Basic SMS Information & SMS Types

SMS stands for Short Message Service and it is a communication protocol used to send text messages between mobile devices. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters and are sent over a cellular network using a mobile phone number as the destination address.


SMS was first developed in the early 1980s and has since become a widely-used method of communication, particularly for sending text messages between individuals but also for businesses to communicate with customers. SMS types are as below.

SMS Types.

There are several SMS types that are used for different purposes. Some of the most common SMS types include:

  • Transactional SMS

These are SMS messages that are sent to customers for transactional purposes, such as order confirmations, account updates, and password resets.

  • Promotional SMS

These are SMS messages that are sent to customers for promotional purposes, such as sales and discounts, marketing campaigns, and new product announcements.

  • Two-factor authentication SMS

These are SMS messages that are sent to customers as a second form of authentication, typically after entering a password or PIN, for secure login, account verification, and other security-related purposes.

  • Short code SMS

These are SMS messages that are sent to customers using a short code, which is a 5 or 6-digit number, for voting, charity donations, and other interactive campaigns.

  • Long code SMS

These are SMS messages that are sent to customers using a long code, which is a standard mobile phone number, for customer support, feedback, and surveys.

  • Flash SMS

These are SMS messages that are sent to customers and are displayed directly on the screen of their mobile device, regardless of whether the phone is in use or not. They are mostly used for emergency alerts, time-sensitive information, and other urgent notifications.

Best Practices For Using SMS

When using SMS for communication, it is important to follow certain best practices in order to ensure that your messages are effective and well-received. Some best practices to keep in mind include:

  1. Opt-in and opt-out options: Always give customers the option to opt-in to receiving SMS messages from your business, and make it easy for them to opt out if they no longer wish to receive them.
  2. Personalization and segmentation: Personalize your SMS messages as much as possible, and segment your customer list so that you can target specific groups of people with relevant messages.
  3. Compliance with regulations: Be aware of and comply with all relevant regulations and laws, such as the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) in the US, that govern the sending of SMS messages.
  4. A/B testing and analysis: Use A/B testing to try out different message types and formats, and analyze the results to improve your SMS campaigns over time.
  5. Timing: Be considerate of the time when you send your message, try to send them at a convenient time for the recipient, and avoid sending them too early or too late, on weekends or holidays.
  6. Frequency: Don’t send too many messages, keep track of the number of messages sent and received and adjust accordingly, also, make sure the messages are relevant and valuable to the recipient.

By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your SMS messages are well-received and effective in achieving your communication goals.

Use Case Of SMS Types

  1. SMS Text Messages:
  • Personal communication between individuals.
  • Reminders for appointments, meetings, and events.
  • Notifications from banks, airlines, and other businesses.
  1. SMS Multimedia Messages (MMS):
  • Sending photos, videos, and audio files.
  • Sharing visual information such as charts, diagrams, and maps.
  • Sending multimedia content for marketing and advertising.
  1. SMS Long Messages (Concatenated SMS or Split SMS):
  • Sending longer texts that exceed the standard 160 characters.
  • Sending large amounts of information such as a novel or a technical report.
  • Sending multiple messages in a single conversation.
  1. SMS Service Messages (Premium SMS):
  • Receiving news updates, weather forecasts, and other information from businesses.
  • Subscribing to content such as ringtones, wallpapers, and games.
  • Making donations to charity or voting in polls.
  1. SMS Application-to-Person (A2P) Messages:
  • Sending marketing messages, notifications, and alerts from businesses to customers.
  • Sending appointment reminders and confirmations from healthcare providers.
  • Sending security alerts or notifications from schools or government agencies.


In conclusion, SMS, or Short Message Service, is a communication protocol used for sending text messages between mobile devices. It has become a widely-used method of communication for both individuals and businesses.

There are several SMS types, including Transactional, Promotional, Two-factor authentication, Short code, Long code, and Flash SMS, each with its own specific use.

To ensure that SMS messages are effective and well-received, it is important to follow best practices such as providing opt-in and opt-out options, personalizing and segmenting messages, complying with regulations, A/B testing and analyzing results, considering timing, and being mindful of message frequency.

By following these best practices, businesses can effectively use SMS to communicate with their customers and achieve their communication goals.