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Short Codes Vs. Long Codes for Text Marketing

EZTexting blog
Short Codes Vs. Long Codes for Text Marketing

While Shared Short Codes have been a mainstay in the text marketing world for years, the carriers have begun to end support for the troubled 6-digit textable numbers due to their high propensity for being misused by a small percentage of people "sharing" the same Short Code. As a result the industry is moving toward Toll-Free Numbers. A Toll-Free Number is a textable 10-digit number that offer the benefits of a dedicated number — meaning it's yours alone — with all the functionality of a Shared Short Code.

But let's look at the benefits and drawbacks of both:

Benefits of 10-Digit Long Codes

With a textable, 10-digit Toll-Free Number you can create a recognizable business identity,  legitimize your texts, leverage keywords, and send to one person or thousands with a Toll-Free Texting number!

  • Easily Identifiable Private Number Tied to Your Business
  • Toll-Free Numbers Can Project the Presence of a National Brand
  • Contacts and Customers Can Text or Call the Same Number
  • Fully Compatible With Automation and Keywords
  • Full Support for MMS Picture & Video Messaging

Benefits of a 6-Digit Short Code

The primary drawback to the 10-digit Toll-Free Number is that it's harder to remember. A 6-digital short code, like 858585, can stick in the memory if someone spots it on a sign. The reality is, however, that the 10-digit Long Code is the future the carriers seem to be backing, which means the Shared Short Code may not be long for text strategies. 

Short Code Drawbacks

  • Shared Short Codes are just that, shared, which means it’s not truly a part of your growing brand.
  • Critical Keywords for your business that run on Shared Short Codes may be taken by competitors or others
  • Mass messages sent via Shared Short Codes are also more likely to be blocked by carriers for perceived transgressions.
  • Short Codes cannot be called.

Dedicated Short Codes are available, but are prohibitively expensive for many companies, with set monthly costs hovering around $500. Short codes must be individually activated for each country, as well as approved by each carrier.

The full advantages and disadvantages of short and long codes is a complicated issue, further complicated by the fact that carriers often change their capabilities and rules (as well as the fact that companies lack resources to keep track of – and test – each update).  Short codes, with a few noted exceptions, have been the way to go in the U.S. for a long time, however, as noted above, the carriers are beginning to turn toward the 10-digit Long Code as a safer and more stable alternative.

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