Short Code Texting: What Are Dedicated Short Codes?

In this short code texting article, we answer the question: What Are Dedicated Short Codes?

Before we explain the meaning of a dedicated short code, it is important to first take a look at what short codes are. Short codes are phone numbers with five to six digits.Brands use these codes to communicate with their customers. A short code phone number can look something like 12345 or 123456.


The Two Types of Short Codes

Brands can make use of two types of short codes, which are shared short codes and dedicated short codes. With a shared short code, brands need to share the phone number. This means that thousands of companies can use a short code at the same time to text with their customers.

With a dedicated short code, there is only one brand that owns and uses the phone number.


Why Brands Prefer to Use Dedicated Short Codes

Most brands use dedicated short codes for their text message marketing campaigns, and they have many good reasons to do so. Unlike with a shared short code, they do not run the risk that another user misuses the phone number.

If this happens, then all of the short code users bear the responsibility and the consequences. One of those consequences can be the suspension of a short code, which means that none of the phone number users will be able to send or receive text messages.

Brands can avoid this situation by using a dedicated short code instead. As long as they follow the rules, they will never have to worry that their short code will face a suspension.


The Use of Keywords with Shared and Dedicated Short Codes

Another reason why brands choose dedicated short codes over shared short codes is because of keywords. Keywords are used in text message marketing to trigger opt-ins. Consumers text a keyword, like for example PIZZA, to the brand’s short code.

With shared short codes, there is only a limited supply of keywords that act like Twitter handles or domain names. When there are thousands of organizations that share a short code, it can be hard to find a short code that is available. Because of this, SMS providers limit the amount of available keywords, or they charge high prizes for them.

With a dedicated short code, brands own all the available keywords. They can use any word or a combination of words.


Taking Control over Your Short Code

Marketers also use dedicated short code because of the association issue. With shared short codes, the phone number will appear on advertisements from all kinds of brands. These can be brands that are big competitors, or companies that have disagreeable business practices.

Companies shy away from shared short codes because of the lack of control over where and how other brands advertise them. Again, with dedicated short codes, brands are in full control over where and how they advertise it.


The Problem with Mistyped Keywords for Shared Short Codes

The last benefit of dedicated short codes that we want to address has to do with mistyped keywords. When someone mistypes a keyword to a shared short code, there is a possibility that that person subscribes to a different brand’s SMS campaign.

This is obviously a situation that companies want to avoid at all costs. Another problem that can arise from mistyping a shared short code keyword is that the consumer receives an error message from the text message provider that says something like, “Sorry we don’t understand your message. Please reply HELP or STOP”.

This message will not give clear instructions, because the SMS provider has no idea which of the thousands of brands the consumer is trying to message.

When somebody mistypes the keyword that connects with a dedicated short code, then that person will have a much better messaging experience.

Since the brand owns the phone number, it can provide a specific error message that is actually able to help the consumer. A customized error message could say something like, “Sorry, that keyword is not valid. If you like to opt-in to our SMS campaign, text the keyword “PIZZA.”


Take the Next Step in Ordering Your Own Dedicated Short Code

Now that you know the benefits of a dedicated short code over a shared short code. Take the next step and learn more about the price of a dedicated short code in this video.

Furthermore, don’t hesitate to contact our sales and support team if you have any questions regarding the purchase of a dedicated short code for your text message marketing endeavors.

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