Short Code Texting is a way to send text messages by typing in a shortcode instead of a number. Shortcodes are easy-to-remember numbers that you type into your phone and then press “send” or “call.” They’re often used with mobile marketing campaigns as well. 

For example, when someone types in “PINEAPPLE” and presses send, they’ll be taken to a mobile-optimized landing page for that company. Short Code Texting emerged as a relatively new way to communicate. It started with SMS or text messaging on your phone and now includes shortcodes for marketing campaigns ( What is SMS?).

In terms of its purpose, Short Code Texting is a way to send text messages quickly and easily. You’ll be taken directly to the company’s mobile-optimized landing page when you type in their shortcode, which saves time on your phone bill as well.

What Are Short Codes Used For?

Short codes are mainly used for marketing campaigns, but they’re also a way to text friends quickly if your phone is lost or missing. Companies will use  short code texting as coupons that can be texted in as opposed to an email link. This contact method is faster, easier, and can reach more people because they don’t have to remember or type in long URLs for these offers. 

How do SMS Short Codes Work?

For SMS shortcodes to work, the Short Code Registry is the ultimate authority when it comes to leasing your shortcode, and many third-party providers can set you up with one. A specified sender or campaign is assigned to a short code by the mobile operator, who charges for sending and receiving messages transmitted over their SMS network. The number of messages sent on a particular shortcode will be limited by the pricing schedule.

How to Automate SMS Messages with Short Code?

Automate SMS Messages with Short Code

To automate SMS messages with shortcodes, you’ll need a third-party provider that specializes in text messaging. In this situation, the service will be completely independent of your mobile operator. All incoming texts will be routed through their software then re-routed back out to an external number if needed.

Short Code Texting can be used for many purposes. Shortcodes are typically five digits in length, and the messages received from them always come with a standard shortcode identifier at the beginning of the message body. The main purpose is to identify which company sent you these text messages to know how much or what kind of charge may apply when you receive the message.

These messages can include notifications about rewards, credits, or other promotions for products and services that you may already be a customer of. They also include alerts about low balances on your account, which could result in overdraft fees if not taken care of, as well as notices to confirm changes made to your account, such as new mobile numbers.

In some cases, companies will use these texts to send out surveys or marketing information about new products and services available for purchase.

What are the Benefits of Using an SMS Short Code?

The benefits of using SMS short codes are:

  • Time Efficient: Shortcodes are a fast, easy way of communicating with customers. Removing the need to type out long phrases saves time and can help keep the customer engaged, especially if there is no conversation between them and your company.
  • Brand Recognition: Shortcodes have a high brand recall, which largely is correlated to the user frequently seeing them in texts. Hence, their mind has a more conscious association with that particular code. This brand recognition creates higher levels of client retention and encourages consumers to talk about the product amongst themselves (which further increases awareness).
  • Easy to Remember: Shortcodes are easy to remember because they are short, which is a huge advantage over long codes that can be difficult to recall and type. Also, the alphabet letter automatically accounts for a lot of letters already.

What are the Cons of Using an SMS Short Code?

The cons of using an SMS short codes are:

  • Costly: Shortcodes are expensive because the number of companies allowed to use a specific shortcode is limited. It creates scarcity, and this, in turn, increases prices. It can also result in a less competitive market for these services, restricting other potential revenue sources. 

These business models are successful because they are flexible enough to cost variables like lower percentage rates that allow start-ups to join the marketplace without capital.

  • Customer Service Difficulty: When using a short code, consumers can’t have two-way conversations with businesses. If they text back and ask questions, it’s likely the company won’t answer them because there is no way to identify these messages. 

Giving customers two phone numbers can be confusing. For example, radio stations that use shortcodes often run into problems with listeners trying to call the number they’ve been instructed for texting.

Costs of SMS Short Codes

The cost of SMS short codes may vary depending on your country and your SMS service provider. The price for short code texting leasing in the U.S. is dependent on what type you get: a 3, 6, or 12-month term can be leased at $1k per month if it’s your vanity shortcode and non-vanity ones cost $500/month.

What are the Types of Short Codes?

Short code types

Common-Use Short Code

Common shortcodes, also known as mobile shortcodes or five-digit numbers, are used by phone companies to send messages over SMS and MMS. Short numeric I.D.s differ between carriers but typically consist of a group of 5 digits that can be sent straight from a person’s cell phone without having to go through the carrier they’re using.

A common short code’s main purpose is to address text messages that you send from your cellular phone. For example, a company may use 55-555 as their shortcode to make it easy to remember for their customers.

Dedicated Short Code

Large companies with a sufficient budget often lease dedicated shortcodes, but smaller businesses can also lease them if they need access to all possible keywords.

Companies with a dedicated shortcode will be able to send text messages without worrying about any other programs complicating the process. They have complete control over what message they can deliver and don’t need third-party input that may not comply with regulations.

For example, a company owns the dedicated short code number 77777. Since no other business or organization can send or receive messages using this specific shortcode, you must choose another one to use for your own private text messaging service needs.

Vanity Short Code

People use vanity shortcodes to link their contacts’ phone numbers with a marketing campaign. This way, when the contact saves and or updates their details in your contacts file, they will see any messages associated with the campaign you linked to your number.

Often, a marketing campaign that utilizes this technique is using SMS to get people excited about an upcoming event, such as sending limited seat tickets before they go on sale and reserving VIP tables at nightclubs. 

For example, a company may use 711711 as their vanity shortcode. You have the freedom to choose your shortcode as long as it is not taken yet.

What’s the Difference Between Shared, Dedicated, and Vanity Short Codes?

There are several differences between shared, dedicated, and vanity short codes. A shared shortcode is a number that can be used by more than one company. It means there’s no exclusivity on the number, and it has to work with any text messaging service providers for messages to get through.

A dedicated shortcode is a number that can be used exclusively by one company. The SMS or MMS messages bypass any other messaging service providers and go straight to the designated recipient.

A vanity shortcode is a number that one company’s contacts can use. This way, when the contact saves and or updates their details in your contacts file, they will see any messages associated with the campaign you linked to your number.

Large companies with a sufficient budget often lease dedicated shortcodes, but smaller businesses can also lease them if they need access to all possible keywords. A company with a dedicated shortcode can send messages without having any other programs complicating the process and has complete control over what type of message it wants to deliver.

Companies often use a dedicated short code to send messages with SMS for their customers to get updates on upcoming events. For example, some companies have the same number as their website and ask that you text them instead of calling if you want regular updates about new products they’re releasing or promotions they may be having.

A vanity shortcode is a number that one company’s contacts can use.

This way, when the contact saves and or updates their details in your contacts file, they will see any messages associated with the campaign you linked to your number. A short vanity code often links people’s phone numbers with marketing campaigns so that when someone adds themselves as a contact, they will receive messages about that campaign.

What are the Examples of Short Code Texting?

Sweet Cravings Bakeshop

SMS Short Code: 22-555

Welcome to Sweet Cravings Bakeshop! Reply “SUBSCRIBE” to get the latest deals, offers, and discounts on our pastries for the whole month!


Omen Car Dealership

SMS Short Code: 55-555

Are you looking for an excellent car dealership? Omen Car Dealership has got your back! Go to [insert website] to schedule a viewing. See you there!


Happy Shopper’s Retail

SMS Short Code: 111-119

This summer, two things are heating up! Score up to 30% discount on all the summer items. Just visit our store at [insert address] and show this message as you check out.

How to Get A SMS Short Code?

To get an SMS Short Code, you may follow the steps below:

  1. Lease a shortcode from the U.S. Short Code Administration.
  2. Select your preferred SMS service provider.
  3. You may ask your service provider for assistance and comply with the requirements to obtain a shortcode.
  4. Wait for your request to be processed.
  5. Allow your chosen SMS service provider to connect your shortcode before use.

What is Text Message Short Code Lookup?

Shortcode text lookup is a service that allows users to search for unknown numbers or texts and find the associated company. This way, you can see who might be texting you without knowing their phone number. 

For example, if someone in your contacts list was trying to reach you, but the number was blocked, you could use a shortcode text lookup to find out who it is. To find out more about a specific shortcode, you can use the U.S. Short Code Directory Search Tool to determine where it is being used and for what purpose.

What are the Short Codes for Different Regions?

CountryShort Codes
AustraliaThe Communications Alliance Ltd is responsible for governing premium and standard rate shortcodes. The four or six-digit numbers start with a 19, followed by an additional two digits. Services like transactional and subscription require either an MO opt-in through text message or Web-based opt-in plus a double SMS reply from Mobile Offering (MO).
CanadaThe Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association governs Canadian Short Codes. These codes can be five or six digits long, but only four-digit shortcodes are permitted due to handset incompatibilities. These codes vary in pricing between zero-rated (paid for by campaign), standard rate (user is responsible for standard carrier charges), and premium rates that range from $1-$10 CND per message.
IndiaCustomers can send any length of messages to their loved ones overseas by texting them a shortcode. These texts cost as little as Rs 1 and don’t have the downsides like high carrier rates or long queues that come with regular text messaging services.
MalaysiaCodes can be used for various purposes, including premium time, subscription services, or other types. Codes are five digits in length, start with “2” or “3”, premium pricing from RM0.30 up to 10.00! When codes are live, they generally take four weeks to get approved by operators, and shared ones need one week before approval is given.
PhilippinesThe National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is a regulatory agency that ensures reliable, affordable, and viable infrastructure in information technology accessible to all. The codes are seven digits in length.
United KingdomCodes are five digits in length and can be either 6 or 8. Codes starting with the digit seven typically belong to charities, while codes beginning with 9 denote adult-related services. Mobile operators sometimes use proprietary numbers of their own as well! SMS short codes tend to be owned by holding companies.
United StatesIn the United States, 5-6 digit codes are allocated by shortcode registry service providers iconectiv, and they can only be used in America. These codes cost twice as much if you choose a specific one that’s not randomly assigned to you. 

Are There SMS Short Code Alternatives?

Yes, there are several alternatives to using SMS shortcodes. One of them is an email-to-SMS service that sends your message out as an email along with a link for the recipient so they can read it on their cell phone or computer. You could also use MMS and WAP Push, which send messages in addition to picture attachments. Also, here are some platforms you can use as an SMS short code alternatives:

  • Active Campaign: ActiveCampaign is a marketing automation company that helps businesses grow their customer base and increase engagement through its software. The Saas platform provides automated features and communication tools for various channels better to serve customers with relevant information across all platforms.
  • Bird Eye: Birdeye is an app that captures feedback from all over the internet to provide users with a clear and accurate outlook on their company’s reputation. The Birdeye team has developed this software to help businesses close customer loops by giving them answers about what people are saying online through social media, review sites, surveys–anywhere customers might be talking.
  • Omnisend: Omnisend is a marketing automation platform for eCommerce that helps improve engagement, customer retention, and purchase rates. The power to improve your engagement, customer retention, and purchase rate with highly targeted messages in every channel.

What Is the Cost of a Short Code?

In the United States, you can buy shortcodes for three months or more. Vanity and select shortcodes cost $1000 per month, while non-vanity random ones are only $500.

When Should You Use Short Code Texting?

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE SHORT CODE TEXTING

You can use short code texting for various purposes. Shortcode texting is a great way to engage with your customers. Shortcodes are an excellent medium for instant communication, whether you want to send out important information or promote a new product. 

Short code texting is ideal for events and seminars where you need to transmit information on a single or a small number of topics. It provides an easy way to send out brief messages to attendees about location changes, times, speakers, etc. Also, it is great for marketing activities.

There are several reasons you may want to use text messaging, one of them being that it is more convenient than other forms of communicating in long text conversations.

A shortcode system can be accessed without the need for any app download, and there is no limit on how many messages you want to send or receive.

The most common reason people choose a service such as this will be its safety features, such as not having your phone number publicly visible when sending out messages or an option to block unknown numbers from contacting you.

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