Nowadays, one of the useful tools of text message marketing is short codes. Businesses switch from long to short codes to make phone numbers more memorable and reliably distribute a higher volume of SMS messages. 

A short code is a five- or six-digit phone number that is used for SMS and MMS messages. Short codes are designed to be easier to remember than standard phone numbers. 

Businesses primarily use short codes with Application to Person (A2P) SMS services to receive and send bulk SMS messages to cell phones. Voximplant offers SMS short codes in 23 countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. If required, the list can be expanded at the customer’s request.

How to Use Short Codes

Voximplant’s A2P service can send up to 20 SMS messages per second. High volume throughput makes short codes ideal for conducting SMS marketing campaigns. Here are a few examples of how short codes can be used:

  • Marketing and promotions. Businesses can promote products with mass text messaging to interested customers. Please note that you can’t send messages to people who haven’t opted into your campaign. Gather customer confirms to receive text messages first
  • Alerts and notifications. Deliver time-sensitive information to a large group of customers. Keep customers informed about the delivery status. Notify passengers when a taxi cab is arriving. Communicate with customers in a concise and effective manner 
  • Surveys and feedback. Short codes provide recipients with the ability to respond with an SMS keyword, short word or phrase. Perform customer satisfaction surveys. Let customers respond to the short code with an SMS keyword
  • Two-factor authentication. Protect your business and customers with SMS messages. Instantly deliver passwords and add an extra layer of security to your user’s account login

Keep in mind that each country has its rules for mass messaging campaigns. Learn the rules of a specific country before you start a campaign to ensure a high delivery rate. 

What Businesses Acquire Short Codes

SMS short codes are most suitable for medium-sized and large enterprises. Depending on a country, Voximplant short codes may have one-time setup fees, regulatory service charge and per-message charges. Our experts individually discuss payments with each customer.

Here are some common businesses that use short codes:

  • Accountants and tax firms
  • Political campaigns
  • E-commerce companies
  • Retailers
  • Schools
  • Real estate
  • Restaurants
  • Non-profits
  • Spas and salons
  • Entertainment venues

Short Code Types

There are three types of SMS short codes – random, vanity, and shared. And while they share  the same functionality, it all comes down to numbers.

Vanity Short Codes

A vanity short code is a custom number that you choose. Vanity short codes are useful when businesses want to acquire a memorable number – for example, 12345 or 42424. Customers will see the number on something like a billboard and easily remember it. Also, it may be difficult to get vanity short codes since they’re already being used.

Random Short Codes

In contrast, a random short code is also referred to as a ‘non-vanity short code’. A random short code is a five- or six-digit number that is assigned to you and can’t be reviewed in advance. Random short codes can be less memorable like 85736 or 27976. Thus, if you choose a random short code, you’re taking a risk.

Shared Short Codes

A shared short code is a number that is used by multiple businesses. Shared short codes are less expensive than dedicated and random ones. However, the risk arises when companies using the same shared code have common customers. In this case, customers will receive messages from multiple brands but from the same number.

How to Get a Short Code

Businesses can lease SMS short codes with Voximplant for at least three months. Our experts lease the short codes on your behalf from a national registry. This is how to get a short code:

  1. Register on the Voximplant platform
  2. Verify your account
  3. Contact the Voximplant technical support to enable the functionality
  4. Register the sender ID with Voximplant
  5. Use the service

Each leased short code must be pre-approved by a wireless carrier. This process usually takes from 8 to 12 weeks.


Short codes make SMS messaging campaigns more effective. If you’re considering a platform to build SMS communications with customers, see our prices and implemented customer solutions. Contact our technical support team to buy an SMS short code and launch a campaign.