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Short Code Vs Long Code SMS Marketing: The Best 2022 Manual


If you have been on a quest to establish a more intimate means of interacting with your clientele, perhaps SMS marketing may be the panacea you have been seeking. This avant-garde marketing tool is not only efficacious but also cost-effective. With SMS marketing, you can promptly and intimately connect with your clientele via personalized messages that are concise, yet impactful. Nonetheless, before diving into the depths of SMS marketing, it is paramount to understand the contrasting nuances between short code and long code in SMS.

Whether you are a burgeoning enterprise or a well-established conglomerate, SMS marketing has proven to be a phenomenal approach to augmenting customer engagement and advancing brand promotion.

In this comprehensive guide, we endeavor to shed light on the ins and outs of Short Code vs Long Code SMS. From an exposition on the nature of long code, its significance, as well as the benefits and challenges inherent in employing short code vs long code SMS, to a gamut of examples and more, we shall leave no stone unturned.

short code vs long code
Short Code Vs Long Code

What Is Long Code SMS?

Long Code SMS marketing, an innovative SMS marketing strategy that employs a 10-digit phone number for sending and receiving text messages, has emerged as an efficacious means of reaching out to customers with bespoke messages that are concise yet comprehensive.

A striking advantage of Long Code SMS marketing is its facilitation of bi-directional messaging without necessitating the employment of a short code, thus furnishing businesses with greater flexibility and convenience in their communications with customers.

Furthermore, Long Code SMS marketing, which is less exorbitant than short codes, has emerged as a cost-effective way for enterprises to augment their brand promotion efforts and engender customer engagement. By embracing Long Code SMS marketing, businesses can fortify their outreach endeavors and optimize their communication strategies while mitigating expenses.

Types Of Long Code SMS

There are two types of Long Code SMS:

1. One-way Long Code SMS: Firstly, one-way Long Code SMS marketing facilitates transmission of text messages to customers, but the customers are precluded from responding or replying in kind.

2. Two-way Long Code SMS: Conversely, two-way Long Code SMS marketing, a more versatile and interactive communication channel, affords businesses the dexterity to engage in bidirectional messaging, where customers can send text messages back to the enterprise, thus enabling a more dynamic and responsive relationship between businesses and their customers. The capacity to receive and respond to messages on a Long Code SMS platform, therefore, empowers businesses to engage customers in a more meaningful and personalized manner while also elevating customer satisfaction and fostering customer loyalty.

Further, they are narrowed down to four sub-categories:
  • P2P (Person-to-Person): Person-to-Person (P2P), for instance, is a modality that enables a singular individual to transmit an SMS message to another individual by means of a long code.
  • A2P (Application-to-Person): Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS messaging is a mode of communication utilized by businesses or organizations to disseminate SMS messages to their customers or employees through long codes.
  • Toll-free texting: In contrast, Toll-free texting is a marketing strategy employed by businesses to provide a means for customers to transmit SMS messages to them, free of charge.
  • Local Long Codes/A2P 10DLC (10-digit long code): Local Long Codes/ A2P 10DLC (10-digit long code), a 10-digit phone number, is another approach utilized to transmit and receive SMS messages within the same country.

Out of these different modalities, P2P and A2P SMS messaging are the most widely adopted by businesses. However, the adoption of local long codes is rapidly gaining traction as businesses are now permitted to employ them for two-way communication. Moreover, there are an array of benefits to this type of marketing strategy, including voice enablement, augmented message volume, reduced costs, and multifarious usage capability.

Why Is Long Code SMS Important?

Long Code SMS marketing is important because it allows businesses to reach out to their customers in a more personal way. With Long Code SMS marketing, businesses can send and receive text messages from their customers without having to use a short code.

Short codes are 5 or 6-digit numbers that are used by businesses to send and receive text messages. Long codes are 10-digit numbers that are used by businesses to send and receive text messages.

Long Code SMS marketing is less expensive than short codes, so it is a great way to connect with your customers and promote your brand without breaking the bank.

When To Use Long Code SMS

Long Code SMS marketing, a versatile communication conduit, presents businesses with a myriad of opportunities to engage customers, optimize outreach efforts, and invigorate brand promotion.

Indeed, the utility of Long Code SMS marketing is discernible in a spectrum of contexts, including but not limited to:

  • Dispatching appointment reminders to customers, which can foster better compliance and boost customer engagement.
  • Propagating marketing messages or coupons, which can stimulate sales, promote customer retention, and heighten brand visibility.
  • Emitting one-time passcodes or verification codes, which can streamline authentication processes and enhance security.
  • Setting up automated customer support systems, which can facilitate swift and responsive resolution of customer queries and complaints.
  • Dispensing order updates and shipping information, which can cultivate transparency and customer satisfaction.
  • Executing drip campaigns, which can leverage personalized messaging to fortify customer relationships and augment brand recognition.
  • Providing customers with salient tips and advice, which can bolster customer knowledge and engender trust in the enterprise’s expertise.

By embracing Long Code SMS marketing, businesses can amplify their communication capabilities, enhance customer engagement, and optimize their outreach strategies while also cultivating brand recognition and loyalty.

Benefits of Using Long Codes

The deployment of long codes in SMS marketing is rife with myriad benefits that can amplify the efficacy of businesses’ outreach endeavors, foster deeper customer relationships, and bolster brand recognition.

In particular, the employment of long codes affords businesses a number of key advantages, including:

  • Personal – Given the inherently personal nature of long codes, businesses can leverage this SMS marketing paradigm to cultivate deeper connections with their customers and foster heightened customer engagement.
  • Customizable – Long codes are highly customizable, enabling businesses to tailor their SMS marketing messages to their brand image, ethos, or campaign objectives, thus augmenting brand recognition and loyalty.
  • Affordable – Long codes are highly economical, facilitating cost-effective SMS marketing campaigns that do not compromise on quality or impact, thus enabling businesses to optimize their outreach strategies without draining their financial resources.
  • Measurable – Long codes are highly measurable, furnishing businesses with sophisticated analytics and metrics that enable granular tracking of campaign performance and ROI, thus facilitating data-driven optimization and informed decision-making.

By leveraging the manifold advantages of long codes in SMS marketing, businesses can optimize their outreach strategies, enhance customer engagement, and elevate their brand recognition and loyalty while also fostering cost-effectiveness and measurability.

What Is Short Code SMS?

Short code SMS marketing constitutes a powerful and impactful variant of SMS marketing that relies on a truncated phone number (typically 5 or 6 digits) to transmit and receive text messages. Short code SMS marketing can afford businesses a wealth of benefits, including:

  1. Memorability: By virtue of their brevity, short codes are remarkably memorable, enabling customers to effortlessly recall and text them to opt-in to SMS marketing campaigns, thus driving higher customer engagement and conversion rates.
  2. Filter-resistance: Short codes are less susceptible to being filtered by spam filters than long codes, which can drastically enhance message visibility and ensure that businesses’ SMS marketing messages are seen by their intended recipients.
  3. Conciseness: The inherent brevity of short code SMS marketing messages (owing to their limited character count) facilitates the creation and dissemination of messages that are succinct, pithy, and to the point, thus optimizing customer retention and comprehension.

By capitalizing on the power of short code SMS marketing, businesses can amplify their outreach capabilities, enhance message visibility, and boost customer engagement and retention, thereby elevating their brand recognition and driving long-term growth and success.

Types Of Shortcode

When it comes to shortcodes, two distinct types of shortcode must be taken into consideration: dedicated shortcode and shared shortcode.

Dedicated shortcode: A dedicated shortcode is an exceptional alphanumeric string, that is uniquely assigned to a single brand, and no other brand can lay claim to it. Although it is the priciest option, it also provides the most flexibility and autonomy in terms of regulation and operation.

Shared shortcode: In contrast, a shared shortcode is a numerical identifier that is shared by multiple brands, thereby making it a more cost-effective option. However, it comes with reduced flexibility and limited regulatory control compared to dedicated shortcodes.

Why Is Short Code SMS Important?

Short code SMS marketing is a particularly salient strategy for businesses seeking to deliver messages that are both targeted and personalized to their customers. This approach is lauded for its brevity, succinctness, and effectiveness, allowing businesses to craft compelling, attention-grabbing messages that resonate with their intended audience. Moreover, given its affordability, short code SMS marketing is an ideal choice for businesses looking to maximize their marketing spend and reach a broad swath of customers without breaking the bank.

By leveraging the power of short code SMS marketing, businesses can effectively promote their products and services, nurture customer relationships, and drive engagement with their brand. Whether seeking to deliver exclusive promotional offers, convey critical updates or announcements, or simply maintain an ongoing dialogue with their customers, short code SMS marketing is a tried-and-true approach that can help businesses achieve their marketing objectives and flourish in today’s dynamic, digitally-driven marketplace.

When To Use Short Code SMS

When it comes to SMS marketing, the utilization of short codes can prove to be a valuable tool when it comes to the dissemination of promotions or time-sensitive offers that convey a sense of urgency and prompt customers to act expeditiously. Short codes also offer the ideal mechanism for running contests and sweepstakes, not to mention a litany of other use cases including:

  • 2FA: Two-factor authentication
  • Appointment reminders
  • Coupons and discounts
  • Customer feedback surveys
  • Emergency alerts
  • Order updates and shipping information
  • Password resets

On the other hand, long codes offer an alternate approach that can be employed to develop and strengthen relationships with customers, as they are not as intrusive as shortcodes and are ideally suited for transmitting content that is not time-sensitive.

Benefits Of Using Short Codes

There are many benefits of using shortcodes for your SMS marketing campaign. Shortcodes are:

  • Easy to remember – For one, shortcodes are incredibly easy to remember, facilitating seamless opt-ins to your SMS marketing campaign.
  • Increased opt-ins – By making it effortless for customers to remember your shortcode, you can expect a boost in opt-ins, as individuals are more likely to engage with your messaging if they have an easily memorable number to text.
  • Less likely to be filtered by spam filters – Additionally, given that shortcodes are less likely to be filtered by spam filters, you can rest assured that your messages will be seen and read by your intended audience, helping you to maximize your marketing impact and achieve your business objectives.
  • Flexible – Furthermore, shortcodes offer a level of flexibility that is unmatched by other marketing channels. Whether you’re promoting a new product launch, sending out exclusive promotional offers, or simply keeping your customers in the loop with regular updates and announcements, shortcodes can be seamlessly integrated into a variety of marketing campaigns to meet your unique needs.
  • Scalable – Another key advantage of shortcodes is their scalability. Regardless of the size of your marketing campaign, shortcodes can accommodate a broad range of messaging requirements, enabling you to effectively connect with your customers and drive engagement with your brand.
Short Code vs Long Code vs Toll Free

Short code vs Long Code: Which is Better?

When it comes to SMS marketing, businesses have a choice to make between two options: short code and long code. Short codes are comprised of 5 or 6 digits and facilitate the transmission of text messages, while long codes utilize a 10-digit format for this purpose.

So, which is better? Short code vs long code?

Determining which of these options is superior to the other necessitates an examination of the circumstances surrounding the intended use. Should a wide swath of individuals need to be reached by the SMS marketing campaign, short codes represent the optimal selection. Indeed, short codes are equipped to transmit and receive up to 10,000 text messages every month.

In contrast, if the goal of the SMS marketing campaign is to target a smaller audience, then long codes constitute the most prudent choice. Long codes have the capacity to transmit and receive up to 1,000 text messages per month, rendering them suitable for instances where the intended recipients are fewer in number.

TCPA and CTIA Compliance

In order to embark on an SMS marketing campaign, businesses need to comply with the regulations established by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The TCPA and CTIA serve as pivotal governing bodies that safeguard consumers from unsolicited telemarketing calls and texts.

To comply with the TCPA, you must possess explicit written consent from each person to whom you want to send text messages. In order to comply with the CTIA, you must provide a physical address or toll-free number in each text message that you send.

Moreover, marketing messages are not allowed to cause any kind of harm, which is why businesses must be cautious and deliberate in their SMS marketing endeavors.

The following restrictions keep marketers from getting too carried away with their campaigns:

1. Opt-in: This means that businesses must obtain express written consent from each person to whom they want to send text messages.

2. Opt-out: Additionally, businesses must provide a way for people to opt-out of receiving text messages, known as opt-out.

3. Identification: Another regulation is identification, which requires businesses to include their company name or brand in each text message that they send. This ensures that consumers know who is sending the message.

4. Frequency: Frequency is also important, as businesses cannot send more than one text message per day to each person on their list. This ensures that consumers are not bombarded with text messages and have control over the frequency of messages they receive.

5. Unsolicited: Furthermore, businesses cannot send text messages to people who have not opted-in to their campaign, known as unsolicited messaging. This protects consumers from receiving unwanted text messages.

6. Illicit content: Finally, businesses cannot send text messages that contain obscene or offensive content, known as illicit content. This ensures that consumers are not subjected to inappropriate material.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your SMS marketing campaign is compliant with the TCPA and CTIA.

SMS Marketing Examples

Now that we’ve covered the basics of SMS marketing, let’s take a look at some examples of how businesses are using it.

Businesses that use long code marketing:

A striking scenario of SMS marketing campaigns are exemplified through the following magnanimous moments:

· A furniture store, whose customers have willingly subscribed to their SMS campaign, sends a resounding text message offering a jaw-dropping discount on their next purchase.

· A fashion-forward clothing store, whose customers have chosen to opt-in, sends an electrifying text message announcing an exciting new sale.

· A florist, who has amassed a cadre of loyal customers, reminds them of the special day for their beloved mothers by sending a vibrant text message urging them to order flowers before it’s too late.

· A scrumptious restaurant, whose patrons have enthusiastically signed up for their SMS campaign, tantalizes them with a sizzling text message revealing their latest culinary creation.

Businesses that use short code marketing:

· A colossal retailer sends a mystifying text message to customers who have previously opted-in to their SMS campaign, tantalizingly revealing a new sale that they won’t want to miss.

· A tantalizing cosmetics company sends an alluring text message to customers who have opted-in to their SMS campaign, gently reminding them to use their precious coupon code before it vanishes into thin air.

· An irresistible online retailer sends a seductive text message to customers who have opted into their SMS campaign, teasing them with a new product that they simply can’t resist.

As you can see, SMS marketing can be used by businesses of all sizes to reach out to their customers. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, SMS marketing is an effective way to connect with your audience.

What’s Next?

12.9% of customers said they’re more likely to support businesses that offer text-back capabilities


Now that you know the basics of SMS marketing, it’s time to start planning your campaign. If you need help getting started, check out our guide on how to create an SMS marketing campaign.


SMS marketing is a great way to reach out to your customers and promote your brand. Shortcodes and long codes are both great options for SMS marketing, so it depends on your needs as to which one you should choose. If you are not sure which one to choose, our team of experts can help you decide.

12 Channels is a digital marketing agency with over 6 years of experience in helping businesses grow. We specialize in SEO, social media marketing, SMS, and email marketing. Contact us today to see how we can help you grow your business.

Still, have questions about short code vs long code SMS? Our team of experts is here to help. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

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