In recent years, peer-to-peer and broadcast texting have become hot discussion topics as communication methods that reach contacts directly on their phones. 

But not all texting methods achieve the same goal, so it’s essential to know which one best suits your campaign needs. Here’s a breakdown of peer-to-peer texting versus broadcast texting:

What’s the difference between peer-to-peer vs. broadcast texting? 

Peer-to-peer texting and broadcast texting are two different methods of text communication between an organization and its contacts. 

Peer-to-peer texting is typically volunteer-driven and involves one-to-one contact between the sender and recipient. Using a peer-to-peer texting platform, your volunteers can send individual messages to contacts on behalf of an organization. Contacts can reply to these messages just as they would respond to a friend or family member. Hence the name, peer-to-peer texting — in simple terms, it’s two people messaging each other.

On the other hand, broadcast texting involves mass messaging to a list of contacts who have opted in to receive text communications from your organization. One broadcast message can instantly reach hundreds (or even thousands) of people. Though some tools (like Impactive) allow recipients to respond to the initial broadcast message, this method is best for one-way text blasts from your organization.

Which texting method should I use for my campaign? 

Ideally, you’ll use both to connect to your audience! Both texting methods provide organizations with an effective way to reach contacts, since open rates for text messaging are as high as 98%

Peer-to-peer texting directly connects volunteers and contacts, and is helpful for identifying supporters, getting out the vote, or requesting volunteer support. Meanwhile, broadcast texting allows organizations to swiftly send out texts during critical moments of a campaign, like fundraising appeals, petition links, or urgent messages.

However, remember that peer-to-peer and broadcast texting require different levels of management. Since peer-to-peer texting requires messages to be sent individually, you’ll need a group of volunteers (or staffers) to participate in a text bank. Broadcast texts can be sent by an individual member of your organization at any time. 

Is one method of texting more expensive than the other?

Pricing for each texting method varies by specific texting vendors. 

At Impactive, the price for peer-to-peer or broadcast messaging is the same, at $0.03 per SMS and $0.04 per MMS (with discounts available for bulk text commitments). 

Do peer-to-peer texts come from the volunteers’ personal phone numbers? 

Peer-to-peer texts do not come from volunteers’ phone numbers; they are sent from registered 10-digit long codes. These are a set of 10 numbers that look and act like phone numbers but are specifically used for peer-to-peer texting. 

At Impactive, peer-to-peer texts are sent from several 10-digit long codes to increase deliverability and prevent spam; this means contacts may receive messages from multiple numbers when they’re contacted by your organization.  

(Another form of text outreach called friend-to-friend messaging does send texts from volunteers’ personal numbers. Also known as relational organizing, this volunteer opportunity allows volunteers to mobilize their friends and family on your organization’s behalf. Learn more about relational organizing here.) 

How can I obtain a contact list for peer-to-peer vs broadcast text lists? 

Political peer-to-peer texting does not require prior consent for text communications, and is often used to reach voters. Depending on your state’s requirements, you may be able to purchase voter lists for the purposes of peer-to-peer texting. See the state-by-state regulations for accessing and using voter registration lists here

Broadcast texting follows different rules — broadcast communication always requires an opt-in by the text recipient. However, you can grow your texting lists by configuring opt-in codes that supporters can text to your broadcast shortcode, thus subscribing them to your broadcast texts (for example, texting “RSVP” to 01234). 

Texting communications have become essential for strategic outreach and engagement by many impact organizations. You’ll find that adding texting as a communication channel can boost your open and engagement rates! 

Interested in getting started with peer-to-peer texting and broadcast texting today? Schedule a demo and learn what these texting methods can do for your organization.

Sep 26, 2022
Tools & Tech