The US shared short code discontinuation: here’s what it means for your SMS marketing

The US shared short code discontinuation: here's what it means for your SMS marketing

As of June 2021, major US carriers such as AT&T and T-mobile will no longer support the use of shared short codes by businesses.

For end-users, this means that their local clothing brand will no longer be able to text them about the $46 shirt they left in their cart without a dedicated number. For businesses, it’s a great step in preventing SPAM, but it’s a bit of a challenge for their SMS marketing team.

What is a shared short code?

All of your SMS campaigns are delivered from a virtual mobile number. A shared short code is a five- or six-digit number that has long been a popular and affordable option for many businesses wanting to send text messages. However, they’re not exclusive to your business, and so your customers might receive messages from other businesses in the same message thread as yours. This is another reason why it’s time to switch to a dedicated virtual number.

Benefits of a dedicated virtual number

In addition to the short code ban, there are many benefits to using a dedicated virtual number.

1. Number Exclusivity

There’s no chance other companies will be delivering to your recipients using the same number, which makes it easier for you to establish a great brand reputation.

2. Number Consistency

Your message always comes from the same number. It eliminates the possible confusion from a customer’s perspective on the sender and less likely for user’s to think it’s spam. Having the same number also allows your recipients to save it in their phone with your business name, which makes it much easier for them to engage with you.

3. Receive Direct Messages

People can text you directly at your number, not just reply to messages you send them. This also means you can use a custom sender ID and maintain SPAM compliance by getting people to text STOP to your number from your message.

So what can you do now?

If you’re currently using a shared short code in the US to send your SMS marketing campaigns, you will need to opt for a different kind of sender ID number. The good news is that there are alternatives in place to replace shared SMS short codes in the US:

Dedicated toll-free numbers

Dedicated toll-free numbers are the most cost-efficient of all the alternatives. They are great for API, single send, 2FA, and reminder/alert traffic. They do however have a lower throughput and are heavily filtered for marketing content by the carriers.

10-digit long code (10DLC):

This is the new standard for A2P messaging in the US and is supported for mass-sending. By using a 10-digit local number, you can reach millions of customers with fast throughput and better deliverability.

Dedicated short codes:

For those who don’t want to use a 10DLC or a toll-free number, a dedicated short code is another option. You can either get a randomly generated short code or opt for a vanity short code—although they are more expensive and the process to procure one can be lengthy.

If you need help deciding which messaging solution is best for your business needs we would be happy to help.

Submit a ticket and we’d be happy to help you navigate this new shortcode ban.