Who doesn’t love an SMS message on their mobile phone from time to time? After all, every message notification brings with it the thrill of compelling words and illuminating images to pore over.
Of course, Short Message Service (SMS) messages are an engaging, direct way for your marketing team to show the value of your goods and services. But did you know there are 2 types of phone numbers—long codes and short codes—that you can use to reach customers?
Whether short codes and long codes ring a bell or not, you probably know more about both approaches than you think. Read on to learn more about long codes vs. short codes for SMS.
What is an SMS long code?
An SMS long code is a standard phone number that sends and receives SMS messages. You probably have one of these for personal and business use. In the US, an SMS long code is a 10-digit number that includes a 3-digit area code. This code can also make and receive traditional phone calls.
Long code use cases
Since everyone has a long code phone number, many customers will find it trustworthy and respond to even unfamiliar long codes. With that in mind, consider a long code phone number for:
- Corporate phone numbers
- Automated phone systems
- Direct client callbacks
- Chat applications
Still, there’s a catch with SMS long code vs. short code messages: when sending several hundred SMS long code messages a day, you can put your response rates—and your business—at risk. That’s because phone carriers view this behavior from long code numbers as spam attempts and will filter your SMS message accordingly.
To efficiently send SMS messages to large audience segments at once, it might be better to consider an SMS short code vs. a long code.
What is an SMS short code?
An SMS short code is a special 5 or 6-digit phone number that sends application-to-person (A2P) messages to mobile devices. Outreach applications automatically send A2P messages from short code numbers to large customer segments from organizations. This allows them to listen for and act upon the customer’s response. It also makes SMS short code messages more efficient and effective when connecting with audiences and fulfilling business objectives.
Short code messages use text and images to capture the recipient’s attention with a notification containing a URL to guide the reader to a website or app for more information and to convert. These notifications can also be dynamic and responsive. For instance, a message might instruct the recipient to respond with some specific text (usually in all capitals) to learn more about a topic, converse with a chatbot, or opt in or out of future outreach. While uncommon, SMS short codes can also make direct phone calls.
Short code use cases
Since phone carriers afford short codes a high-throughput volume and aren’t subject to spam filtration, these are a perfect fit for large quantities of time-sensitive A2P messages, such as:
- Promotional alerts
- Account notifications
- Policy updates
- Appointment and payment reminders
- Two-factor authentication or one-time password confirmations
Plus, short codes are easier for customers to remember—5 digits instead of 10—and can be more cost effective when your business has to send multiple SMS messages at once.
Should I use short code or long code?
Short code and long code SMS messages share a common purpose: to help you market to and connect with your audience better. But it’s in the fine details where one option may better suit your needs.
Send SMS short code messages when you want to:
- Get quicker, more actionable responses
- Increase conversions with automated outreach and responses
- Avoid spam filters when you send large volumes of messages at once
- Eliminate the need for call center representatives and workspace
Otherwise, consider an SMS long code message when:
- You don’t plan to send a large number of messages
- You want to humanize your brand in recipients’ eyes
- You require a live caller or message sender
- Your customer service involves repeat correspondence
Discover better SMS marketing with Twilio MessagingX
Now that you know the small yet crucial difference between long code vs. short code messages, it’s time to reach your audience with rich, instantly captivating SMS messages. But to do so, you’ll need scalability, ease of use, and end-to-end compliance. That’s what Twilio MessagingX offers—and it’s just a few lines of code away.