Long Code vs Short Code

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What is a Long Code?

A Long Code is a standard phone number that is used to send and receive SMS and MMS messages.
In countries that use the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) a long code is 10 digits.
The number of digits in a long code will vary by country where they are not using the NANP.

Choose your Long code numbers free within your Textafied Account
We offer multiple free long codes for each of our text credit packages, shown here.
A long code is what most of us use when sending messages from our mobile devices to other people’s personal mobile devices, (this point illustrates the fact that a long code is a much more personal approach than a short code, and this can have a huge impact with your customers and potential customers.)

The Rules for Long Codes

There are different technologies and regulations for sending messages depending on whether you are using a long code or a short code.

For example, when sending with a long code, the sender is limited to 1 message per second. Automated systems that use short codes can send up to 100 messages per second.
So at Textafied we provide you 4 free long codes for every text package as well as the option, if needed, to purchase more multiple long code numbers and the software will send your messages while rotating through your long codes, but the message will appear to the recipient as coming from your original long code which retains that "personal" effect.
This option would be for those with larger customer lists, and is still very cost efficient as opposed to paying for a shared or dedicated short code and having to pay extra for Keywords

Why Use a Long Code?

It is easier and less expensive to set-up long codes than short codes. Also, less restrictive opt-in policies allow you to leverage more of your customer database.

Perhaps the best reason for using a long code is marketing, you can send and receive text messages and voice calls using the same number in your Textafied account, which is perfect for branding your business.

You manage text messages more like emails when using the Textafied Back Office.
You can access your text messages from your back office, via any web browser and even have them forwarded to your personal cell phone or your email.

You can find plenty of articles on the differences of long code vs short code.
Those ranking on the first page of search pretty much come out with shortcode as the victor, on top.
Why? Is it that a shortcode is better?
Actually no. Shortcode comes out the winner because the articles are written by companies that sell short code services.
So let’s look plainly at the real differences and when is a good time to send with each.

Who get's remembered when long code vs short code

Short codes are easier to remember. Think quick display situations like on billboards or tv commercials or radio ads.  Places where speed is critical. When you’re driving there’s not a lot of time to read a billboard, to see the call to action, and make a note of the number. It’s all too fast. A short code is good here because it’s quick to jot down. Same as with a radio ad. Radio is mostly listened to on the go so you’re already doing something else (like driving), so it needs to be actionable quickly by the listener. TV is so expensive that you had better be quick and you still have a limited amount of time.


A shortcode is not necessary if you’re posting your campaign to places like facebook/ instagram/twitter or on to printed flyers or stickers. You have a direct & captive audience. They are looking straight at it, it’s a direct placement so they can easily type it straight into their device. Sometimes using a shortcode in these places can actually be a disadvantage. People know that there is generally a large company behind a shortcode. It’s not perceived as being in play at the local level. Using a long code for customer acquisition in situations like this can also appear more personal.

Here`s a very good example of a long code in use. 

When long code vs short code on who's the most personal it’s hands down long code.


For example when you write on your flyers, ads, signs “Text us on 313.288.9911 to get back a 14 day gym pass you are signalling you are local and a person will get back to the person with the information they are requesting.


Now that feels like there is somebody - a real person - on the other side of the text, even though this can all be totally automated.  Using a long code has and will always have a more local and personal feel to it.


Big tip: Always be using the area code that your business is in. An area code that is (408) when you're in Florida will not make sense to your potential buyers or existing customers. You want the one number that is the same as your businesses area code. This gives a very non threatening non spammy vibe, adds legitimacy and builds trust. If you’re in San Antonio and you see a flyer that says – “Text (210) 365-3764 to get more information”  you already know that it is a local long number and there’s more likely to be a real person on the other end of it.


Using a long code for sending automated information gives you much greater flexibility and lower costs than using a short code.
Because you own the entire number you can have unlimited Keywords to create endless campaigns.


This can be for different purposes and gives you much more granualar data on what locations, partner channels and media are working the best for your conversions. 

Long codes can enjoy long conversations

Long codes let you 2 Way Text with your audience which can be a massive advantage for businesses. Think of when you are nurturing people from a cold lead to closing them on your product or business. They want to be able to chat with you on the go, and you want that capability to engage at the right time especially if you see they clicked on a link or engaged with your message.


Nobody thinks to text back a short code that is really expecting a conversation. When they do they generally get a message STOP or HELP.  Other times you do text a shortcode back your question/ comment, it replies with something like “You have texted an invalid response”. Everyone knows that’s a machine that said that. Not that helpful and definitely not relationship building.


Long codes allow you to have 2 way conversations with people, therefore it seems to your audience as if you're personally on your cell phone.


When should you use a long code then?

Well let's use an example of great long code use. Let's say you have a day care. A parent calls up to find out your curriculum. They always want more information. That’s why people are calling you, for more information. During the conversation you’ll ask them if they would like you to send more information (creating a permission moment). They will say yes 9 plus times out of 10.


In response you then ask them; “ What would you prefer text or email?”   Now we know from surveying the daycare market that parents inquiring will say they would prefer text about 90% of the time. For a business - in any industry - this is an extraordinary way to build audiences for your SMS campaign. A truly great way.


Yes, the long code has it’s advantage here as it appears extremely personal. Most of the time the recipient actually believes it is the personal phone number of the business. That’s never going to happen with a short code. A short code is quite clearly coming from a corporation through automation.


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