What Is an SMS Long Code?

An SMS long code is a 10-digit phone number used to send and receive messages. Long codes are used for transactional messages, such as two-factor authentication and delivery package alerts, and not intended for the use of marketing messages. Due to the nature of long codes, message throughput is significantly slower compared to short code messaging. Long codes weren’t designed to handle mass text message marketing campaigns but instead send transactional messaging.

To illustrate an example of how long codes are typically used, below are two examples. DoorDash uses long codes for delivery updates and a local restaurant uses long codes to communicate order and rewards information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An SMS short code is a 5-6 digit phone number that is specifically used for marketing purposes. Short codes are registered with the wireless carries and thus have higher technical capabilities, such as a significantly faster message throughput. Due to this, brands and organizations choose short codes for mass text message marketing campaigns and not transactional messaging.

Long codes are typically inexpensive, starting around $1 per phone number, whereas short codes can start around $500-$1,000 per month. With a difference in technical capabilities, there’s a difference in price and usage situations. Long codes and short codes can both help brands and organizations achieve different goals.