When planning for the launch of your mobile marketing surge, the question of whether to use a shared or dedicated short code for your business is bound to come up. Your short code, the significantly shorter telephone number you’ll obtain and give to customers to use to address SMS messages from their mobile phones, is an important piece of the mobile marketing picture. Consider the following when selecting the code type that makes most sense for your business. If you are unfamiliar with short codes or keywords, please read this short piece describing SHORT CODES and KEYWORDS.
Shared short codes are used across multiple businesses and campaigns. Keyword(s) are assigned to specific clients for executing mobile marketing campaigns. Dedicated short codes are leased and assigned to one business or entity. The business has full control of creating campaigns and keywords and all traffic is routed to that individual client. Dedicated short codes allow you to lease a short code that matches your brand.
As you might imagine, shared and dedicated codes are very different from each other and deciding between them requires careful thought. Take look at how the two types compare on key points of interest:
Shared codes are more cost effective; they allow you to share the costs of the short code leasing, carrier connectivity and software to run campaigns. Messaging itself is still charged on a usage basis. Dedicated codes are more expensive; businesses pay for total control of all message flows and branding. Total cost for dedicated codes include the short code lease ($500 to $1000 per month), carrier connectivity, campaign software and messaging costs.
- Availability of Keyword
Keywords must be unique per shared code. If multiple businesses want the same code, only one will actually receive it. Dedicated codes come with the ability to have unlimited keywords on short codes and full control of how they act.
Since many companies with shared code will use a code that belongs to others, businesses run the risk of being associated to other brands that advertise more. This is completely averted with dedicated code, where a business is the sole owner of the code. With that total control, dedicated code owners are able to brand their mobile number into customers’ minds just like the service or product they’re selling.
While a shared code can be up and running with minimal wait time, typically in a day, a dedicated code takes much longer, 8 to 12 weeks or more.
If you’re on the fence regarding shared or dedicated code, think about your business goals. Is time of the essence? If so, businesses who want to enter the text messaging arena quickly and with minimal cost will likely move forward with a shared code. Those businesses keen on building their brand are typically happier waiting for a dedicated code as well as incurring the higher associated fees.