Truedialog on the Difference Between Short Codes and Long Codes

As businesses refine their operation protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, text messaging is becoming an increasingly important communication medium. For maximum impact, however, the text message type must be matched to the targeted application. TrueDialog, a leading SMS text messaging provider, emphasizes that proper use of long code and short code messages is key to efficiency and business growth.


Long Code Text Messages 

Simply put, an SMS long code text message is essentially a digital phone call. Using a traditional 10-digit phone number, this message type enables two individual users to communicate with each other via their mobile phones.

In the business arena, smaller companies might permit employee-to-customer communication via personal mobile phones. However, larger tech-savvy businesses typically work with SMS text messaging providers, such as TrueDialog, to execute one-to-one long code text communications. Whether geared toward customer service and logistics or strategically woven into personalized marketing campaigns, long code text messaging accomplishes this goal.


Long Code Text Messaging: Advantages

Long code text messaging has three distinct advantages. It’s an ideal vehicle for personalized communication, whether between employees or externally with customers and vendors. Finally, this person-to-person texting method is quite affordable, making it easy to integrate into a company’s communications budget.


Long Code Text Messaging: Disadvantages

First, long code text messaging is meant for one-to-one text messaging communication, with the transmission of only one SMS message per second. Attempting to send a large volume of long code text messages would cause delays and burden IT systems. Wireless phone carriers often flag mass long code text messages as spam, which can result in code blocking, fines, and delivery failure to recipients.


Best Uses for Long Code Text Messages

Despite the disadvantages, long code text messages work better for several types of applications, according to TrueDialog. When a hair salon wants to confirm a customer appointment or a retail store wants to verify a product order or shipment, a one-to-one text message works very well. If a problem occurs with a customer’s order, a customer service associate can resolve the issue while eliminating the frustration of voicemail phone tag. If a business encounters late customer payment issues, text messages will reach the customer quicker than a phone call or voicemail that may get left unheard.

On a happier note, a long code text message is a great way to send customer birthday and anniversary wishes. Besides putting a smile on the customer’s face, the messages can positively impact loyalty and retention by building a more personal relationship with customers.


Short Code Text Messages

In contrast to 10-digit long code text messages, an SMS short code text message utilizes a 5 to 6-digit phone number that’s utilized for mass text messaging. Businesses often use short code text messaging to send high-volume communications, such as mass text notifications and emergency text broadcasts. Short code text messages are ideal for mass notifications, alerts, and marketing communications. However, there are specific Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations that businesses must comply with when sending mass text messages via short code in order to avoid complaints and potential fines.


Short Code Text Messaging: Advantages

A short code text message is designed for mass text messaging. First, short code text messages are lightning fast compared to slower long code texts. Senders can easily transmit about 100 SMS messages per second, as cell phone carriers have approved short codes for mass messaging.

Rigorous consumer protections promote satisfactory user experiences. Businesses need to ensure that consumers “opt in” to receive SMS marketing messages from their organization. TrueDialog emphasizes that each business must maintain proof of recipients’ consent to receive these text messages. When consumers opt into SMS marketing communications, businesses are free to send SMS short code text messages. In fact, TechJury reports that 75 percent of opt-in consumers are agreeable to getting SMS text messages from prospective business partners.


Short Code Messages: Disadvantages

A short code text message does have its downsides. First, short codes are provisioned by country, so a US-based short code can only send text message to US phone numbers. Short code text messages require an upfront commitment but can substantially lower the cost per text message as the volume increases. Some SMS text messaging providers also offer “shared short codes,” which enable multiple businesses to share the use of a specific short code number. These have downsides as well given the risks that other companies can misuse the short code and cause delivery issues for everyone on the shared code, but they can lower the upfront commitment for lower volume senders.


Best Uses for Short Code Texting

Large volume short code text messages have varied applications. The primary use case is SMS marketing campaigns which allow organizations to send mass text messages to opt-in consumers for promotional events, special offers, coupons, and other types of product advertisements. Short code texting is also ideal for notifying employees about product updates, company news, and internal job postings.

Research firms use short code texting to conduct surveys and polls. Survey results are useful in creating marketing or planning strategies, and poll results are helpful in gauging voters’ sentiments during an election cycle.

When a weather authority wants to send weather alerts to an entire city or town, it will use a short code text message. When a child is missing, police may send a mass text alert to everyone in a specific geographic area. On a college campus, safety officials might send a short code text about a public safety emergency.


Long Codes or Short Codes: Factors to Consider

Before committing to an SMS text messaging program, each company should consider its business objectives and branding goals and decide whether long code or short code texting, or often a combination of both, is the best testing solution. It is increasingly important to find a SMS provider that has enterprise volume pricing along with a highly scalable cloud-based platform.

When selecting a SMS provider, choosing a company with an enterprise-grade platform designed for both short code texting and long code texting is paramount. TrueDialog’s award-winning SMS platform has been built by carefully listening to thousands of customers for more than a decade. Built for large enterprises, yet made easy to use for small-to-medium size businesses.