More and more businesses are turning to SMS marketing for increased consumer engagement. It is one of the most effective marketing strategies with an open rate as high as 98%. But before you start to run the test marketing campaign, you need to first know about the merit of long code vs short code.

Before you decide whether you should use long code or short code for your business, let’s learn about both; what are they, their features, advantages, and disadvantages.

What do you need to know about long code vs short code?

When planning an SMS marketing campaign, one of the primary decisions revolves around long code vs short code.

long code vs short code

Here is some basic information that can help you to make a better decision for your business

What is an SMS short code?

An SMS short code is a 5 or 6 digit number used to carry out SMS or MMS marketing campaigns and send messages to mobile devices.  A short code is also known as a common short code or CSC. It is an ideal option for one-way and non-personal communication.

There are two ways to use short code marketing for your business

  • If a customer has agreed to receive a message from you, use short codes for mass texting, communicate promotions, and survey questions.
  • You must have heard of the campaigns where businesses ask customers to text a word to a number like “WINNER” to 12345.

What are the types of SMS short codes?

When you are deciding on long code vs short, it is essential to know their types. There are two types of short codes; shared and dedicated.

Shared Short code: A shared short code is a shortcode shared by multiple businesses for marketing purposes. It will help to save cost. You can only share the shortcode but not the keywords. It helps to separate the shred traffic as keywords can’t be replicated.

Dedicated short code: A dedicated shortcode can be used by only one business at a time. A dedicated random short code is like a license number, and you will receive a random number.

While with vanity short code, you can choose your desired number. Large businesses prefer vanity short codes for their unique branding abilities. The biggest advantage of using dedicated short code is there are no limitations on keywords.

 Two businesses can have the same keyword. You can also segment the campaigns to decide which messages your customers will receive.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using short codes?


  • Shortcodes are easy to remember, which results in a higher response rate.
  • These are spams resistant; there is less chance of messages being flagged as spam that comes from 5 to 6 digit numbers.
  • You can set up a shortcode in minutes with no fees.
  • When it comes to the cost of long code vs shortcode, shared shortcodes are highly cost-effective as many businesses share the same code.


  • Short codes have state regulations managing 5 to 6 digits.
  • You can only send messages to the customers who agreed on receiving the short code SMS and texts.
  • Due to high-volume capabilities, short codes messages have a slow sending speed.
  • If different businesses shared a single short code, they are at risk of being suspended on any rules violation.
  • Dedicated short codes are expensive and take time to set up.

When to use shortcode messaging?

When it comes to long code vs short code, businesses used short code messaging for the following purposes

  • 2FA (Two-factor authentication)
  • Political messaging and charity donations
  • Advertising and promotions
  • Text blasts and bulk messaging
  • Mobile polls and voting
  • Sending alerts

What is an SMS long code?

An SMS long code is a ten-digit number used to send short messages. Unlike short codes, you can use long codes to dial and receive calls.

What are the different types of long codes available?

There are three types of long codes available to use for marketing purposes

Person to Person (P2P) long code: P2P long codes are phone numbers you can use for a one-to-one conversation with customers and text with people.

Application to Person (A2P) long code: A2P long code is also 10 digit number that businesses use for mass marketing. There is no need to reply to these types of messages.

Toll-free texting: For convenience and flexibility in the marketing campaigns, businesses use toll-free texting for SMS and MMS marketing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using long codes?


  • The long codes are easy to set up and operational; within hours.
  • Long codes are less expensive than short codes and short codes messages cost you more than P2P and A2P combined.
  • You can use a single number for multiple purposes including text messaging, calls, and be consistent across all the channels.
  • A ten-digit number looks like it comes from a real person, not from a bot.
  • Improve customer service and build your brand with two-way communication.


  • When we compare long code vs short code, speed is a factor to consider. SMS delivery speed is slow, and it can take hours in bulk SMS.
  • If your number is not on the contact list, customers will ignore your calls and messages.
  • With long codes, you can only send SMS, but MMS is not accommodated in P2P and A2P long codes.

When to use long codes?

SMS long codes are the best way for two-way impersonal communications. Some common uses of the long codes are

  • Communication with customers
  • Sending tracking and shipping updates
  • Sending important reminders
  • Troubleshooting

Long code vs short code – Finding it difficult to decide?

long code vs short code

By now, you should have a better understanding of long code vs short code; their features, advantages, disadvantages, and uses.  Choosing the right option can make or break your marketing campaigns.

If you still can’t decide on choosing the right SMS code, getting the help of a professional is ideal. Many companies provide short codes, long codes, and toll-free texting to suit the needs of different businesses.


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