Mobile messaging marketing allows advertisers to connect with a broad audience quickly and effectively. With more businesses seeing the opportunity for this channel, the technology must evolve. Wireless carriers are eliminating the five- or six-digit shared short codes. In its place, 10-digit long codes (10DLC) will become the norm. This move offers opportunities and will remove the risks of shared short codes.

Why are wireless carriers moving away from short codes?

Many organizations, including media companies, relied on shared short codes for mobile marketing. Short codes enabled businesses to send many messages quickly, especially when compared to alternatives like toll-free and local long codes. This capability made short codes the best option for supporting high-volume text blasts. However, it’s also the most expensive, costing up to $1,500 per month for a dedicated

As a result, organizations would often share numbers (hence “shared short code”) to reduce costs and begin SMS campaigns faster. Acquiring a dedicated short code was both time-consuming and costly.

In this model, multiple companies share the same code but use their own keyword to “direct traffic” to their organization. Two businesses could use the short code 123456, but one could use the keyword “FREE” while the other could use “COFFEE” to communicate with their audience.

Sharing short codes, however, introduces issues for carriers and businesses.

Sharing short codes has risks

Organizations sharing short codes risk a subpar user experience. It also complicates opt-in/opt-out management, which can be frustrating for users. A user may opt into messages from one business but receive them from others sharing the short code. This could cause damage to brand equity, increase opt-outs and decrease conversions.

Further, carriers typically can’t tell which business is doing what on that 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 a problem for organizations, as they may lose their number due to another group’s practices.

Allowing more than 1,000 companies to share a short code makes it easier for scammers to operate, 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.

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

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

10-digit long codes offer carriers much greater visibility and control over network usage. They make it easier to detect fraud so that carriers can cultivate better partnerships with their clients, and businesses no longer have to worry about their number shutdowns.

The long codes provide businesses a dedicated local number on a trusted network. The codes can send higher volumes of text messages more quickly than a standard long code. They are also much less expensive than dedicated short codes, usually less than a quarter of the price.

Each business now has its own unique number, and the process for acquiring it is simple, with approvals typically coming within three business days.

Unlike short codes, you can also voice enable 10DLCs. 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.

What your advertisers can expect from 10-digit long codes:

• 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

We are committed to helping our clients transition to 10-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. 

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