2 Types of SMS Short Code

If you’re just getting started with text marketing, you might be wondering whether or not to use SMS short codes. Companies employ 5- to 6-digit phone numbers to conduct text message marketing campaigns. Consumers can join these campaigns by texting a keyword to a company’s shortcode. Companies then send automated text messages to these opted-in subscribers. Coupons, discounts, company announcements, and promotions are some subjects covered in the texts.

SMS short codes may send millions of text messages in a minimal amount. It makes them the best choice for reaching a large number of people. Short codes are divided into two categories: random and vanity. They have identical functionalities and possibilities. It all boils down to the quantity and associated expenses.

This article will discuss what this means and which messaging strategy is best for your company. Let’s look at some of the critical distinctions between these two types of SMS short codes, namely:

  1. Random Short Codes
  2. Vanity Short Codes

1. Random Short Codes

Random shortcodes, sometimes known as “non-vanity short codes,” are precisely what they sound like. You do not influence the number generated by the system when applying for a new code. A random five or six-digit text number is assigned to your company.

The advantage of random short codes is that they’re easier and faster to obtain since you don’t have to go through a lengthy approval process. The downside is that the number can be challenging for customers to remember, making it difficult for them to opt-in to your campaign.

2. Vanity Short Codes

Vanity short codes, like license plates, allow you to select the number associated with your URL. You can also pick between a five or six-digit number. Vanity codes are more costly than random since the U.S. Short Code Registry charges a premium for you to choose and keep a number of your choosing.

Vanity short codes are more popular since they allow you to pick digits that are easier to recall, making texting join quicker. Vanity SMS short code examples include 888111 and 222444.

What is a short code?

An SMS short code (also known as Common Short Code or CSC) is a 5- or 6-digit number that may be used to send text message marketing campaigns to mobile phones. Short code messaging is used in sending messages to consumers and consumers to the business. 

You may use short code numbers to send bulk messages, communicate sales incentives, ask survey questions, and more if a consumer has opted-in to receive texts from your company.

Consumers may be directed to text a keyword to a code number (for example, “text WINNER to 12345”) to obtain information, participate in an election, or opt-in for SMS marketing communications through internet marketing campaigns, radio, or other media.

Due to concerns about spam and phishing, mobile carriers in the United States discontinued shared shortcodes in 2021. While there are exceptions to the shared short code ban, they are few and far between. As a result, if you want to utilize a short shared code, your company will have to show why it should be exempt from the decision. 

If you want to know more about your options, read our article on SMS Short code vs. Long Code Marketing.

When should you use a short code?

There are many situations when the use of a short code is appropriate. Businesses sending hundreds of messages daily using an extended code are at risk of being marked as spam. High-volume shortcodes are not subjected to carrier filtering, as carriers have pre-approved high throughput shortcodes. This makes them perfect for delivering a large number of messages quickly.

The ideal timing for sending messages using a short code is Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the recipient’s time zone.

Some scenarios when a short code is an ideal include the following:

  • Time-sensitive offers and flash sales
  • Location-based messages
  • Two-way customer service interactions
  • Appointment reminders
  • Promotions and giveaways
  • Notifications and alerts
  • Voting and polling 
  • Surveys 
  • Subscriber opt-ins

Why should you use a short code?

One of the main reasons businesses are best suited for SMS short code used is its strict compliance with rules. There’s a lot on the line, and you must know how to comply with regulations and best practices. The good news is that following the rules is not difficult. There are two sets of rules for short code text messaging: the CTIA’s guidelines and the TCPA standards.

CTIA Short Code Compliance – The CTIA is a trade organization representing wireless carriers. It was established to maintain and enforce best practices for short code texting. The CTIA vigorously supervises all SMS short code programs in the United States to guarantee that firms follow the regulations and protect customers. The CTIA is most concerned with ensuring that those receiving texts have chosen in advance, that SMS marketing initiatives include the formal compliance language, and that shortcodes deliver material that is not against the rules.

TCPA Short Code Compliance – The TCPA is a law that protects consumers from unwanted phone calls and texts. The act requires that firms obtain written consent before sending marketing messages to consumers. The TCPA’s rules also apply to SMS short codes. For short code text messaging to comply with the TCPA, businesses need to have express written consent from the people they want to receive texts.

What is the cost of a short code?

Codes aren’t sold in the world of short code messaging; instead, they are leased. What you’re paying for is the right to utilize it. While most SMS services include the cost of a dedicated code in their monthly fee, they are generally paid for every quarter.

The cost of a short code is always the same: it’s either random or vanity. Vanity codes are generally more expensive than random ones, ranging from $500 to $1,000 more.

Random Short Codes cost $500 per month, while Vanity short codes start at $ 1,000 per month.

There is also a set-up fee and minimum price plans depending on your chosen SMS service. It costs around $350 per month, more or less.

Who makes use of shortcodes?

Hundreds of businesses use SMS short codes to their advantage, owing to their scalability, high-quality message delivery, and turnkey platform. Many organizations collaborate with us when seeking the best mass text apps.

Some of the sectors where SMS short codes are utilized include:

  • Marketing and Advertising – Time-sensitive offers and other promotional content is suited for SMS short codes. It allows businesses to reach a broader audience in a shorter time without worrying about the message being marked as spam.
  • Customer Service – Businesses can use SMS short codes to confirm appointments, provide updates on service requests, or follow up with customers after a purchase. It is a great way to keep your customers updated and engaged with your business.
  • Event Planning – Whether it’s a concert, festival, or conference, SMS short codes can be used to send event reminders, updates on schedule changes, or announcements about special offers.
  • Education – Schools and universities can use SMS short codes to send out important information such as class cancellations, test dates, or school closures.
  • Finance and Banking – SMS short codes can send fraud alerts, account balances, or appointment reminders.
  • Healthcare – Hospitals and clinics can use SMS short codes to remind patients of their upcoming appointments, send test results, or provide prescription refill information.

How do I determine who owns a short code?

The United States Short Code Directory is the best resource for determining who owns a short code and whether one is available. You may use this tool to determine who owns a short code or check if one is available.

Take the previous example of “515151,” for example. According to the database, this shortcode was initially registered on September 17, 2014, by KTLA-TV. The database may not be accessible, but it provides similar shortcodes and registration dates.

Lastly, a short code is handled directly by the company, so there are no middlemen to deal with. It implies that the firm using the shortcode is solely responsible for messages sent and received. Working with JookSMS, on the other hand, allows you to avoid any potential headaches that come with shortcodes by providing a reliable, easy-to-use, and compliant platform.

If you are interested in having your own short code, here’s how to get a short code:

  • First, you’ll need to decide on a short code provider. We recommend JookSMS, as we are a reliable and compliant platform.
  • Next, you’ll need to select a short code that’s not already in use and is easy for your customers to remember.
  • Once you’ve selected a short code, you’ll need to complete an application with your short code provider. This will include information about your business and how you plan to use the shortcode.
  • After your application has been approved, you’ll be able to start using your shortcode!
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