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March 17, 2022

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What Are SMS Short Codes?

Blog  |  Product

SMS short codes enable businesses and brands to engage directly with customers, consumers, and partners via SMS, making them perfect for improving audience engagement and maximizing other marketing initiatives. 

In this article, we will cover the following: 

Want to use SMS short codes for your business? Set up a call with one of our SMS experts


What Are SMS Short Codes?

You have probably come across quite a few SMS short codes in your everyday life. So, even if you are not familiar with the term, you are almost certainly familiar with the codes themselves. 

Commonly found on things like political fundraising material, brand advertisements, and event promos, SMS short codes are five- or six-digit numbers that enable organizations to send and receive more text messages in a shorter period. For recipients, short codes appear as the “from” number whenever they receive an SMS from the organization that owns the code.


How Can SMS Short Codes Help Businesses?

Since short codes contain fewer digits than traditional phone numbers, they are easier for end users to remember and therefore a great asset in marketing campaigns and similar activities. Indeed, short codes can even come in the form of ‘vanity numbers’ (I.e., numbers that spell out words using a phone’s keypad). For example, if companies like Apple or Google wanted to leverage short codes, they could use vanity numbers that spell out their names — 27753 and 466453, respectively. 

Brands will often attach short codes to advertisements prompting you to text them certain keywords. Continuing with the examples above, you might find Google asking you to text “Search” to “466453” to opt-in to some event, text mailing list, etc. Likewise, you might find Apple prompting you to vote on your favorite Apple TV program by texting “LASSO” or “GREYHOUND” to “27753”. Moreover, by attaching short codes to specific marketing materials, you can even gauge which initiatives are most successful and generate the most responses. 

Beyond this, here are some other short code benefits: 

  1. Short codes are easy to recognize and unmistakably business numbers. As such, they are easy to distinguish from family numbers or numbers of friends and other acquaintances. 
  2. Short codes are easy to verify. There is an SMS short code directory that recipients can use to confirm whether the code is associated with a legitimate company. 
  3. Short codes are way faster than traditional, 10-digit numbers. Messages from ‘long code’ numbers can typically send only one message per second — not too shabby for casual texting, but a significant constraint for organizations attempting to engage with tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of people. Indeed, short codes can send as many as 100 messages per second. So, while it would take a long code number three hours to send a message to 10,000 people, a short code can accomplish this in just over four minutes. 
  4. SMS is super popular. Not only is it among the most affordable ways to communicate, but it is also widely accessible, globally standardized, and natively supported on every mobile phone on the market. Moreover, SMS is one of the few communications tools capable of reaching across countries, age groups, genders, and a variety of other important demographic groups. 

How can Pareteum’s short codes improve your business? Contact one of our SMS experts today!


SMS Short Code Use Cases

We have already touched on a number of use cases for short codes in this article. However, it’s worth highlighting them once more. Here are some of the more common short code deployments: 

  • Political Campaigns, Charity Drives, etc. — Remember those numbers on presidential candidates’ campaign posters? ‘Text UNITED to 30330,’ ‘TEXT DONATE TO 55022,’ etc. SMS short codes are a great fundraising tool. So, whether you are running a political campaign or a charity drive, SMS short codes are a terrific way to maximize engagement with constituents and donors alike. 
  • Advertisements — SMS short codes are not confined to one medium. Indeed, you can include them in digital, video, and audio material just as easily as in print advertisements. 
  • Product Packaging, Corporate Brochures, etc. — Along the same lines, short codes can be included on a variety of materials. For instance, they can be displayed on product packaging and used as support numbers for things like consumer electronics, or on company leave-behinds to improve lead generation at conferences and events. 
  • Service Providers — Short codes can also be used by service providers like health care companies, insurance providers, banks, FinTech solutions, and others as a way to optimize communications with customers.  

Of course, these are just a handful of examples. If you would like to learn more about SMS short codes and brainstorm how they can be used by your company, shoot us a message! We would love to help you get started.


About Pareteum

Pareteum is an experienced provider of Communications Platform as a Service solutions. We empower enterprises, communications service providers, internet service providers, mobile operators, full MVNOslight MVNOs, early-stage innovators, developers, IoT (Internet of Things), and telecommunications infrastructure providers with the freedom and control to create, deliver, and scale innovative communications experiences.  

The Pareteum platform connects people and devices around the world using the secure, ubiquitous, and highly scalable solution to deliver data, voice, video, SMS/text messaging, media, and content enablement.  

For more information on Pareteum’s Messaging solutionsset up a meeting