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5 Compliance Tips from the “CTIA Compliance Monitoring Handbook” You Need to Know

If you’re new to text messaging, the CTIA is the most reliable source of best practices to help you stay compliant with current mobile communications regulations.


The CTIA is a trade organization focused on the U.S. wireless communication industry. It includes carriers, industry members, and other professionals in the wireless business. This article focuses on insights on their most recent guidelines released in the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook in 2023 . 

Age Texting is not giving legal advice, but we wanted to help you understand and implement these best practices so that you can stay compliant and effective in your text marketing.

Here are some guiding principles that the CTIA starts with in the handbook: 

  • Calls-to-action for texting programs should make it clear what customers are signing up for, who is sending the message, and opt-out instructions (i.e. Reply STOP to opt out)

  • Opt-in processes should always include clear consent from the consumer

  • When a user opts-in to a texting program, they should be sent a confirmation reply

Building on these principles, here is a deeper dive on 5 texting best practices outlined in the handbook. Images below are reproduced from the handbook: 

1. No Unsolicited Messages

Your contact must provide explicit consent before you send a message to them. If they opt-out, you must immediately stop sending messages.

2. Required Calls-to-Action With Your Opt-in Methods

Sending a message to a Keyword and agreeing to receive texts on an online form are two common compliant ways to opt in. Calls to action must include:

  1. Message frequency

  2. Service description

  3. Bolded help commands (or contact email address or phone number)

  4. Link to privacy statement

  5. The term "Message & Data Rates May Apply" (or abbreviation Msg & Data Rates May Apply)

  6. Link to the Terms of the program

Example:To join Age Media's Texting Tips notifications, Text AGE to 87365*

*You will only be contacted in regards to Age Texting SMS marketing tips. Your privacy will be protected and your information will not be shared. Up to 4 msgs/mo. Reply HELP for help or STOP to cancel. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms 

3. Explain Your Recurring Text Program

Make sure your opt-in autoresponder to new subscribers confirms their opt-in and explains that they’ve enrolled in a recurring program. Include your company name, customer care information, opt-out instructions, “message and data rates may apply” disclosure, and information about the frequency of the text messages.

4. lnform Customers How They Can Easily Opt Out

For recurring programs, opt-out instructions should be shown at opt-in and “at regular intervals in the content or service messages, at least once per month” according to the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook, which outlines standards that apply to all types of texting numbers. Also, “Opt-out information must be displayed on the advertisement or within the terms and conditions.” The Age Texting platform automatically removes any subscriber that replies to your texting number with "STOP", "Unsubscribe", "End", "Cancel", or "Quit". For them to resume receiving texts from you, they will need to use a signup form or text in a keyword. Uploading a CSV with their contact information or adding them using the Quick Add feature will not officially add them to the subscriber list.

5. Your Content Must Be Appropriate

Your messages must comply with all state and federal laws. It must be age-gated if it refers to the sale of alcohol, tobacco (now 21+ by federal law), firearms, or adult content. Many long codes cannot support this kind of content, so you should talk to your provider before trying to send.

Messages must also “exclude elements that a reasonable person could construe as hateful or violent or as intending to incite violence” according to the handbook. Where state and federal laws conflict, federal laws apply.

We’re Here to Help You Stay Compliant

We always suggest reviewing the CTIA Handbook and their Messaging Principles and Best Practices. If you have questions about Age Texting service, please contact customer support.


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