Which Sender ID should you choose for Your Business? Custom Words, Virtual Numbers, and Shared Numbers

How do you identify a mobile phone number that has sent an SMS? Sender IDs are numeric or alphanumeric mobile identifiers that determine who has sent a text message—usually located at the top of your device.

There are different types of Senders IDs, but they all have the same goal: to identify who is sending text messages. In this blog post, we will explore three Sender ID options and how they can be used to improve your business communications.

Why is it so important to choose the right SMS Sender ID?

Consistency, of course! Whatever Sender ID you choose tells your end recipient and customers who is contacting them. Let your audience identify your business's messages instantly with an appropriate Sender ID.

Sender ID messages will jump out over SMS spam messages that can be missed or ignored. Displayed at the top of your text conversations, Sender IDs create an immediate impression on your recipients.


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What is an Alphanumeric Sender ID?

Also known as Custom Word Sender IDs, Alphanumeric Sender IDs are great for branding and marketing. Each SMS message sent via an Alphanumeric Sender ID displays the same brand name or another specified word.

What are Custom Words?

Custom words allow your business name, company name, or product names to be used as the Sender ID. Custom words can only be used for one-way communications. While they can be used for SMS marketing campaigns, Custom Words are preferred by banking, airline, and government sectors to avoid appearing as spam.

Just be sure to check whether your country or region supports sending SMS via Custom Words.

The benefits of a Custom Word Sender ID:

  • Free to use through our online SMS platform, MXT
  • Clearly identifies your brand name
  • Unique to your business
  • Demonstrates professionalism and reliability
  • An effective way to improve brand awareness
  • Considered best practice for finance, insurance, and government institutions

Related article: What is an Alphanumeric (Custom Word) Sender ID?

What are Virtual Numbers for SMS messages?

A Virtual Dedicated Number looks like a local mobile number or national phone number; providing your recipients with a familiar mobile number format. Plus, they allow your customers to initiate messages and reply to conversation threads. Virtual Numbers allow you to conduct both one-way and two-way messaging (for SMS and MMS messages).

Related article: What are Virtual Numbers?

Long Code Virtual Numbers

Long code virtual numbers can be 11 to 16 digits long depending on the country or region you’re sending from. In the US, for instance, 10 Digit Long Codes (10DLC) are the norm. 10DLCs are unique to your business as you are required to register them with The Campaign Registry. This means you get to send from the same unique identifier every time.

Why businesses use Long Codes:

  • Can only be used by your business
  • Supports Two-Way text messaging
  • Supports SMS Keywords & Triggers (SMS auto replies)
  • More cost-effective compared to sending via Short Code

Short Code SMS numbers

Short Codes are usually five or six digits long. Many brands choose to send from a Short Code as it is easy to remember and therefore easily recognisable to recipients. However, they are more suited to enterprise businesses given their premium cost.

Why businesses use Short Codes:

  • Concise and easy to remember
  • Can only be used by your business
  • Facilitates two-way messaging
  • Supports Keywords & Triggers responses
  • Perfect for text-to-win competitions and customer support

What are Shared Numbers?

Shared Numbers are the most budget-friendly Sender ID option and are free to use with SMSGlobal’s SMS gateway. However, Shared Numbers are randomly allocated, meaning the number isn't specific to your business and can be used by other brands once your campaign has ended.

A Shared Number can support two-way SMS messaging. However, you can only receive replies within 48 hours of the initial message.

Related article: Shared Numbers: What is SMSGlobal Shared Pool Numbers

Why businesses choose to send from Shared Numbers:

  • Free to access and use via the MXT SMS gateway
  • Supports Two-Way messaging (within 48 hours of sending)
  • Ideal for small businesses or brands getting started on their SMS journey

Voice and SMS enabled Virtual Numbers

Yes, you can use the same Virtual Dedicated Number for business phone calls and text messaging! Voice-enabled Virtual Numbers can conduct voice calls and send SMS, displaying the same Sender ID for your customers. In addition, businesses can track their call volumes just like their text message campaigns in SMSGlobal’s reporting dashboards.

Virtual Number Sender IDs allow you to create a Sender ID that is not linked with any physical mobile number; you can simply conduct phone calls and text messages via our online platform, MXT. Communication doesn’t get easier or more convenient than that!

The benefits of Voice and SMS Virtual Numbers:

  • Consistent contact details
  • You can advertise across business collateral
  • Streamline customer support queries
  • Allow customers to use their preferred channel
  • Consolidate costs

Related article: Frequently Asked Questions on SMSGlobal’s Voice solution

What SMS Sender ID is best for your business?

Each Sender ID type offers benefits that may suit your unique business needs. Depending on where you’re sending SMS to and what capabilities you desire will determine the most suitable SMS Sender ID.

If you’d like help deciding, you can contact our SMS Experts at any time via phone, email or live chat. They’ll recommend the most appropriate Sender ID for your communication needs.