What is a Short Code?

A short code is a specialized 5 or 6-digit number ideal for marketing campaigns, lead generation, and promotions where you want people to easily remember your number. Short codes are used for sending and receiving SMS (and MMS) messages to mobile phones.

How to Use Short Codes?

Short code (also called short numbers, Common Short Code, or CSC) messaging is commonly used to send business text messages and marketing campaigns to a user’s mobile device. A short code is a specialized five to six-digit phone number used in one-way SMS and MMS messaging. Short code messages convey information to a customer that doesn’t require a response. A customer can text a keyword to a business to opt in to marketing messages, vote, or enter a contest.

two way messaging short codes

Short codes are leased monthly, their cost varies depending on the type of short code you choose. Short codes are an alternative to long numbers, full-length phone numbers used to send and receive text messages and calls. 

Different Types of Short Codes

There are two types of short codes: shared short codes and dedicated short codes. 

  • Shared Short Code
“Text PIZZA to 13131”
“Text BACON to 13131”
“Text COOL to 13131”

These are all examples of shared short codes. Even though each of these text messages shares a numeric code, they would be routed to separate businesses. Shared short codes are used and shared between thousands of businesses, making their monthly cost more affordable. Traffic coming into each short code is separated by the use of unique keywords, which enables mobile carriers to distribute short codes among businesses in the same industry.

  • Dedicated Short Code
“Text PIZZA to 13131”
“Text PIZZA to 12345”
“Text PIZZA to 54321”

These are all examples of dedicated short codes. They all use the keyword PIZZA, but texts would be routed to each business based on their short code, not their keyword. Dedicated short codes are assigned to specific businesses. Since one company absorbs the entire cost of the code, dedicated short codes are more expensive than shared short codes. If you sign up for a shared short code and want to use a keyword that has already been taken, you would have to change to a dedicated short code service.

Within dedicated short codes, there are two subsets: random short codes and vanity short codes.

  • Random short codes are generic and issued randomly, like a license plate. You have no control over what short code number you are assigned.
  • Vanity short codes are customized and are the most expensive of all dedicated short codes. The advantage of vanity short codes is that they are the most memorable and can be segmented for your business. You could select a short code that numerically spells the name of your business.

What Are The Benefits of Using Short Codes?

  1. Short codes are pre-approved by carriers to avoid spam flags, giving them higher delivery rates than long numbers.
  2. Short codes are easy for customers to remember.
  3. Shared short codes are cost-effective for mass communications.
  4. Shared short codes are fast and easy to set up and have no setup fees.

When To Use A Short Code?

How To Obtain A Short Code?

CM.com has direct connections to hundreds of networks worldwide. Our vast global reach helps us get the most competitive pricing in the short code marketplace for our customers. 

Create a free platform account and easily request your Number or Keyword in our Dasboard


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