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Short Codes vs. Long Codes: What’s the Difference?

October 27, 2017 8:00 am by

When it comes time to develop your group texting program, you have many decisions to make. Among them is which service provider you use. One element that might differentiate certain ones is their ability to use long codes rather than solely relying upon shortcodes. What is the difference? Let’s take a look.

Short Codes 101

Group texting

Shortcodes are more commonly associated with text message marketing programs.

Shortcodes are the short, 5-6 digit numbers widely associated with text message marketing. This number is only able to send and receive text messages. It takes several weeks, as many as 10-12, to set it up. The cost of a unique shortcode can be quite high, which is why many smaller businesses opt to share a shortcode to lower overall costs. Shortcodes are set up specifically for text message marketing, so you can send high volumes of messages quickly.

Long Codes: The Basics 

Long codes are 10-digit numbers that appear just like your regular phone numbers. They generally use a similar process as a digital phone number. As such, they can be used for faxing and voice calls as well. They can be set up quickly, generally within a few hours. The cost for a unique number is also significantly less. The purpose of long codes is person to person communication, so there is a limit on the number of texts that can be sent out at one time through the number. In some areas, there are additional regulations on the use of these numbers for certain text marketing programs.

The Big Differences 

In order to know which one works best for your group texting program, it is important to understand the key differences:

  • Ease of setup – long codes are much faster and easier to set up
  • Cost-effective – long codes are less expensive for a unique number
  • Shared or unique number – with shortcodes, you have to decide whether to choose a unique number at a high cost or a shared number at a lower cost
  • Volume of messages – you can send out texts with shortcodes at higher speeds, such as 40 texts per second, compared to just one per second with a long code
  • Appears like a real phone number – long codes look like a real number, which makes them seem less like spam
  • Abilities – long codes are multi-purpose, with the ability to send and receive faxes and voice calls, while shortcodes are purely for texts

How to Choose the Right One For You

Group texting

Get your team together to discuss the advantages of each one to determine the right one for your campaign.

There are many decisions you have to make to determine whether a long code or short code is best for your group texting program. If you wish to have a more personal connection with your subscribers while saving money, then a long code is the best way to go. You can find a number that aligns with your brand to make it easy for customers to remember, and you can use the same number for your fax line and/or voice calls. However, if you plan to send out high-volume of texts, and wish to do so at a rapid pace, a shortcode might be best for your business.

Try GroupTexting for free and see how using a long code for your group texting can make a difference!

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