Short Code SMS

Short codes, also known as short numbers, are often used by businesses as a way to send mass text messages to customers. These codes are typically 5 or 6 digits long and can be customized for a specific campaign or promotion.

Short Code Texting

Short codes are generally used for sending mass messages with a higher throughput rate. They are usually used for sending automated messages such as notifications, two-factor authentication codes, or sales promotions. While short codes may seem like an easy and convenient option for communicating with customers, there are several drawbacks that make them not cost-effective for businesses.

Why short code SMS may be right for you

When it comes to using short codes, it’s important to keep in mind the types of use cases that are best suited for this method. Short codes are typically most effective in situations where quick, concise messaging is necessary. They can be used to provide customers with discount codes and promotions, inform customers on updates, for advocacy campaigns, and any type of alert or emergency messaging. By utilizing a short and memorable code, businesses can inform customers in an efficient and impactful manner, sending out text messages or automated responses that are easily recognizable and easily shared.

If you’re looking to send out quick, non-conversational messages to better reach your audience, incorporating short codes might be the right strategy for you.

Why short code SMS may not be right for you


Short codes are not cheap – in fact, they are very expensive. Companies have to pay a monthly fee to lease them, typically in excess of one thousand dollars. Plus, every message sent and received using a short code costs the company a certain amount of money. This cost can add up quickly if the company sends a lot of messages.

Marketing limitations

Short codes come with various restrictions, such as character limits and specific keywords, making it difficult for you to tailor your SMS messaging according to your marketing objectives. With these limitations in place, your campaigns may fail to connect with your targeted audience.

Lack of Dedicated Number

Given the cost prohibitive nature of short codes, they are often shared among multiple brands. Building trust among customers becomes more challenging without having a dedicated number from which to send texts and it becomes risky to share a messaging channel with other businesses.

Restrictive integration features

Short codes are restricted in their integration capabilities, which may limit how smoothly they integrate with existing workflows in your current CRM or ATS.

Minimal personalization

Short codes lack personalization, which is essential to building a rapport with customers. Features like personalized greetings, messaging templates, and automation help build a strong relationship with customers, leading to increased loyalty and retention and these capabilities are not available with short code.

Limited character count

Short codes have character limits that do not allow for detailed communication. If you need to provide more information, you may need to send multiple messages, which can be frustrating and time-consuming for both you and your recipient.

No conversational texting

Short codes are one-way messaging numbers – meaning that customers cannot respond directly to the company. This limits the company’s ability to receive and respond to customers and create a relationship with them.

Technical restraints

Short code use limits the technical capabilities that businesses can leverage. Since short codes can only manage limited character sets, it makes engaging content like images or other attachments challenging to implement.

SMS Short Code vs Long Code

While short code texting may be an inviting option for businesses, it comes with limitations that diminish the effectiveness of the short code texting program as a marketing or communication tool.

However, TextUs offers businesses a solution to all these problems with options like 10DLC and toll-free numbers. Our real-time communication platform allows you to have personalized, two-way conversations with your customers at a much more affordable price point.

We allow you to leverage the power of texting and provide better engagement and response rates compared to short codes.

Compare Number Types

10- Digit Long Code Toll-free Short Code
Area Code Local 8XX None
Digits 10 10 5 or 6
Throughput 13,500 messages per minute 180 messages per minute 6,000 messages per minute
Cost $ $$ $$$
Use Case 1:1, mass texting, recruiting, marketing, sales, workforce management Marketing, customer service, notifications, alerts Marketing, mass texting
Registration Registration is required and approval / set up usually takes a few days  Registration is required and approval / set up can take a few days to a few weeks Registration is required and approval / set up usually takes a couple to several weeks

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