SMS short codes are 5 or 6-digit phone numbers and are often used by business organizations to send out a high number of messages at once. They’re generally used as a marketing strategy and include the likes of discounts, offers, competitions, prizes to be won, and more. Because of the ability to reach such a large amount of potential customers at once, short code texting has become a very lucrative advertising tool to increase sales and profits. For a person to receive short code messages, they generally have to agree to opt-in by responding with a keyword provided in a text that’s sent out to them.
Different Forms of SMS Short Codes
Two different forms of SMS short codes are generally used for advertising. These are random and vanity short codes. While they provide mostly the same features, there are a few differences between the two when it comes to the control over the number and the price of each.
Random Short Codes
Random short codes, also called “non-vanity short codes,” involve the sending of a new code where any number can be sent out. The receiver can’t choose what that number will be. The number will be 5 or 6 digits long and randomly generated. Random short codes are cheaper, and so are the more commonly used between the two.
Vanity Short Codes
With vanity short codes, the receiver gets to choose their own number. They can also choose whether it has 5 or 6 numbers too. Because they allow the option of choice, vanity short codes usually cost more than random codes. By having control over the number that will be chosen, vanity short codes are the preferred choice by most users. It makes it easier to opt into receiving texts.
Shared vs Dedicated Short Codes
Short code texting can involve using either shared or dedicated short codes. While shared codes have been more popularly used in the past, vanity codes have now taken over. With the change in technology, they’ve become the only available type of short code for use.
Dedicated Short Codes
Dedicated short codes used to only be used typically by larger companies since they cost more. However, smaller companies have since adopted them. Because of this, they’re the only available choice of short codes used.
Shared Short Codes
Shared short codes used to be popular amongst multiple brands due to their lower cost. However, they were banned at the close of 2021 due to being commonly used for spam.