What are Short Codes for Text Messaging?


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What are shortcodes?

Shortcodes have merged as a marketing technique and have been deployed by many groups and people, including business owners, franchise owners, and politicians. A shortcode is a mobile number but shorter, up to 5-6 digits, and is only used for mass messaging purposes. You must have noticed your favorite restaurant asking you to subscribe to their shortcode by sending them a “Hello!” or a presidential candidate promising more details once you message on a given shortcode.

What are Short Codes for Text Messaging

Now that you know what shortcodes are, let’s talk about the kind of shortcodes available and how to get shortcodes for messaging.

Kinds of shorts codes:

Before trying to get a short code, let’s discuss the different kinds of codes available in the market and how they’re used. There are two types of shortcodes available for use: dedicated shortcodes and shared shortcodes.

Dedicated shortcodes are the codes that an individual group or company uses, and they have exclusive rights over that code. These codes are more expensive than shared codes but come with their perks, including complete control over the data traffic.

Shared shortcodes are codes that multiple organizations or companies use. A service provider is in charge of sending all the messages on behalf of the companies using the code. However, many problems can arise using shared shortcodes, including all companies’ penalization if even one of the companies spams people using the code.

Can I choose my shortcode?

You may have noticed that some shortcodes spell out words when typed in a keypad mobile phone. Such shortcodes are called vanity shortcodes. These codes are hand-picked by the companies and can follow one of the following patterns:

  • They may spell out words like ‘Pizza’ or ‘Burger’ given the nature of the company choosing them.
  • They may indicate the name of the business. E.g., 7-Eleven has a shortcode 711711, which comes from their name and connects with their brand.
  • They may have a sequence that is easier to remember. E.g., 12345 is an easy sequence to remember and, therefore, an excellent vanity shortcode.

On the other hand, some shortcodes are randomly generated, and the user has no say in what the number sequence will be. Consequently, these shortcodes are half as costly as vanity shortcodes. These shortcodes are called random shortcodes.

How to get a shortcode?

If you’re wondering how to get shortcodes for text messaging, here are a few ways of getting yourself a shortcode:

  • You can use online services such as the TextSanity platform to get yourself a dedicated shortcode. You can pick a shortcode of your choice and provide your information to the platform so that they can register the shortcode to be exclusively used by you. Once the code is set up, you will be able to use it from the said platform and will be able to send hundreds of thousands of messages to your client base.
  • You can lease a shortcode on the internet. In the wireless communication industry, shortcodes are leased instead of being sold. In this way, you only pay for the shortcode till you use it. Many online agents are available to help you lease a shortcode. These shortcodes can take up to 7 weeks to get processed before they are available to use.

That is all on shortcodes. If you’re looking to improve your marketing by using shortcodes, go ahead and do it. It’s a great way to get your customers’ attention while always keeping them notified of everything happening in your company. Whether you own a school, spa, restaurant, or radio channel, shortcodes are a significant investment to make.


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