SMS Marketing Tips: Choosing Sender ID for Bulk SMS Campaign

Let’s figure out what is sender ID, which sender is suiting best: a random number, a word or a unique name.

Before launching an SMS marketing campaign any business needs to decide which option suits it better: using a name as the sender or a number. The sender is the first thing that the recipient sees in the “From” field — and what will be written there will largely affect the chance of reading the SMS, as well as the overall delivery rate of messages. Learn more about Sender ID at SMS-Smart frequently asked questions.

Let’s compare two versions of the same SMS. Which one is perceived better?

Sender ID SMS Smart

Right: is sent from a random phone number

Left: is sent from the text name

What different types of Sender IDs?

In SMS marketing, there are three possible approaches to the sender of SMS or if called professionally – Sender ID:

  • A random phone number as a Sender ID (long code or shortcode);
  • Fixed Alfa (alphanumeric) Sender ID which is a predefined and fixed (for example INFO);
  • Custom Alfa (alphanumeric) Sender ID which is the brand name, other sender ID on demand.

Each of the types of Sender ID differs by price and route for SMS transfer. Therefore, the choice of Sender ID affects which channel messages are sent and the percentage of messages that are delivered. First of all, the main difference is that SMS with a phone number is sent via a digital channel (route),  name sender SMS – by an alphabetic route.

Let’s go deeper into detail on how SMS is transferred and review the benefits and drawbacks of the Sender ID type.

Random phone number (long code or shortcode)

Benefits of using the random number as sender ID for your SMS campaign


  • Sending SMS with such Sender ID is cheaper, cost per 1 SMS is lower in comparison with Alfa Sender ID.
  • In many countries using long code (up to 11 digits) or shortcode (4 digits) is the only option for sending promotional SMS. In these cases when using Alfa sender ID the SMS will not be delivered at all, or even if you’ll use Alfa sender ID it will be replaced with the long code or shortcode automatically. The main reason for this replacement is that the SMS route is just not specified for such SMS traffic. So, our advice to every marketer willing to use SMS marketing is to communicate closely with the support team of the SMS service provider, which will help to learn all the peculiarities of local networks and ensure better delivery rate, CTR, and ROI.

Drawbacks of using the random number as sender ID for your SMS campaign

  • Lack of loyalty

The random phone number does not give an idea of the company’s activities. It is not recognizable, therefore the subscriber is not loyal to the SMS campaign, and the probability of bouncing is higher.

There is a high probability that the recipient will not be interested in reading SMS from unknown numbers, the mailing will be perceived as spam.

  • The low percentage of delivery

There may be several reasons for this, one of them is that SMS may be filtered as spam.

The digital channels used for promotional SMS are considered to be unofficial channels and are frequently blocked by local network operators. Only 40-60% of sent messages are delivered, so plan ahead that only a part of your database will receive the message.

  • No option to call back the sender’s number

SMS is sent from the numbers which have no physical subscriber or long codes – which are used only for sending SMS. So, if customers are interested in your offer and will call back to the phone number of the sender, the calls will be missed.

  • Delivery delays

The digital channel is limited in the number of messages sent, so sending to a large number of recipients put SMS into a queue and sending whole the SMS texts can take several hours or even days.

  • Add random characters to a message

Some services add additional characters to the text of the SMS texts to make each message unique for the mobile operator. Random characters add the effect of the carelessness of the author of the message, which again makes SMS-mailing less attractive to the recipient.

Predefined or Fixed Alfa Sender ID (for example, INFO)

Benefits for Fixed Alfa Sender ID

  • A high percentage of delivery.

The delivery rate of such routes is very close to 90%, which means almost all messages are delivered if the recipient is available since the SMS route is considered official provided by the mobile operators.

  • A high level of reliability.

Such sender ID is suitable for companies that do not need to add their company name to the sender’s name

This option is also suitable for companies without a brand, such as home appliance repair, which content is clear from the SMS text itself. Or, if the company name is longer than 11 characters and the abbreviated name is not understandable for the recipients.

Drawbacks for Fixed Alfa Sender ID

  • High price.

The cost of bulk messages on such SMS routes is usually 2 times more expensive than the numeric sender ID channel.

Availability of the sender’s name to other companies.

Multiple companies can send a message with this Sender ID (take INFO for example), so if a person receives multiple messages at the same time, it can be misleading.

Custom Alfa Sender ID

Benefits of Custom Alfa Sender ID

  • Increase brand awareness.

The Sender ID may be considered an additional point of contact between the brand and the consumer, which affects the memorability of the company name.

  • High readability.

The recipient immediately understands who is the author of the message.

This increases the chance of reading the message.

  • Saving characters in the message text.

If it is immediately clear from the sender’s name who is the author of the SMS, then this information may be avoided in the text of the message.

  • A high percentage of delivery.

Just as with the common Alfa sender ID the SMS channel is considered to be of the highest quality and is suitable for those businesses that use self-collected phone numbers database, subscribers gave their permission on receiving SMS and the business expects 100% delivery rate.

Drawbacks of Custom Alfa Sender ID

  • The most expensive type of SMS route.

The cost of SMS within this route is usually 2 or even 3 times higher than the former two.

See how to set up Sender ID at SMS-Smart.

Please, be aware that for some countries, Sender ID should be registered by our company for you. This feature is free but is available under certain conditions. Usually, the registration process takes one working week.


A long code sender ID is a phone number used on the SMS digital channels, which are cheap and provide a low percentage of message delivery. Usually, these channels are used for advertising non-official services, or even sending spam SMS.

Predefined Alfa Sender ID is suitable for companies that do not need to add the company name or brand to the SMS sender, but still, expect SMS will reach all recipients.

Custom Alfa Sender ID sender is an individual company name, which is suitable for companies that care about their image, and who want to get the maximum efficiency from SMS marketing.

Try SMS-Smart service