5 Ways to Use Common Short Codes

  • Text to Win
  • Text to Vote
  • Text to Download
  • SMS Alerts
  • M-Commerce

Common short codes are short telephone numbers designed for short message system (SMS) or multimedia messaging system (MMS) communication via cellphone. Common short code (CSC) is often a five-digit number assigned at random or requested as a vanity number. A CSC can serve a number of purposes. Below are 5 Uses for Common Short Codes.

See our ranking of the Top 30 Best Online Master’s in Computer Science Degree Programs.

1. Text to Win

Radio, television, and print media have been known to use common short code to engage listeners in contests. These contests not only enhance brand loyalty, they are also a great way to generate new customers. Media outlets will often use vanity numbers related to the promotion or parent company. Customers can be prompted to respond once or whenever the media outlet provides a cue. One example would be texting a radio stations CSC whenever a certain song is played. In this scenario, the audience would be driven to extend their listening hours in order to hear the cue.

2. Text to Vote

Common short codes can also be used to allowing mobile voting. With mobile voting, each candidate (or contestant) is often assigned their own CSC. The number of votes for each CSC is then tabulated. Text to vote are often used in reality competitions where the audience is a least partially responsible for selecting the winners. Text to vote can be used as a brand marketing tool to engage potential customers with product development, or to increase participation in student elections.

3. Text to download

Many companies use common short codes to prompt consumer engagement through multimedia sharing. A music promoter may offer a ringtone based on a band’s new song or a movie production company may offer a screensaver based on the promotional art from a new film. In both cases, the consumer would dial a CSC which would automatically generate a download link.

4. SMS Alerts

SMS alerts also utilize CSC. As a general rule, consumers dial a CSC to opt into the alerts, which are then automatically sent to the consumers cellphone. The frequency of the alerts can depend on the function. Some consumers opt-in to receive sales alerts from their favorite retailers, warnings when bank levels are low, or when credit card payments are due. Others opt into public service announcements like severe weather alerts. Many universities offer emergency alerts for students who opt-in.

5. M-commerce

M-commerce, or mobile commerce, is another way that companies are utilizing common short code. Using SMS, consumers pay for products that are often delivered as downloads. This process usually includes three steps. First, the consumer sends a keyword and unique number to the shortcode. Next, the consumer receives a PIN that has been billed to their phone bill or online wallet. Finally, the consumer uses the PIN to access the product or service.

Whether used to engage audiences, promote products and services, relay information, or provide easy payment options, common short codes have gained in popularity over the past decade. More companies are using them as part of their branding campaigns and more organizations are using them for emergency information.