Texting with Powered By Text (PBT) and/or Twilio

There are differences in cost and effectiveness between the two SMS providers that we recommend you evaluate for your church. From a technical perspective, here are the main differences in how each relate to and interact with TouchPoint:

  1. Twilio uses long codes (i.e. traditional phone numbers) and PBT uses short codes (6 digit numbers) along with Keywords.

    • This means that all groups will share the same number on PBT, while in Twilio each group will have a unique number or set of numbers.

    • This can impact the way that two-way texting is handled since it is possible that two different groups could be sending messages from the same number around the same time. If a person responds to the shared PBT shortcode, the response will be recorded as from the last group that sent the person a message unless a Keyword is also sent as part of the reply.

    • Church staff will need to take this into consideration with how they use reply words and how users can manage their individual opt-ins and opt-outs.

  2. PBT allows for sending MMS messages from TouchPoint. This option is not available when using Twilio.

  3. PBT allows for sending text messages to everyone subscribed to a PBT group from TouchPoint.

  4. Groups are set up and managed in TouchPoint for Twilio, while in PBT they are set up using PBT’s portal and imported into TouchPoint. The API and webhooks will keep subscriptions synced. If you are using PBT, you can send text messages directly from your PBT portal. For that reason, you do not have to have ALL of the PBT groups in TouchPoint. You only need to add groups that you want connected to TouchPoint.

    • SMS groups can be edited under Administration > SMS Management. Twilio groups are edited by clicking the name of the group. PBT can be edited if absolutely necessary by deleting the group and adding it again.

  5. Subscribe/Unsubscribe reply words are managed by TouchPoint for Twilio, while PBT manages these for PBT groups.

    • To subscribe/unsubscribe from a group in Twilio, a user can use the Start, Stop, Stop All words.

    • In PBT, a user must text the group Keyword to subscribe. Replying with Stop will unsubscribe a user from the last group that sent them a message from the shortcode.

Latest Update


Added MMS and Send to Group options for PBT