Choosing SMS Sender IDs: Long Code vs Short Code

Where would the world be without text messaging? Throughout the day, millions of phone screens light up with messages ranging from dinner plans, emoji exchanges between significant others, chit chat among friends, and birthday wishes to a distant family member. While billions of messages are sent each day, there is an SMS detail that most texters will never give a second thought to, that being Sender IDs.

Sender IDs are, in the simplest of explanations, the phone number a text is sent from. These numbers are classified as either a long code or short code, each with their own unique use.

Identifying the Type of Sender ID

The first thing you’ll notice when comparing long codes and short codes, is their length. A long code is a 10 digit number tied to a geographic region with an area code. They look just like your average phone number. Ex. 1-480-889-7580. A short code consists of 5 to 6 digits, and can appear as a vanity number. Ex. VOIP01.

When to use Your Long and Short Codes

So, how do you decide when it’s best to use a certain type of Sender ID? Well, long codes are used for peer to peer communication (P2P), including group messaging and chat applications. Long codes are sent out at a rate of one message per second.

Short codes, on the other hand, are used for sending messages in bulk at speeds of 40+ messages per second, making them perfect for marketing campaigns. Short codes can also be used for text alerts or other situations that don’t require direct communication with another person.

If you’ve ever received an alert from a weather service, received a coupon from a restaurant, or voted for a contender during a singing competition, you have experience using short codes!

To review, use long codes for P2P communication and short codes for marketing, and other automated situations. Long codes can be applied to chat applications and can send messages at a rate of one message per second, while short codes are used for marketing campaigns, alerts, and automation at rates of 40+ messages per second.

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