Understanding Mobile Compliance

October 26, 2017 Vibes Marketing

If you are expanding your marketing efforts to include mobile marketing, be aware that there are mobile compliance rules and regulations that you are required to follow. These rules were put into place to provide security and privacy for consumers, as well as to ensure that brands use mobile marketing in an ethical and effective way.

Why Compliance is Important

Just like you don’t like getting spammy phone calls, emails, or direct mail, consumers don’t want text messages they didn’t sign up for. By establishing parameters for what is permitted in mobile marketing, we’re actually helping make the industry better.

When we all adhere to these mobile compliance requirements, we elevate the practice. Then, consumers are happy to get texts from brands they opted into.

Realize that these rules and regulations may change over time, so while this is an overview of what you need to know about being mobile compliant, you should take it upon yourself to stay updated as they change. Also, working with a mobile partner like Vibes that stays abreast of industry news can be a big help.

Who Makes the Rules?

In the mobile compliance space, there are three parties that decree the practices that brands must adhere to.


The FCC is an independent US government agency that is the primary authority for communications law, regulation, and technological innovation.


This nonprofit develops and monitors rules and regulations to guide the mobile industry. These rules are enforced in the mobile marketing industry.


Additionally, mobile carriers may have their own requirements. Currently just T-Mobile has additional requirements for brands using mobile to market.

Let’s Talk About Prior Express Written Consent

In 1991, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act was passed to establish guidelines for telemarketers. As mobile marketing came online, the Act was updated to include text message marketing in 2003. And then in 2013, a clause was added that required marketers to get “prior express written consent” in order to send marketing messages via mobile devices.

So, what exactly does prior express written consent mean? It means you are required by law to have clear and conspicuous written disclosure to notify a mobile subscriber the following:

  1. The participant is aware that before opting in, they are authorizing delivery of automated marketing messages.
  2. They are unambiguously agreeing to receive texts at a phone number the customer designates.
  3. They are not required to enter the agreement as a condition of making a purchase.

Once these three points are addressed, you then need a signed written agreement before you can send marketing content. This agreement can be an electronic sound, symbol, or process, such as texting the word SUBSCRIBE to a number. It’s a good idea to review the verbiage you use in mobile marketing with your legal team, but here are a few examples to get the wheels churning:

  • Consent is not a condition of purchase
  • Automated marketing messages will be sent to the number provided

It is hugely important that you follow these requirements, or you risk being penalized.

A Few Other Points on Mobile Compliance

We are continuing to see new rules and regulations being enforced as the mobile marketing landscape changes. One example is the RILA Petition, which states that a one-time message does not require prior express written consent if:

  • It is requested by consumer
  • It is sent immediately
  • It only sends the information the consumer requested

It’s important to stay on top of mobile compliance so that you stay on the safe side of the law. Rules will change, so it’s smart to partner with a mobile marketing brand that is on top of recent industry updates, and who can ensure that your mobile campaigns are always approved.


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