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How Much Do SMS Keywords Cost?



In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson answers the question, “How much do SMS keywords cost?” Prefer to read instead? No problem, please see the post below. You can also find answers to all of your SMS marketing questions in our Q&A video library; click here to browse.


What Is an SMS Keyword?

An SMS keyword is a word that people text to an SMS short code using their mobile phone. These SMS keywords are used to interact with a short code that corresponds to a specific mobile messaging campaign.

In SMS marketing, the process is simple. First, a consumer texts a keyword that a brand advertises, to initially opt-in to a specific mobile messaging campaign. Then, as a result of the opt-in, the subscriber will receive a text message response from the short code. An SMS short code is a 5-6 digit phone number that is specifically used for marketing purposes.

For example, if a customer wanted to subscribe to a local pizza place’s text program, they might text the keyword “PIZZA” to the short code 12345. Or, check out the real-life example below. To opt-in to Champs Sports text message program, users can text the keyword “HELLO” to the short code 88757.



How Much Do SMS Keywords Cost?

Usually, when people approach Tatango asking about the cost of SMS keywords, it usually means that they’ve been talking to a provider that offers shared short codes. A shared short code is an SMS short code that is used and paid for by multiple brands. A shared short code is different from a dedicated short code, because a dedicated short code is used and paid for by only one specific brand.

Since many shared short codes have hundreds or even thousands of businesses and organizations all using the same short code, the provider needs to differentiate each user of the shared short code. Typically, the provider will divvy up the keywords and charge a brand $15 or $25 per keyword in order to ensure that brands don’t claim every available keyword on the shared short code.

To illustrate a shared short code example, we’ll use the shared short code 515151. In this situation, there are two businesses, a quick-service restaurant, and an oil change service. These businesses both use the shared short code 515151. To avoid messaging issues, they use their own unique keywords, “FRIES” and “OIL”, respectively.

At Tatango, we only provide brands and organizations with dedicated short codes, so they don’t have to pay for every separate keyword per campaign. Using a dedicated short code gives brands the flexibility and freedom to choose any keyword (and any amount of them) without having to compete with other businesses. For example, if a brand launched a text message campaign using the keyword “SALE” on a shared short code, it will be hard for the brand to differentiate future text messaging campaigns without purchasing another keyword using the same shared short code. Dedicated short codes allow for more flexibility and ownership — and free unlimited keywords.


About Tatango

Tatango is comprised of a team of seasoned text message marketing experts located in Seattle. Our passion is to help brands and organizations solve their text message marketing challenges, build their SMS marketing campaigns, and increase revenue with the marketing channel that consumers engage with most.

Need help solving your text message marketing needs? Contact us today!

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