Using a Sender ID for your SMS communications

To have truly effective SMS communications, it’s essential that your recipients know who the message is coming from. With multiple Sender ID options, you can make this easier for customers and make your brand even more memorable.

What is a Sender ID?

A Sender ID is a numeric or alphanumeric contact that SMS messages are sent from. Sender IDs appear at the top of text message conversations and help identify the user or business that messages are sent and received from.

There are three different types of Sender IDs; Custom Words, Dedicated Numbers and Shared Numbers.

Types of Sender IDs

Sender IDs aren’t just limited to your standard mobile number set-up. With customized options, your business can improve engagement with recipients.

1. Custom Words

A Custom Word can use up to 11 alphanumeric characters as the Sender ID (With no spacing in between, you replace a spacing with a hyphen or underscore). Your Custom Word could be your business/company name, a department within your business, church name, school name, hospital name or any other word/phrase you deem suitable e.g GLOMUS-INT, K_INVEST, VIVO, UCHUMI, EQUITY, SAMGESA ETC.

Custom Words are unique to your business and are a great way to increase brand awareness.

Custom Word

Please note: Unlike other Sender IDs, Custom Words do not support two way SMS communication.

Custom Words are often used for transactional SMS when replies are not needed. They’re popular amongst airlines, banks and insurance agencies.

2. Dedicated Numbers

A Dedicated Virtual Number consists of up to 16 digits and is unique to your business. Virtual Numbers support 2 Way SMS but must be purchased from an SMS provider. Dedicated Numbers come in two forms; short code and long code.

a). Long code: Long code numbers consist of 11-16 digits depending on which country you’re sending from. They’re cheaper than short code numbers however they’re more difficult to remember.

Long Code

b). Short code: Short code Dedicated Numbers can be between 4-8 digits, dependent on the country you’re sending within (In Kenya it is usually 5 digits e.g 22739). Short code numbers are easy to remember making them perfect for conversations that begin from the consumer end. They’re commonly used for text-to-win competitions, customer feedback or customer requests.

Short Code

3. Shared Numbers

A Shared Number appears like a long code Dedicated Number but it is not unique to your business. Shared Numbers supports two way SMS. However, you can only receive replies within 48hrs of sending your SMS.

Which type of Sender ID should I choose?

The best Sender ID for your business will depend on a number of factors. Below we’ve detailed the benefits of each so you can pick the best option for your SMS communications.

Custom Words

  • Clearly identifies your business
  • Unique to your business
  • Illustrates an increased level of professionalism
  • Improves brand awareness
  • Is considered best practice for finance, insurance and government industries

Short Code Dedicated Number

  • Very easy to remember
  • Unique to your business
  • Supports Two Way SMS
  • Supports Keywords & Triggers
  • Perfect for text-to-win competitions and customer requests

Long Code Dedicated Number

  • Unique to your business
  • Supports Two Way SMS
  • Supports Keywords & Triggers
  • Cheaper than Short Code Dedicated Numbers

Shared Numbers

  • Supports 2 Way SMS (within 48hrs of sending)
  • Perfect for small businesses just beginning their SMS communications

How to register your Sender ID