previous icon Back to blog
Jan 26, 2018
5 minutes read

How to Choose Between Short Code or Long Number? The 5 Main Differences

Getting your own short code or long number means making it much easier for you to communicate with your target audience. But should you choose a short code or a long number? This depends on the purpose of your communication as well as your target audience. Find out which to choose in this comparison between short and long codes.

Similarities Between Short Code and Long Number

Before discussing the differences between short code or long number, we should mention the shared purpose of both number types. For any company wanting to optimize customer interaction and customer experience, these codes are valuable solutions. The main benefit of these numbers is that customers can contact you directly. This means you won’t have to send a message first, for customers to reply to.


In other words, you won’t have to send out and pay for 10.000 messages in order for those 10.000 recipients to be able to interact with you. You can just share your number, for example in marketing campaigns, for customers to reply to. This can be used for customers to, for example, claim a discount or participate in a competition. By not having to send a message out first, you can reduce costs and thus improve the ROI of your campaign.

Especially when using a number people can recognize, your company’s visibility can improve. This brings us to the first difference between short code or long number, in favor of the short code.

1. Short Code Increases Visibility

Short codes, typically 4-5 digits long, can contribute to your company’s visibility by choosing a number that is somehow related to your business. Consider for example short codes such as 5380 for radio station 538, or 3333 for radio 3FM. As you can imagine, this similarity makes it easier for consumers to remember your number. Also, it will increase visibility, as people will recognize this number as yours in no time. Compared to long numbers, which is usually 10+ digits long, a short code will be the more user-friendly choice.

What is a short code? >

What is a long number? >

2. Short Codes Need Keywords

Though short codes can be useful to increase visibility, most companies choose shared short codes. This means more companies will be using the same short code, and customers need to write a keyword at the beginning of an SMS message to address it to the right company. So for example you bought the keyword “PIZZA” on shared short code 3669. Your customers sends a message to to 3669 with the first word ‘’PIZZA’’, then this message will automatically be forwarded to you. This way of using short codes is still very user friendly and will cost less than having your very own short code.

More About Two-Way Messaging >

3. Keywords Can Be Misspelled

Even though using shared short codes with bought keywords holds several benefits, there is a risk to keep in mind. Let’s look at the example of the keyword “PIZZA” again. Though keywords can make it clear for the consumer what a campaign is about, it is important to choose easy words. That’s because messages with misspelled keywords will not be delivered. So, “IZZA” will result in a non-deliverable message. Therefore, make sure to use easy words. Also, you could choose to claim similar keywords, for example PIZA as well as PIZZA. This will increase the chances of your message being delivered successfully. Or you could always choose to buy a dedicated short code or long number to avoid this risk. 

4. (Inter)national Messaging

A fourth important factor in choosing between short and long codes is the desired reach. Sending and receiving messages over short codes is limited to national borders. If you want to reach and be reachable by consumers in other countries, you’ll need a long code. Short codes are only suitable for local messaging. That is because short codes are unique to each operator at the technological level. Even so, providers generally have agreements to avoid overlaps.

5. More Channels

Another benefit of 8+ digits long numbers, is that you can also use it to receive calls. Customers will be able to reach you not only by sending text messages, but by directly calling you on that number as well. This means you can use the same number for multiple purposes, creating a rich tool for your marketing campaigns. A joint benefit of both long numbers and short codes is that you can receive all incoming text messages via mail, on a set URL or our Campaigns app.

Conclusion: Short Code or Long Number?

When choosing between short code or long number, you’d best firstly ask yourself whether you’ll be needing it to communicate across borders. Also, it is important to question whether you will be needing it to build visibility or if your priority is to keep the price low. To find out which type best suits you (dedicated or shared short code or long number), please contact us for more information. We will also be able to tell you exactly which numbers and keywords are instantly available for you to use.

Get your short code or long number now!

Was this article interesting?
Share it!
connects tens of thousands of companies with millions of consumers via their mobile phone each day. Behind the scenes, from our innovative platform, makes sure companies can use these millions of messages, phone calls and payments to become part of people’s lives.

Latest Articles

Apr 29, 2024 • SMS

17 SMS Customer Service Templates to Use Today

Using SMS customer service templates not only saves time but lets your support team create personalized, on-brand communications with just a few clicks. Today we’ll share business text message templates you can use to give your customers the information they need — fast.

SMS Security
Apr 18, 2024 • Security

Secure Your Business With SMS OTPs and Alerts

In the current digital era, technological and online advances are rapidly growing, creating new ways for businesses to engage their customers. Unfortunately, where there is growth, there will be criminals trying to steal some of the profits. Protecting business data, customer information, and online accounts is a priority for every modern business. SMS security can help protect your business and your customers from online fraud and cyber crime.

SMS Customer Service
Apr 08, 2024 • SMS

How to Effectively Use SMS for Late Payments

Organizations face a significant challenge in effectively managing overdue payments and cash flow in a positive light with customers. To collect payments while keeping relationships intact and increasing engagement, SMS has emerged as a powerful, efficient and convenient tool for both businesses and customers. In this blog, we’ll explore how to effectively use SMS for late payments, highlighting its benefits and best practices.

SMS Customer Service
Mar 11, 2024 • SMS

Optimize the Customer Experience with Valuable Insights and Direct Live Support via SMS

Add SMS to your contact center and help your agents to connect with your customers on the most reliable channel. Tackle more conversations at a time without losing that important personal touch, and gain valuable insights with streamlined SMS feedback surveys to enhance customer satisfaction rates.

SMS Appointment Notifications
Mar 05, 2024 • SMS

Streamline Your Business to Success with SMS Notifications

Appointment no-shows, delivery delays, abandoned online shopping carts, late payments - all of the above can be quite the headache for many businesses. SMS notifications offer a solution.

Feb 08, 2024 • SMS

SMS vs MMS - What is the Difference?

There are many different ways to send text messages, and the various names and acronyms may start to feel daunting. In this blog, we'll tell you everything about SMS and MMS.

Feb 07, 2024 • SMS

SMS for eCommerce - Create a Successful eCommerce Strategy With SMS

Want to grow your business? Then customer contact is key. Now that everybody and everything is connected to each other via those powerful little computers in our hands, the way you communicate with customers is becoming increasingly important for your succes. Read all about how you can use SMS to elevate your customer contact, drive sales and create that loyal customer base.

Feb 07, 2024 • SMS

How Popular Is SMS in 2024 and What Is Its Added Value for Business?

SMS is one of the oldest text messaging services, and the rise of instant messaging apps definitely made a dent in SMS traffic. Contrary to the newer apps with their rich features, SMS is quite basic in its features- plain text messages, not fluff, and a character limit of 160. Regardless, SMS is still one of the most impactful communication channels today. Read all about SMS statistics and its continued value to modern business communication.

Feb 01, 2024 • WhatsApp

Drive Engagement and Convert Your Conversations With WhatsApp Carousel

Are you already talking to your customers on WhatsApp? You really should! WhatsApp Business Platform, the business communication platform of one of the most popular messaging channels in the world today, has a wide selection of powerful engagement tools to enhance customer communication and boost sales. And they've added another innovative feature under their belt: WhatsApp Carousel.

Is this region a better fit for you?
close icon