • Promotional Messages:
    Typically refers to any message sent for promoting / upselling / advertising your business.

    Such messages are not delivered to users, who have registered under TRAI DND list and are delivered only between 09:00 AM to 09:00 PM to respect user’s privacy.

  • Ex.
    – Promotions announcing offers / discounts
    “Buy today and get 10% off on order value above INR 350/-”

    – Promotions introducing business to potential leads
    “We are the leading bulk sms providers in India. Try our services at http://2Factor.in

  • Non-Promotional / Transactional Messages:
    Typically refers to, messages sent to users as an acknowledgement to the actions performed by them on your app / website.

    Such messages are delivered to users, who have registered under TRAI DND list as well and message delivery takes place 24×7 !

  • Ex.
    – User placed an order on your website → You sending them Order confirmation message

    – User signed up with you → You sending them one time password (OTP) message

    – User requested you to alert them when XYZ event happens → You sending them alert sms on triggering event X

As you just ready correctly, Transactional Messages are delivered to DND users as well & Businesses think it as a great advantage to deliver messages to greater reach. Sometimes they send promotional messages ( intentionally / UN-intentionally ) via Transactional route, without worrying about its consequences.

TRAI has a penalty matrix, where penalty amounts vary from INR 25,000/- to INR 2,75,000/- + legal prosecution for violating TRAI DND guidelines & it also affects the telemarketer license of the messaging service provider.

Template based approach is a quick workaround ( chosen by sms service providers ) to avoid end user accidentally / intentionally sending promotional content via Transactional route.

  • In this approach, SMS vendor typically asks you to pre-define the SMS text which shall be sent ( with some variable fields, whose value can be passed at run time

    Ex. At 2Factor – Transactional SMS, we ask users to fill a quick form as below,

  • In above case, Variables VAR1, VAR2, VAR3 are the run time fields.
    Values passed for these fields would be replaced at run time and then final text would be sent to the end user

    Such templates are reviewed by 2Factor compliance team and then approved for you to send. Review in place helps in ensuring promotional content is not passed accidentally.

    Here is a quick API reference to understand how it works

In case of Open Template SMS, You are not required to pre-define any content, and whatever message text you pass, is blindly passed to the operators. This imposes some risk of user sending promotional content via Transactional route.

To summarize,
– Template based approach is applicable only in case of Transactional Delivery Route
– It is to have a better control over what text business wants to send to end user.

[ PS: We at 2Factor offer both Open template and Template Based SMS Sending]

What is the difference between template SMS and custom SMS?