SMS marketing, also known as text message marketing, is a powerful way for organizations to connect with a broad audience, quickly and effectively. The use of text messaging for businesses continues to grow, which means that the technology that supports it must evolve as well. 

Case in point: wireless carriers are eliminating the five- or six-digit shared short codes that many companies have used to rapidly send a high volume of messages. Shared short codes will be replaced with ten-digit long codes (10DLCs), which offer a number of benefits while eliminating some of the risks of shared short codes. Let’s take a closer look.

Why are wireless carriers eliminating shared short codes?

Many organizations, including media companies, have relied on shared short codes for mobile marketing for the last several years.

Short codes, in general, enable businesses to send a large number of messages quickly, especially when compared to alternatives like toll-free and local long codes. This capability has made short codes the best option for supporting high-volume text blasts, but also the most expensive, costing up to $1500 per month for a dedicated number. 

phoneAs a result, organizations have often chosen to share a number — hence “shared short code” — to reduce their costs and get to market more quickly (acquiring a dedicated short code takes significant time as well as money.) In this model, multiple companies share the same code but use their own keyword to “direct traffic” to their particular organization. Two businesses could both use the short code 123456, for instance, but one could use the keyword “FREE” while the other could use “COFFEE” to communicate with their particular audience. 

Sharing short codes, however, introduces issues for both the carrier and the businesses. 

The organizations sharing the short code risk a subpar user experience. Sharing the code complicates opt-in/opt-out management, which can be frustrating for users. A user may opt in to messages from one business but receive them from other companies sharing the short code, which can damage brand equity, increase opt-outs, and decrease conversions. 

Further, carriers typically can’t tell which business is doing what on that particular short code. If one company using the code violates their contract and/or messaging best practices (e.g. sending spam), they can’t simply ban that business — they have to shut down the entire number. This is inefficient and ineffective for carriers and also a problem for the businesses, as their number may be turned off at any given moment due to another group’s poor behavior. 

Allowing more than 1000 companies to share a short code makes it easier for scammers to operate under the radar amidst legal businesses as well. This activity creates greater headaches for the carrier, who must identify and remove the bad actor while maintaining their relationship with legitimate clients.  

Ten-digit long codes (10DLCs): What you need to know

Wireless carriers are replacing shared short codes with ten-digit long codes, or 10DLCs. Some carriers have already made the switch, while others are currently in transition. All carriers, however, have stopped accepting applications for new shared short codes.

Ten-digit long codes offer carriers much greater visibility and control over how their network is used. They make it easier to detect fraud and identify bad actors, so carriers can cultivate better relationships with their clients and businesses no longer have to worry about their number being shut down. 

10DLCs give businesses a dedicated local number on a trusted network. The codes are capable of sending higher volumes of text messages more quickly than a normal long code. They are much less expensive than dedicated short codes — usually less than a quarter of the price — while still providing each business with its own unique number. The process of getting your own 10DLC is also simpler and less time consuming, with approval in three business days or sooner versus up to 12 weeks for a dedicated short code. 

Unlike short codes, 10DLCs can also be voice enabled. That means that customers can use the same number to text as well as call, which can build a more holistic user experience and boost brand equity.

In a nutshell, businesses that use a ten-digit long code can benefit from:

  • More reliability and security 
  • A unique number without the high costs of a dedicated short code
  • Higher throughput than toll-free and local long codes
  • Faster, easier approval process than a dedicated short code
  • Better customer experience through voice enablement

Next steps for the transition to 10DLCs

At Markteron, we are committed to helping our clients transition to ten-digit long codes quickly and easily. If you are an existing Mobile Messaging customer, we will navigate the transition from a shared short code to your dedicated 10DLC. If you’re a new Mobile Messaging customer, you will automatically get your own 10DLC as part of your partnership with Marketron. 

SMS marketing is here to stay, and its benefits are powerful and proven. Learn more about our mobile messaging solution or get in touch to see how we can help you transition to 10DLCs and beyond. 

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