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What is a Short Code Audit?



In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson answers the question, “What is a short code audit?” Prefer to read? No problem. See the post below. You can also find answers to all your SMS marketing questions in our Q&A video library.


What Is a Short Code Audit?

First off, a short code is a phone number consisting of five or six digits used by a brand to communicate with their customers. While the brand has customers, so do the wireless carriers (for example, AT&T and Verizon). The wireless carriers want to make sure brands are using short codes appropriately and are abiding by their rules and regulations.

How do wireless carriers make sure brands and organizations use their networks appropriately?

To make sure brands and organizations use short codes the correct way, the wireless carriers conduct short code audits. The goal of a short code audit is to address all the crucial elements of an SMS program.

A few things the wireless carriers look at:

  • The opt-in process
  • Where the short code is advertised
  • The customer support process (for example, what happens when consumers text “HELP” and “STOP“)

Wireless carriers make sure everything is in compliance and working properly. If certain elements aren’t working to standards, a wireless carrier can issue a short code audit. A short code audit addresses the brand and specifies the brand’s short code issue. The wireless carriers allow the brand to fix the issue by a set date, and if the issue isn’t resolved, the wireless carriers have grounds to suspend the short code. Once a short code is suspended, the brand can no longer send or receive messages on that wireless carrier. A short code suspension can have a big impact on a brand or SMS software provider, especially for shared short codes. If 50 brands use a shared short code and that short code is shut down due to a compliance issue, the impact can be significant.

Depending on the violation, the severity of the penalty can vary. There are a few severity levels; the highest level results in an immediate suspension until the brand or SMS software provider resolves the issue. Although the highest level is rare, the most common violations consist of a warning and give the brand a set number of days in which to resolve the issue.

As an SMS marketing best practice, it’s crucial to make sure SMS programs always follow the wireless carriers’ rules and regulations. If an issue arises, it’s always best to fix the issue as soon as possible and communicate the issue in the short code audit, then make sure the issue doesn’t happen again.


Learn more about SMS short code compliance with these resources:

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