SMS Short Codes vs SMS Long Codes

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Business owners nowadays have a wide selection of communication channels when contacting clients, but choosing the best service to do this will be quite a challenge. There’s the use of social media platforms, telemarketing, chatting, and more.

But there is a more straightforward option to communicate with people that seem to go unnoticed sometimes—that is texting. Studies show that text messages have an open rate of 98%, are opened within 2 minutes, and have more than 50% response rate.

These text messages are not ordinary. For SMS marketing, you need to have the right knowledge and strategy for it to succeed. There are long codes and short codes that you can use to better interact with your consumers. And this guide will teach you more about SMS long codes and SMS short codes and how to use them.

Short Codes, What Are They?

Short codes are short five-digit numbers used when sending SMS to your subscribers. They type in a particular keyword to your phone number to receive specific messages.

For instance, your business is a flower shop, and you have a 20% discount available for your VIP customers. If they need to message your business to take advantage of the promotion you just launch, you can let them send a message to a short code like 56677, which is much easier to memorize than a 10-digit phone number.

SMS service providers offer two kinds of short codes, and you’ll find out about them below, so keep reading.

Shared Short Codes

A range of companies use a shared short code. For these businesses to have separate traffic using the same number as everyone else, they must have their unique keywords.

Dedicated Short Codes

This is an exclusive five to six-digit numbers that you may obtain for your use. With dedicated short codes, you can choose from generated codes. This gives you full control of your brand’s SMS marketing, but remember that you usually have to pay a monthly fee and a one-time setup fee. Here are more advantages of Short Codes:

  • You are the only one using this number
  • You can select the keyword that you need or like
  • You can easily manage and monitor your business’s SMS campaigns
  • Your Dedicated Short Code will never be affected if there are issues with shared short codes (e.g., a shared short code closes down, etc.)

When You Can Use Short Codes

They are great for all your SMS marketing needs and campaigns, including text blasts, surveys, or announcements.

Long Codes, What Is It?

Unlike short codes, long codes are standard phone numbers composed of 10 digits, but they have the same purpose. Companies usually use these to update their customers about their orders, like for tracking a delivery. It is also mainly used to serve as the number for customer service. 

Long codes are recommended for those who want to build a personal connection with their subscribers. But before you decide that you want to use this, let us tell you the pros and cons when you plan on using this method, and you’ll find out about them below.


You can use them with not just text messages, but for calls too. This is ideal for business owners who want to use both forms of communication for clients and consumers.

Since the number is longer and more real, it will make your customer feel like they are going to reach a human being and not an automated response system. In short, this is an ideal choice for those seeking better customer service interactions.


The only downside for long codes is the limit of messages sent every second. You can only send one text message a second, which means that you can’t use this to send multiple campaigns to hundreds of people, like what Short Codes enable you to do.

And since the digit is more extended, your consumers might input the wrong number while trying to send you a text.

When You Can Use Long Codes

The cons mentioned above shouldn’t get into your head that much. Using long codes can let you have more personal communication with your customers. You can also create these numbers if you have employees handling customer service for your brand. And since you can use it for both SMS and calls, it will be easier to handle customer inquiries.

Now that we have covered the SMS short codes vs. SMS long codes topic, it’s up to you who wins. You can learn more about SMS marketing by checking out Txtra!

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