5-Digit Shortcodes for Texting In Rock: The Full Rundown by Clearstream Published Apr 22, 2022 If you use Rock RMS and do any kind of texting within Rock, you likely know there are two "SMS Transport" plugins you can download in the Rock Shop: Twilio or Clearstream. If you're using texting to communicate within your church, you'll also know there are two primary types of numbers you can use: longcodes (10-digit numbers), which are also known as A2P 10DLC numbers, and shortcodes (5-digit numbers). So, which texting number is best: 5-digit or 10-digit? The answer is conditional, and unique to each churches' particular use case and budget. Quick tl;dr Summary Shortcodes are the most expensive option, but the easiest for church members to engage with, and the fastest way to text by a significant margin. In terms of performant messaging at scale, shortcodes stand alone. Longcodes are a more affordable option that are quicker to setup and connect with wireless carriers. This option, however, is more difficult for people to engage with, and has a slower message delivery rate. A2P 10DLC is a viable option for smaller-scale texting on a budget (a few hundred to a couple of thousand people), with message delivery thatʼs not time-sensitive, as longcodes send significantly slower than shortcodes. How do shortcodes work? Shortcodes are 5-digit carrier-approved numbers for two-way-enabled mass texting. All shortcodes in the U.S. are leased with the Short Code Registry. You can lease numbers on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis, but you don't own them. At Clearstream, as opposed to other providers, we create a Short Code Registry account for your church and give you admin rights to your account. This gives you more control over your shortcode, as well as billing transparency. Most providers do not give access to the Short Code Registry account where your shortcode is stored. With Clearstream, the setup and carrier approval time for a new shortcode is 2-3 weeks. With Twilio, it can be 4-8 weeks. Clearstreamʼs carrier approval timeline is much shorter than other providers because we've streamlined our process specifically for churches. We're also a listed and vetted top shortcode provider with the Short Code Registry. What is the cost of leasing a new shortcode? There are two types of shortcodes- Random and Select. All shortcodes in the U.S. are controlled by and leased from the Short Code Registry, which sets the price of all U.S. based shortcodes. Random 5-digit shortcodes cost $500/mo. Random shortcodes are five randomly generated numbers, which you cannot choose. i.e. - 52398. Select 5-digit shortcodes cost $1,000/mo. Select shortcodes can be chosen by you and aren't randomly generated. Hereʼs a tool to create your own shortcode number or see whatʼs available. What will my entire SMS cost be if I use a dedicated shortcode? $500 or $1,000/mo: shortcode lease fee charged by the Short Code Registry for leasing either a Random or Select shortcode. $1,100: one-time wireless carrier setup fee for a new shortcode. Clearstream passes this on to you without any additional charges. Any messages and platform fees with your SMS application provider. With Clearstream, you can use any of our monthly plans, which give you a set amount of monthly message credits. You can upgrade or downgrade at any time, and there is no contract. Customer support fees: Clearstream provides chat, email, and phone/Zoom call support free for all customers. Twilio has tiered customer support plans ranging from limited free to $5K/mo. In most cases, SMS providers upcharge to host and manage your shortcode. For example, Twilio typically charges an additional $500/mo "connection fee." Clearstream charges no additional shortcode hosting or management fees. This means you'll pay substantially less per month with Clearstream. When should your church be using a shortcode? Shortcodes are the single best option for mass, large scale texting. Why? Shortcodes are approved by carriers, have the least amount of issue with URL link filtering, and are the gold standard for ultra-high message throughput. If you use Clearstream, you can expect throughput to be around 300 messages per second: Thatʼs 3X faster than Twilioʼs 100 mps. Shortcodes are also significantly easier for your congregation to text into as opposed to a 10-digit local number. For example, imagine the two numbers below are showing on your screen during service. Which call to action is easier to input into a mobile device when sending a text? New here? Text Join to 94000 New here? Text Join to (580) 309-5902 One is demonstrably easier than the other. However, Clearstream also offers local A2P 10DLC numbers. When should your church be using an A2P 10DLC local number? While shortcodes are the single best option for texting, they're also significantly more expensive than local numbers. If your budget won't allow for a dedicated shortcode, using a 10-digit local phone number is your best option. The only cost you will incur if you set up a 10-digit number in Clearstream is the cost of your monthly plan. There are currently no additional costs (as of April 2022- there may be setup costs in the future if carriers begin charging setup fees). The downside of local numbers is they have significantly lower message throughput than shortcodes, and lower delivery rates. You also might experience more carrier filtering (with some carriers) when sending URL links in your texts. How do I setup a shortcode? If you're ready to setup a dedicated shortcode with Clearstream, start by filling out this short form (we'll use this information for creating your Short Code Registry account and connecting your new shortcode with wireless carriers). In Conclusion Once you know how often you want to communicate and to how many people, your church is ready to create a game plan for texting. Be sure to use a trusted and reliable texting platform that not only works well with Rock, but also has the capabilities your church needs. With Clearstream, regardless of your church size, you'll have the fastest message throughput, 5 and 10-digit texting number options, affordable pricing plans, and multiple ways to integrate with Rock RMS. If you have any questions, or if you'd like to schedule a Zoom call with our team, we'd love to talk!