How Do Long Codes and Short Codes Work? A Guide to choose the best for your business


When it comes to marketing a company and garnering the right audience and increasing sales, an excellent method to go about it is through a text or an SMS. Many businesses tend to overlook this method as a viable one because of the fact that it seems a little old-fashioned and outdates, now that p0eople have switched over to whatsapp, Instagram and snapchat for texting someone. However, the reach of SMSes should not be undermined. Everyone with a phone, be it a basic, old fashioned one or a smartphone, has access to SMS. It does not require a working wifi or data connection to work and all it does need is the phone signal. Furthermore, a lot more people tend to read their SMSes than their social media texts. This is why network providers always send SMSes regarding any information pertaining to their services- be it balance receipts, dues or even promotions. From this, we have derived how SMS is a great way to market businesses and to gain an audience that is interested. Of course, there are several other things to look into before getting fully immersed in the idea.

Two of the most common terms encountered whilst dealing with services of this nature are long code text messaging and short codes. But what are they? Knowing this will better help you find out what will suit your needs the best.

What are long codes?

These are known as Long Virtual Numbers and a sms sent through this code would be a private virtual number sms. One can easily identify a long code because these codes are what makes up the phone numbers that network providers assign to each customer, specialised for communication that is of person to person communication. This has 10 digits. This is also used for customer service applications. This is a good choice if you are wanting no setup time, local area codes in case you have region-specific services and messages are sent at 1 message per 1 second method.

What are short codes?

A short code, on the contrary to a long code, is a code that is just 5-6 digits long. This is handled and managed by an administrative body- the Common Short Code Administration. This works on a lease basis. There are guidelines in place on how to use them and so on. This is a good choice if you provide services that need to provide authentication like the two-factor authentication system, notification alerts (such as low balance, receipts and so on and so forth), marketing and promotional messages and other services like coupons and mobile number verification. Short codes however, have a set up time of about 1-3 business days. The biggest advantage to this being there is no limit to the maximum about of messages being sent per day.

Based on your above reading, you can now make a better, and more informed choice about your preferences.