Today, many companies are incorporating mobile marketing strategies for consumer engagement. SMS or text message is one of the most efficient and far-reaching modes of communication with consumers. 77% of consumers have a more positive outlook of a company that has text messaging capabilities and are generally open to receiving SMS messages for a variety of reasons, including appointment reminders, product feedback, and more.

Businesses may either send text messages through short codes or long codes. Though both are useful and can reach mass audiences, there are distinct differences between the two. Read on to learn more about SMS short codes and SMS long codes.

SMS Short Code

SMS Short Code

An SMS short code, also called a Common Short Code (CSC), is a five or six-digit number used for A2P (application to person) communication. By texting in a keyword to this number, users automatically opt-in to that business’s database and agree to receive messages.

Businesses that need to interact with large audiences use short codes for mass texting. With short codes, you can send thousands of messages instantly. You may opt for a shared short code or a dedicated short code for your business, the latter of which exclusively belongs to your business. Dedicated short codes also gives businesses creative freedom and control over custom keywords.

If you choose a dedicated short code, you may also choose between a random short code or vanity short code. Like custom keywords, vanity short codes provide businesses with more control over their brand and more cohesive marketing.

Advantages of SMS Short Code

Short codes are useful for sending alert notifications and mobile coupons. You can even use a short SMS code to run marketing campaigns, such as text-to-win campaigns, for your consumers. SMS short codes can be used across the nation as they are not location specific.

Short SMS codes are ideal for time-sensitive mass texting. You can send as many as 500 A2P messages per second. Since short codes are easier to remember, users are less likely to make mistakes when typing them in. With short codes, you can send both SMS and MMS to your consumers.

Disadvantages of SMS Short Code

Despite their many advantages, short codes also have two notable disadvantages. One is that short codes are often viewed as more impersonal due to their distinctly short length. Because P2P (person to person) communicated is mainly done via long codes, short codes are often automatically associated with automation. Templates and a lack of personalization can reinforce this idea.

Another disadvantage is that short codes have a longer, more involved approval process. If your business needs a short code quickly, this can cause problems with planned marketing campaigns.

A cellphone with an opened text message notification displayed

SMS Long Code

An SMS long code, also referred to as Direct Inward Dialing or a DID, is a standard ten-digit number. Long codes are particularly useful for low-volume and personalized communication. Two-way communication is a tenant of long codes, which is especially useful for group text messaging and personal alerts or notifications.

Businesses can opt for random numbers, area-code-specific numbers, or toll-free numbers. If global connectivity is important, international numbers (or global DIDs) are also available.

Advantages of SMS Long Code

SMS long codes are ideal for P2P communication. Dedicated long codes allow both Mobile Originated (MO) content and incoming messages, meaning your clients can initiate contact. Both types of messages have no limitations.

When a consumer receives a message from a DID, it creates a personalized feeling. It does not make you seem like a bot — no need to mention that seamless two-way conversations are crucial in today’s marketing world. You have to provide services tailored to the needs of your consumers.

And unlike short codes, long codes involve minimal setup time. It may take you less than a few hours to get a long code number and run it for your business.

Disadvantages of SMS Long Code

While an SMS long code is handy for your business in certain aspects, it has some drawbacks too. One of the largest disadvantages of a long code is that you cannot communicate with a mass audience. The default base rate of long codes is one message per second. Though this can be mitigated by buying multiple long codes, it is still harder to mass text or support large consumer bases.

Under the Carrier regulations, you cannot send more than 250 SMS per day with the same long code number. An incorrect SMS means a suspension of your service or a fine of up to $1500 per message. SMS marketing is strictly prohibited and can result in the immediate suspension of your long code.

Another drawback of long codes is the digit length. More digits means an increased chance that a user may enter a wrong number.

Additionally, while long codes are easy to set up, the individual message fee is higher compared to short codes.

Take Away

Both SMS short codes and SMS long codes have advantages and disadvantages. The former is suitable for businesses that need to send thousands of messages instantly. Short codes are easy to remember but take a longer time to set up. With short codes you can send SMS as well as MMS to your consumer.

Long codes are designed for one-to-one communication. While the long standard code looks personal, it is harder to remember. You also have limitations on your SMS traffic as well as message content.

Whether you choose a short code or a long code for reaching out to your users, SMS has become an effective marketing and promotional tool in today’s business world.