Communication and engagement with customers are important in making a successful business. Thanks to the internet and digital technology, customer engagement is now a lot easier. We have text, email, audio, and video communication channels to name a few.
However, managing these channels separately is tasking which is why you must invest in a customer management or engagement platform. In addition, you need something flexible and customizable as customers respond better to personalized communications.
Twilio and Plivo are two software solutions that help businesses and developers carry out personalized interactions with companies across multiple channels. Which of the two platforms should you go for? Which is better? I’ll be comparing both to help you decide.
Twilio is a customer engagement platform businesses and developers can use to build trusted communications with their customers. The company was launched in 2008 and it is based in San Francisco, California.
The platform serves as a communications solution for departments, businesses, and industries to connect with, engage, and personalize communications with customers.
With Twilio, you can program applications for making audio and video calls, sending messages, and other communication functionalities like LiveChat.
Launched in 2011, Plivo is a communication platform with SMS, Voice, and SIP Trunking solutions. It offers APIs businesses can use to build and personalize customer communications.
Plivo is a highly-rated cloud communication platform provider with a global reach and serving more than a billion API requests per month.
Some of their top products include Contacto, SMS API Platform, Voice API Platform, and Zentrunk.
Twilio offers messaging solutions via MessagingX. It allows you to communicate with customers via different messaging mediums including SMS, WhatsApp, LiveChat, MMS, and Google & Facebook Business Messages. You can send and receive about 100 billion messages per year.
The platform employs about 1,500 partner carriers to ensure a global reach. It supports more than 200 phone number types including shortcodes, alphanumeric sender IDs, A2P 10DLC, and toll-free numbers.
You can use Twilio MessagingX to deliver notifications and marketing messages to customers and alerts to employees and staff. Also, you can use this service to deliver OTPs to customers and create cross-channel conversations with multiple customers.
Plivo messaging solutions include the SMS API and MMS API. You can set up 2FA, alerts and notifications, SMS marketing, survey, autoresponders, and reminders using the SMS API.
Plivo lets you send messages to customers in over 190 countries across the six continents and receive incoming messages in 14 countries. With the MMS API, you can send different multimedia formats including JPEG, GIF, MP3, and MP4.
Also, there’s an automatic MMS converter that converts multimedia messages to SMS if the receiving phone number doesn’t support MMS. In addition, Plivo SMS and MMS APIs support local phone numbers, alphanumeric sender IDs, toll-free numbers, and shortcodes.
Twilo is the better service here as MessagingX supports LiveChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google Business solutions in addition to SMS and MMS. Plivo messaging only features SMS and MMS APIs.
Twilio’s programmable voice feature allows you to make and receive calls from all over the world. It’s a highly customizable voice solution with SDK, speech recognition, interactive voice response, and recording transcriptions.
With this feature, you enjoy private cloud connections, indefinite scaling, and access to global carriers; you enjoy quality connections thanks to the Twilio Super Network. As a business, you can ensure customers always take your calls using Trust Hub verification.
You can use the Twilio voice solution to notify and alert customers, hold conferences with up to 250 participants, and more. Notably, it supports temporary phone number proxies so you can mask calls.
Explore the best alternatives to Twilio.
You can integrate voice calls into your business applications and platforms using Plivo Voice API. The API supports conference calls, voicemail, voice alerts, voice surveys, IVR, and call forwarding.
With this Plivo API, you can call any phone number, SIP devices, or SIP gateways in more than 200 countries. Other features include voice mail transmission, call transfer, text to speech, and call queuing to name a few.
Plivo connects to PoPs in different regions and when you make or receive a call, it uses the best quality route and one with very low latency. Notably, there’s a Feedback Voice API you can use to know how your voice messages are doing.
In terms of voice, the Twilio Programmable voice and the Plivo Voice API aren’t very different. Hence, it’s a draw in this Plivo vs Twilio category.
Twilio offers a solution to build HD real-time video applications. The video platform is built on WebRTC and there are APIs and SDKs available with virtual backgrounds and custom layouts.
You can easily customize videos to match your brand and with support for SDKs, the videos are deployable to different device types. Network Quality API and Network Bandwidth Profile API are available quality control tools to get the best possible quality.
With Twilio Video, you can integrate videos into other applications and monitor video room performance. Also, you can add other engagement options in your videos including text chats, whiteboards, and animations.
Currently, Plivo doesn’t have an API for video communication. The platform does support WebRTC via a browser SDK. However, you can only use the Plivo WebRTC SDK only for voice calls.
You can only make video calls using third-party video conferencing tools and connect with Plivo’s SIP trunking for better quality.
Plivo isn’t an option if you need a video API or SDK. Twilio is the right platform to use in such circumstances.
Generally; all Twilio features are programmable including SMS, Voice, WhatsApp, Email, Super SIM, Verify, and SIP Trunking APIs. However; the standout Twilio feature for developers is Twilio Flex.
Twilio Flex is a programmable cloud contact center platform. From here, developers can control all Twilio features they deploy. As a developer, you can build your dream customer contact channel and experience for your customers using themes, templates, and the drag and drop builder.
With Twilio Flex, you can deploy your contact center using tools like Flex Insights, the Plugin Builder, and Flex UI. Already, Twilio provides all the guides and codes you’ll need to set up your contact center with Flex.
Plivo High Level Objects (PHLO) makes building channels using Plivo’s APIs very easy for developers. It’s a drag and drop builder so you can build a customer contact center without needing to code. Simply drag and arrange the building blocks as you want.
There are PHLO templates with pre-built workflows so you can skip developing from scratch; you can simply customize the workflows after importing the templates. You’ll find templates to build voice notifications, alerts, IVR, SMS alerts, SMS autoresponder, and more.
Some features of PHLO include the component library, unique nodes, triggers, configuration, and information tabs.
For developer features, it’s a draw as Plivo High Level Objects (PHLO) and Twilio Flex is similar – both are drag and drop builders with templates and they work with their native APIs.
Twilio features an Elastic SIP Trunking solution with PSTN connectivity. It’s a fast-performing SIP Trunking solution that lets you deploy globally; to up to 109 countries. You don’t have to worry about slow service providers as the service auto-scales to meet the traffic requirements.
You can use the Twilio SIP Trunking service with the API or via your Twilio console. It’s a Trunking service you can trust as Twilio won the TMCNet Internet Telephony Product of the Year in 2021.
Twilio also made their SIP Trunking service affordable to customers. You don’t pay for monthly or annual subscriptions and there are no port or contract fees; you only pay for what you use.
Plivo features Zentrunk – a cloud-based SIP Trunking service. With this service, you enjoy global connectivity and you can readily connect your VoIP solution. Features like CLI and DTMF ensure you get the best possible quality.
Zentrunk uses three local carriers with PoPs in Singapore, Sydney, California, Virginia, Frankfurt, São Paulo. You can receive calls from more than 190 countries and make unlimited concurrent calls with Zentrunk Outbound.
On the other hand, Zentrunk Inbound lets you receive calls from more than 70 countries from different phone number types. Some of the features you enjoy with the Zentrunk service include IP authentication, encryption, interoperability, fraud detection, and alerts.
SIP Trunking on Twilio is about the same as that of Plivo Zentrunk; hence, once again, there’s no winner.
From your Twilio contact center, you can access real-time dashboards and historical reports. These are displayed as visual graphs and text-based tables.
Aside from the dashboards and historical reports, you can get insights using the TaskRouter event stream and TaskRouter statistics APIs. Twilio contact center, you can access real-time dashboards and historical reports. These are displayed as visual graphs and text-based tables.
Some of the insights you get include frequent customer summary, inbound statistics, task abandoned report, hourly usage, tasks by day, daily traffic, task duration summary, and agent summary.
Aside from the dashboards and historical reports, you can get insights using the TaskRouter event stream and TaskRouter statistics APIs.
You can view your call and SMS reports from the Plivo console. However, these reports are not integrated into one dashboard. You can access call reports from under Logs under the Voice API dashboard while SMS/MMS reports are available under the Messaging API dashboard.
Nevertheless, you can easily switch between both by selecting their menus on the console. Under call logs, you can view reports on Call Details, Call Relations, Call Stats, and Audio Quality Stats.
For SMS, you can get details on inbound and outbound messages, including their dates, sender, number, country, status, and cost. You can also get an overview report from the home dashboard of each API.
The better platform here is Twilio as you can access your reports and insights from one dashboard. Plivo features individual reports for each API.
Twilio offers you instant access to toll-free, mobile, alphanumeric, local, and national phone numbers in more than 100 countries. In total, there are more than 200 number types to choose from. You can either use the Twilio Web Console or API to find numbers.
In addition, you can choose from over 65,000 phone number prefixes to better represent your business and region. Twilio ensures all users comply with global regulations so you get the best-use-case phone numbers.
Twilio phone numbers are top-tier phone numbers, vetted and verified for quality so they are very reliable. Alternatively, you can easily integrate Twilio APIs to your existing phone numbers using number porting, SIP forwarding, or hosting.
With the Plivo phone number API, you can either search for new numbers or rent a number. You can search for fixed, mobile, and toll-free numbers using different number patterns, number types, country codes, and in different countries.
After you discover a number from the search, you can then use it as input to rent a number for your account. This number will appear in your dashboard if successful. With Plivo, you can buy numbers in more than 65 countries.
Furthermore, you can purchase shortcodes for SMS and MMS or connect your existing phone numbers via SIP forwarding.
Plivo and Twilio both have reliable phone number services. However, Twilio leads here as it allows you to buy different types of phone numbers in over 100 countries compared to Plivo’s 65.
Twilio features robust and secure services to safeguard users. The platform employs both data and product security modes. Messages you send and receive are TLS 1.2 encrypted
Twilio is ISO/IEC 27001 certified. Your accounts are kept safe using identity and access management control and with the Twilio Security Risk Management Program (RMP), you can easily identify and fix any security problem.
You can password protect your URLs such that only you and Twilio can access them using HTTP Basic and Digest Authentication. Furthermore, Twilio maintain the confidentiality and data of all customers.
With Plivo, you have access to some of the best security practices. From the security console, you can safeguard your account using a password, 2 Factor Authentication, Auth ID, and Auth Tokens. You can also control access of other users as the admin.
For SMS, you can whitelist countries that can receive your messages. The same is possible with Voice messaging via geo permissions. Plivo applies encryption and authentication to all APIs and their phone number carriers guarantee 99.99% network uptime.
The platform is compliant with the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Furthermore, the 24/7 state-of-the-art surveillance ensures nothing goes unnoticed.
In terms of security, you can rely on either Twilio or Plivo.
With the mobile SDK, you can manage media and SIP signaling via the cloud infrastructure. Just as with the web platform, you can build real-time communications.
These SDKs connect seamlessly with Twilio’s infrastructure so you can include any of Twilio’s products. You can build apps to do almost anything; the app can connect users with PSTN phone numbers, SIP, and WebRTC endpoints. Also, you can connect and route calls globally.
Functionalities you can build into apps include hardware abstraction, call queues, audio recording, text to speech, automatic gain control, echo cancellation, and call conferencing.
Just like Twilio, Plivo features SDK for Android, iOS, and web browsers. With the Android SDK, you can build apps for customers to make and receive calls with.
Likewise, the iOS SDK facilitates voice calls from iOS devices. Thankfully, there’s detailed documentation for you to follow.
Customers can use the Plivo Browser SDK to make and receive calls via their mobile browsers. As a developer, you can build web phones, conferencing bridges, and click-to-call applications with the Browser SDK.
Since they both support SDKs for Android, iOS, and web browsers, it is a draw for this round.
As a Twilio customer, you can get support via the help center, FAQ page, or by submitting a request. Notably, all Twilio products and development services come with detailed documentation when you buy or subscribe.
Among Twilio services are professional support services from experts and training. You can pay for professional support and get access to 24/7 Phone and Email Support, a dedicated technical account manager, and guaranteed response. The support plans include:
- Production: 4% of monthly spend or $250 minimum
- Business: 6% of monthly spend or $1,500 minimum
- Personalized: 8% of monthly spend or $5,000 minimum
You can get help on Plivo by submitting a support ticket or by using the content resource library. Also, Plivo features docs and a knowledge base for developers. Nevertheless, if you need guaranteed customer support, you have to subscribe to a premium support plan.
Plivo support plans include:
- Priority Plan: $250 per month
- Business Plan: $750 per month
- Personalized Plan: $2500 per month
Twilio and Plivo offer top-notch customer support and resources to customers. However, Plivo’s premium support options are cheaper than Twilio’s.
Twilo and Plivo feature separate pricing plans for their different products and solutions.
Twilio featured pricing plans include:
- Sending SMS: $0.0075 per SMS
- Receiving SMS: $0.0075 per SMS
- Sending SMS: $0.0200 per SMS
- Receiving SMS: $0.100 per SMS ($0.200 for toll-free numbers)
- Making calls: starts at $0.0130 per minute
- Receiving calls: $0.0085 per minute ($0.220 per minute for toll-free numbers)
- Browser/app: $0.0040 per minute
SIP Trunking: custom pricing (depends on your location and calling zone)
Video: custom pricing
Plivo featured pricing plans include:
- Sending SMS: $0.0050 per SMS
- Receiving SMS: $0 per SMS
- Making calls: starts at $0.0100 per minute
- Receiving calls: $0.0055 per minute
- Making calls: starts at $0.0065 per minute
- Receiving calls: $0.0025 per minute
Phone Number Rental:
- Local Numbers: $0.80 per month
- Toll-free Numbers: $1 per month
- Short Codes: $500 per month
Contacto: custom pricing
- Messaging and voice APIs
- Video API
- Flex UI
- SIP Trunking
- Insights and reports
- Phone numbers in 100+ countries
- Reliable customer support
- Details resources
- Mobile SDKs
- High cost
- A little complex for first-timers
- Messaging & voice APIs
- PHLO drag and drop console
- SIP Trunking
- Phone numbers in 65+ countries
- Insights and reports
- Good customer support and resources
- Less expensive
- Android SDK
- Doesn’t support video
- Supports only SMS and MMS messaging
- Individual reports
- No support for iOS
- Both Plivo and Twilio support text messaging and voice channels
- Both are communication and engagement solutions for businesses and developers
- They both support programmable voice
- Both feature drag and drop contact center consoles
- With either Plivo or Twilio, you get support for SIP Trunking
- Both tools are very secure
- Both Twilio and Plivo offer reliable help and resources to customers
- Both support mobile development
- Both offer premium (paid) support
- Twilio supports video while Plivo doesn’t
- For messaging, Plivo supports SMS and MMS while Twilio supports both in addition to LiveChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google Business
- Twilio offers phone numbers in about 100 countries while Plivo offers phone numbers in about 65 countries
- Twilio features Android and iOS SDKs while Plivo features an Android SDK and Browser SDK
Which is the better platform between Plivo and Twilio? Well, the answer is Twilio.
Looking at the feature comparison, Twilio is a lot more equipped as a communication and customer engagement platform than Plivo.
Plivo doesn’t support video calling which is a major con. You get more messaging options with Twilio and also more phone numbers to reach more customers. Plivo’s main advantage over Twilio is that it’s more affordable.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.