The Ultimate Guide to SMS Short Codes

SMS Short Code
Table of Contents

SMS Short Code Definition

SMS Short Code Lookup

How to Get SMS Short Codes

SMS Short Code Cost

SMS Short Code API

SMS Short Code Marketing

Have you ever received an SMS with a code to your phone? If you have been using a mobile device anytime during the last decade, chances are that you are quite familiar with these codes. SMS short codes are an indispensable part of a text message marketing strategy. Businesses realized the potential of text messaging as an easy and far-reaching marketing tool, and soon enough, SMS short codes were everywhere.

Currently, businesses in a variety of industries use SMS short codes to send high-volume messages, raise brand awareness, and reach customers faster than ever. A short code typically contains four to six digits, making it easier for customers to remember and take immediate action.

SMS Short Code Definition

SMS short codes are a combination of digits—shorter than phone numbers—that marketers use in their multimedia and short messaging service campaigns. The number of digits in an SMS varies from country to country.

Short SMS codes are mainly embedded in promotional materials such as TV ads, printed media, billboards, and so on. Marketers use them for value-added services like charity donations, television contest voting, ordering services, confirmation of services, two-factor authentication, and more. Short code texting goes hand in hand with bulk marketing SMS campaigns—it’s also pretty affordable.

The key benefits of SMS short codes include:

  • Easier to remember
  • Offers opt-out
  • Provides global coverage

There are two types of short codes—dedicated and shared. Dedicated SMS short codes are owned and used by a single company or organization. Shared short codes are owned by an SMS software provider, who shares the codes between different companies and organizations.

SMS short codes are also classified as vanity and non-vanity. A company or organization specifically chooses vanity codes, whereas the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) selects non-vanity codes at a random

Customers interact with your codes by responding with a keyword. It’s up to the businesses to determine which keywords to use for each specific case. For instance, if a customer texts “Stop” or “End” to your SMS, it means they want to opt out of the marketing campaign. Remember to send back a message to confirm that your customer has successfully unsubscribed.

SMS Short Code Lookup

Almost all leading companies have dedicated SMS codes that are a unique sequence of digits to communicate with their customers. Some directories offer a list of short codes to more than thousands of companies online. The database is public, and people can search through a specific company’s short code, view the code owner’s information, or get their own code.

We went through the SMS short code databases and picked out the dedicated codes used by renowned companies and brands.

  • Facebook uses the 32665 code to engage with its users. This is a dedicated one registered with the Common Short Code Administration
  • Google uses 23333 generated by Common Short Code Administration. If you want to know more about Google’s short code, send the “Help” to the short code
  • The 262966 non-vanity short code belongs to eCommerce giant Amazon. The multi-billion-dollar online retailer uses its dedicated short code for sending retail coupons and promotions
  • To get text message coupons from Pizza Hut, their short code is 69488

How to Get SMS Short Codes

Once you make up your mind about starting an SMS marketing campaign, consider getting a short code. You can either choose to go through the process on your own or let an SMS provider do it for you. If you choose to carry out the process yourself, here are the three basic steps to take:

Lease Short Code

This includes leasing vanity or non-vanity SMS codes from the Common Short Code Administration and making relevant payments.

Submit a Short Code Application

Once the code is yours, you must submit an application. This is a lengthy document that requires a lot of attention to detail and is perhaps the most crucial thing to do. If anything goes wrong, your short code application will be denied, and you will have to re-submit a new one.

Short Code Provisioning

If you successfully apply, you’ll have to go through code provisioning to start sending messages. To avoid having to do this all by yourself, trust a reliable SMS provider to make it happen. Experienced providers know how to create and set up SMS short codes professionally and do not charge much for their services.

SMS Short Code Cost

A short code is an affordable component of a bulk and mass texting strategy with sky-high effectiveness. The cost of an SMS short code depends on whether it is dedicated or shared, vanity or non-vanity.

A dedicated, non-vanity code can cost you $500 monthly. However, shared codes come at cheaper prices—they can cost anywhere from $50–$100 a month, depending on the number of keywords and messages sent.

SMS Short Code API

To send or receive SMS messages with your code as the sender ID, you have to plug into a reliable SMS short code API platform. The basic features to look for in an API platform are:

  • Seamless integration
  • Intuitive dashboard
  • SMS template availability
  • Scheduled texts possibility
  • Real-time analytics

SMS Short Code Marketing

To grow your business and make the most of SMS codes, use these SMS marketing tips to your advantage:

Boosting lead generation

Marketers prefer using SMS short codes to encourage customers to send an SMS and get a quote or coupon.

Increasing ROI

Statistics show that the potential return on investment associated with marketing through short codes is significantly higher than other marketing types.

Branding your business

If you choose dedicated codes, you will be the only company to use them—customers will associate the code with your brand only. A dedicated code adds recognition and consistency to your brand.