The Difference Between Promotional and Transactional SMS

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The Difference Between Promotional and Transactional SMS

If you are just laying the groundwork for your SMS Marketing, you may be wondering what the difference between promotional and transactional SMS messages is. Generally speaking, both are types of SMS Marketing but their purposes vary ever so slightly. Although you can use them exclusively, there are not many instances in which you would not need to utilize both. So let’s dive right into it and explore the differences between promotional vs. transactional SMS.

Promotional SMS

This is the kind of SMS message you send to promote your brand, the products or services it offers. Promotional SMS includes marketing and sales messages. Additionally, any text message that contains an offer or a sales coupon is considered as a promotional SMS.


Transactional SMS

Text messages of this kind are sent to customers to deliver the necessary information about your products or services.

Differences Between Promotional and Transactional SMS

The two types of SMS messages serve different purposes as outlined above but there is more to them than meets the eye. So let’s get down right into a more detailed explanation of the difference between promotional and transactional SMS.

Purpose of the SMS:

  • Promotional – contain offers, discounts, sales coupons or other promotional material and is sent to either new or current customers. The messages can be unsolicited, although it is advised to send them to customers who have opted into your marketing campaign.
  • Transactional – contains informational material like alerts, order details, and whatnot as well as sensitive information like one-time passwords (OTP). Transactional messages are only sent to registered customers and should, therefore, not be used for marketing purposes.

Recipients of the SMS

  • Promotional – sent to non-DND (Do Not Disturb) numbers and opt-in customers.
  • Transactional – sent to all registered customers irrespective of their DND status.

SMS Timing

  • Promotional – is usually sent between 9am-9pm but mostly depends on regulations governing the practice in a given jurisdiction.
  • Transactional – can be sent 24/7 without any restrictions in regards to timing.

Sender ID

  • Promotional – usually has a randomly generated and assigned a number by a telecom operator.
  • Transactional – has a unique sender ID assigned in an alphabetical form which corresponds to the business’ or brand’s name.

Promotional VS. Transactional SMS: Examples

Having established what constitutes a promotional SMS or a transactional SMS, and what makes them different, it is prime time to share some examples of both to drive the point home. It is important to understand that both types can be used by a single company, they are not mutually exclusive nor do they get in the way of the other. Here are a few template examples of both,

  • Bank Delivery Notification (Transactional) – “Ms. Smith, your new credit card should be arriving in the mail soon. Once you receive it, contact us at to get it activated. Don’t delay!”
  • Bank Account Status (Transactional) – “Mr. Smith, your account at Capital Bank has been activated! To start using our online banking, click here:”
  • Sales (Promotional) – “Receive discounts on tasty lunch specials. Text “LUNCH” to (phone number) and get a 2% discount on your next order! Your Daily Food.”
  • Store Opening Times (Promotional) – “No more running out of the office at 4 pm on Fridays to find a new dress! Lucy’s Closet is now open until 8 pm. Find your closest store:”.