Text marketing is gaining immense popularity in the business world for engaging customers. Business organizations are incorporating mobile marketing strategies to initiate high-value interactions with potential customers, donors, and clients.

The traction is not surprising as SMS is one of the cheapest and quickest channels of communication. So, if you are planning to adopt SMS short code as a marketing tool, you might get confused between the types of SMS short codes and their sub-divisions.

However, this should not let you stay behind the curve. Read this post to learn about vanity codes and random codes.

SMS Short Code

Before we get into the details of vanity and random codes, it is worth knowing what an SMS short code is in the first place. An SMS short code, or Common Short Code (CSC), is a five or six digit number that businesses use for A2P (application to person) communication.

Users may text in a keyword to avail a promotional offer, request technical support, or even donate to a noble cause. By texting in the keyword, a user gets added to that business’s database. Short codes are ideal for mass texting because they have pre-approved high throughput.

You can send thousands of time-sensitive messages instantly with short codes. Therefore, if you are planning a mobile messaging campaign, you first have to decide whether you want a shared short code or a dedicated short code. If you choose a dedicated short code, you also have to choose between a vanity and a random code.

Shared Short Code

As the name suggests, multiple business entities share a shared short code. It is suitable for small to medium enterprises who have limited marketing budgets.

Shared short codes offer a limited choice when it comes to selecting a keyword. You cannot use a keyword that has already been picked. For instance, for the shared short code 44466, you have to create a unique keyword.

In addition, with shared short codes, you do not get to choose between vanity and random code. The carrier of the code already makes this decision at the time of purchasing.

Dedicated Short Code

Businesses opt for a dedicated short code when they want control over their brand image. Dedicated short codes give unlimited access to specific keywords that a business may want.

With dedicated keywords, you have the liberty to create any keyword for your brand. When you have a branded keyword, you can run your campaign the way you want.

In addition, you get to decide whether you want a custom vanity short code or randomly selected short code for your business.

A mobile device with an opened text message notification displayed with the content of the message showing also

What is SMS Vanity Short Code?

Vanity short codes are 5 to 6-digit SMS codes that you specifically chose for your business for multiple reasons. The code may serve a specific purpose; for instance, 247 may represent that your business is open 24 hours 7 days a week.

Moreover, the user may spell out something on their phone dial pad that is the alphanumeric equivalent to that word — for instance, 7-Eleven use 711711.

You will have to apply for a vanity short code lease. During the process, you have to select the vanity short code for your business. Vanity short code lease costs around $1,500 per month.

  • Vanity short codes are customized and unique to one company.
  • Vanity short codes are easy to remember as they have repetitive numbers, such as 727272.
  • Vanity short codes are easier to spell on dial-pad.
  • Vanity short codes are ideal for marketing campaigns that require users to text in SMS keywords to a short code.
A mobile device with a text message notification displayed with the content of the message showing and planet earth hovering above them

What is SMS Random Code?

Perhaps, you have got some idea by the name only. SMS random short code is “randomly” selected. What you may not know is that you are not the one who gets to choose a code randomly.

Rather, the U.S. Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) randomly chooses a 5 or 6-digit code for you. The process begins with an application to lease a non-vanity or random short code. If your application gets approved, you have to pay the lease amount, i.e., $1,000 per month.

Since the selection of the code is random, you cannot request any changes. Perhaps, for this reason, Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) calls it a random SMS code.

For instance,

  • You cannot request a review of the random SMS code.
  • You cannot request to exchange a 6-digit code with a 5-digit code.
  • You cannot request a “random” short code that begins with a specific number.
  • You cannot request a code with certain numbers.

SMS Vanity Code vs. SMS Random Code

Stats from the U.S. Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) show that almost 60% of all active short codes are random selections. Moreover, only 40% of them are SMS vanity codes. While random short codes are a popular choice, vanity short codes also come with many benefits.

Pricing is the key difference when you want to lease a short code. For a vanity short code, you have to pay a $1,500 lease amount every month. Non-vanity lease, on the other hand, cost you $1,000 per month.

Vanity short codes have easy to remember numbers, especially when the user is required to text an SMS Keyword. Not to mention, an easy to remember short code is critical for a successful marketing campaign. Unlike vanity codes, random short codes may have many numbers that look the same.

Vanity short codes are a good option for marketing specific campaigns, such as text-to-win campaigns. Random SMS codes, on the other hand, are effective for one-way alerts, such as appointment reminders, fraud alerts, announcements, or order status.

When you opt for a vanity code, you get the freedom to choose a code that you want for your business or brand. However, you get non-vanity SMS codes through random selection. The U.S. CSCA randomly selects a code and assigns it to you. You cannot request a review or exchange of the random code.

Now that you know about the vanity SMS codes and random SMS codes make sure to choose the right short code for your business.