Long Code VS Short Code

long code vs short code

Long code vs short code: pros and cons

Have you been asked to send a text message to a 6-digit code? Ever received a call from a 10-digit phone number?

If you’re new to SMS marketing, you’re probably thinking what’s the difference between a long code vs short code. While both can be used as your Sender ID, they have different uses and unique features.


Long Codes

That 10-digit phone number you’ve seen before is a long code. Companies use this to communicate with one or more target recipients, often for Know Your Customer (KYC) and customer service support campaigns.

Here are its pros and cons.



Single point of contact– Send and receive calls or text messages with the same number. This also saves your customers from the hassle of having to contact you through different numbers.

Reliable two-way communication– If you have thousands of customers who may need to talk to you regularly for various reasons, long codes can offer you a seamless two-way communication channel.

Local, regional or international use– Long codes are usually tied to an area code so it’s ideal for businesses that want to reach out to customers from certain areas in the country.



1 SMS per second – Carriers don’t allow long codes to be used for bulk SMS campaigns. You are only limited to 1 SMS per long code/second, so you can’t possibly reach out to a huge amount of recipients at once.

Data rates may apply– Long codes are not specifically made for SMS marketing campaigns. So, data rates may be charged against the customers if they receive any text messages from you. And for this reason, your long code can be shut down by your carrier.


Short Codes

Businesses use a dedicated 5-6-digit short code for campaigns like opt-ins, voting, text alerts, mass text messaging, marketing promos, polls/contests, and even QR codes.



Great for branding purposes– You can personalize a shortcode based on your brand to make your business even more recognizable.

You can use a keyword– Choose a keyword that you’d like people to key in whenever they want you to call them back, make a reservation, subscribe to your promos, etc.

Personalize your content however you want– You have absolute control of what goes out during your SMS marketing campaigns. Want to send a birthday greeting? Check. Want to let your customers know about an upcoming 3-day sale? Check.

You can do more– You can even run contests, surveys, sweepstakes, and so on with using a shortcode. Other things you can do include alert notifications, bulk SMS, voting, and identity verification.



Application to Person communication– This can be a drawback for some who find person-to-person communication more authentic and helpful. This is especially true for people who need urgent assistance or simply just want to talk to you interactively.

But overall, choosing between a long code vs short code will depend on how you intend to use it for your business. If you have a contact center, it’s best to have a long code but if running an SMS marketing campaign is your primary goal right now, go get a shortcode. Or, get both.