Keywords and Short Codes

What is a keyword?

A keyword is a unique alphanumeric word that can trigger actions such as an opt-in, opt-out or auto-response text when text messaged to a specific short code.

keyword to opt-in to text messaging campaigns

Are there any restrictions for creating a keyword?

Yes. Here is a list of restrictions:

  • Keywords must be between 3 and 15 characters.
  • You must not use keywords that represent registered trademarks or infringes the rights of any third party.
  • You may not use any words that are racist, profane, or pornographic in nature.
  • Keywords must be only one word (alphanumeric).
  • No spaces or special characters are permitted however a customer can send a text message with a space in it and we will remove it when matching keywords.
  • Keywords are not case sensitive.
  • Keywords must start with a letter.

What is a short code?

A short code is a 5 or 6 digit number used for enterprise and brand text messaging campaigns. Consumers can send text messages to a short code and receive messages from a short code. There are two different types of short codes: shared and dedicated.

Shared short code

A shared short code, typically owned by a text message marketing provider, allows multiple businesses to use the same short code to send bulk text messages to their customers. It is a cost effective way for small and medium sized businesses to send group text messages.

Dedicated short code

A dedicated short code is a short code owned and operated by a single company. That company has full control over that code and has access to every message delivered to it, whether or not that message is connected to a specific campaign. The process of obtaining and maintaining dedicated short codes can be 6-8 weeks or more.

Keywords and Short Codes FAQs

What is the difference between an SMS keyword and an MMS keyword?

The message delivered with an SMS keyword contains only text while the message delivered with an MMS keyword contains the textual keyword plus a piece of content such as an image or video. Both SMS keywords and MMS keywords can trigger either SMS or MMS responses.

How long can I keep a keyword in my account for a shared short code?

Keywords will remain active as long as your account is in good standing and the keywords are being used. Keywords will be released from your account after a number of consecutive months of inactivity. Active keywords will not be released. If one of your keywords has been released, and you would like to reacquire it, you may do so if it is available. Your monthly plan will define how long an inactive keyword will remain in your account. Free trial account keywords typically expire after 1 month while in an account with a Dedicated short code the keywords do not typically expire at all.

If you downgrade the monthly plan of your account, the keywords will adapt the rules of the new account type starting from when the keyword was last used. This means that if you have a keyword that has not been used for two months, and you downgrade to a plan that only allows one month of inactivity, then automatically that keyword will expire and be released.

Can I release a keyword before it becomes inactive?

Yes. You can delete the keyword you no longer wish to have. This can be done in the “Keywords” tab or within the keyword section of an SMS/MMS campaign.

What is the difference between keywords used in SMS/MMS campaigns and keywords used in MMS Inboxes?

SMS/MMS campaigns use SMS keywords, while MMS Inboxes use MMS keywords. If you acquire an MMS keyword, you will automatically have access to its SMS counterpart, and visa versa. For more information on the keyword types see the above question “What is the difference between an SMS keyword and an MMS keyword?”

Is there a fee per keyword? Can I purchase more?

You are not charged for the creation of new keywords, but you may be limited to a specific number of keywords depending on your plan. Most plans have unlimited Keywords.

If I own my own short code, am I limited to the number of keywords I can use?

When you own your own dedicated short code there is no limit to the number of keywords you are allowed. You can also configure the HELP and STOP messages to your own requirements. Your keywords will never expire either until you release them.

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