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What Is a SMS Short Code?

 

In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson explains what a short code is. 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.

A short code is a five- to six-digit phone number, like 12345 or 123456 (or any random combination), that is used by a brand to communicate with customers via SMS messaging (see examples below). The types of messages that can be sent from a short code vary; they can be promotional, like coupons and sales, or transactional, like flight alerts or package reminders. A brand can also send recurring marketing messages or single-messages, such as a text to download an app.

 

Types of Short Codes

There are a few variations of short codes that brands use to send SMS marketing messages. These short codes fall into the following categories:

Vanity Short Code 

A vanity short code is a five- to six-digit phone number that is chosen specifically by the brand. Typically bands will choose a phone number that is easy for their customers to remember, like 123456. A vanity short code costs $1,000 a month to lease. It is a best practice for brands to opt for this type of short code as it creates a better customer experience.

Non-Vanity Short Code 

A non-vanity short code is also known as a generic or random short code. This type of short code is a five- to six-digit phone number that is randomly generated; it can be any combination of numbers. This is not the preferred version as it may be harder for customers to remember so they can interact with your marketing campaign. But this type of short code is the cheaper alternative, costing brands $500 per month to lease.

Shared Short Code 

A shared short code is a short code that is being used by thousands (or even tens of thousands) of different brands at the same time. This short code allows for multiple brands to run SMS marketing campaigns, each with their own keyword but on the same shared short code.

Dedicated Short Code 

A dedicated short code is owned by one specific brand. This type of short code allows only one brand at a time to run its SMS marketing campaign on that phone number. This is the recommended approach, as then your brand is not at risk of a shared short code getting shut down by bad actors. Dedicated short codes also enable brands to choose unlimited keywords, so they can run and track several campaigns on their own dedicated short code.

 

SMS Short Code Examples

Below are a few examples of SMS short codes in action.

In the image above, the SMS short code is 62288 and the keyword is “ANGR”. Consumers can text in for a chance to win one of 1,000 burrito parties or a trip to America’s Next Great Restaurant.

In the image above, the dedicated SMS short code (for Chipotle) is 888222 and the keyword is “GOLD”. Consumers can text in to learn more about the way Chipotle prioritizes serving the best ingredients that are raised with respect for the environment, the animals, and the farmers.

In the image above, the SMS short code (for Guinness) is 88500 and the keyword is “JOIN”. Consumers can text in to join the Guinness mobile club and participate in the Rate Your Pint Challenge.

In the image above, the SMS short code is 69866 and the keyword is “VETS”. Consumers can text in to join the online community of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

In the image above, the SMS short code is 68398 and the keyword is “WINNER”. Consumers can text in to join Nooksack River Casino’s text message group to receive exclusive weekly offers delivered to their mobile phones.

 

Choosing the Best SMS Short Code

For more information on SMS short codes, check out SMS Short Codes – What Every Business Needs to Know. Or, if you have questions regarding short codes or any other SMS marketing-related topic, you can chat with one of our team members. Click here to get all your questions answered.

 

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