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How Do You Select a Good Vanity Short Code?



The video above shows Tatango CEO Derek Johnson answering the question, “How do you select a good vanity short code?”

If you’d rather read his response, you can find a written summary below. You can also find answers to all your SMS marketing questions in our Q&A video library.


How Do You Select A Good Vanity Short Code?

Before we can discuss a good vanity short code, we need to briefly review what a short code isA short code is a 5-6 digit phone number a brand can use to communicate with consumers. There are two kinds: vanity and non-vanity. The former means the numbers were selected by the brand, the latter means the numbers were random.

So, what makes a “good” vanity short code?

You can approach this a few different ways. One way is to make it memorable: pick numbers that are easy to remember. This could be a repetitive pattern such as 33033 or 711711. Both of those examples lend themselves well to the way we naturally group and segment things in our memory. In these cases, we recommend a five-digit number simply because it’s shorter and easier to memorize. However, six-digit short codes aren’t that much harder—chances are that 711711 is easier for you to remember than 33033!

Another good thing to keep in mind is to avoid placing similar-looking numbers together. For example, keep 8 and 9 separate because they might seem to blur together on a billboard or in a quick advertisement. Also, don’t repeat the same number more than twice in a row if you can help it. The numbers 33311 and 333311 look more similar than 33311 and 3311 do. Consider how the consumer will see this short code—if the numbers can blend together and become hard to read, it’s not a good idea. You’re likely to lose that consumer.


What To Avoid

We recommend avoiding a vanity short code that spells out a word when translated. It can be cool and fashionable to make your short code spell “PIZZA” for your pizza promotion, but that comes with some problems:

  1. The consumer might not know off hand how to translate the given keyword into the short code number or vice versa. This small barrier might be the thing that makes them decide it’s not worth the effort to subscribe.
  2. The numerical result of that short code can be a jumbled mess. This is hard to remember, hard to look at, and can take more time than most consumers care to give.

In general, we recommend avoiding these kinds of vanity short codes. It just isn’t worth it.

We hope that answers your question about vanity short codes. If you have any remaining questions, feel free to browse our free text message marketing resources. If you have a more pressing concern or question, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

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