Target your customers with sms and mms marketing

What is the difference between SMS and MMS?

SMS stands for Short Message Service, and MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service.

The first thing to know when selecting a software partner to send SMS (Short Message Service) for business is to understand that not all text marketing platforms can send MMS.

What is SMS?

Most are familiar with the term text message, which is essentially what an SMS is.  In the USA alone, more than 6 billion text messages are sent each day.  The mobile carriers consider an SMS to be up to 160 characters.

What is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. You can think of it as an extension to the standard SMS message. You’ve probably guessed it by now, but the main difference between SMS and MMS is that you can send multimedia in your MMS messages. This includes media such as videos, pictures, logos, graphics, and more. Additionally, MMS allows for up to 500 characters of text in your message, which is a lot more than a standard SMS.

A better understanding of these differences is critical to businesses’ marketing success. In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between SMS and MMS messages, so you can better understand how each can be used to communicate with your customers.

The Top 5 MMS vs. SMS Messaging Differences:

  1. SMS is limited to 160 characters per message; the mobile carriers set this.
  2. SMS does not allow you to include images, photos, or videos.
  3. MMS affords you the ability to include up to 500 characters.
  4. MMS allows you to send pictures, graphics, or videos in addition to the 500 character limit.
  5. SMS is lower in cost than MMS.

But for your business, which should you choose?

When choosing between SMS and MMS, identify the main goals and objectives for your business. Are you interested in sending text-only communications or including images in your messages?

Finding the right messaging channel is largely dependent on the unique characteristics, behaviors, and interests of your target audience. Do you receive a higher level of engagement via simple text messages or colorful imagery and videos?

Remember to consider the drawbacks of each messaging channel. The character constraint of SMS can cause major roadblocks for businesses that need to send large amounts of content. MMS can increase your cost significantly if you are sending tens or hundreds of thousands of messages monthly.

The Pros and Cons of SMS vs. MMS

Whether using Text2VIP’s SMS or MMS to reach your customers, the message deliverability rate is unparalleled to any other form of communication.  However, when we dive deeper to compare the pros and cons of each method, we conclude the following:

Advantages of SMS

When you’re sending an SMS message professionally — whether for marketing or communications — there are some significant advantages over sending an MMS.

  • SMS messages are short, sweet, and to the point. However, due to the 160 character limit, they don’t require a lot of time or attention from the end-user to understand what is being communicated.SMS marketing example
  • It is less expensive to send SMS messages than it is to send MMS.
  • Most carriers in the U.S. offer unlimited texting plans, so there is likely no cost to your subscribers.

Disadvantages of SMS

There are instances when you shouldn’t use an SMS. Here are some drawbacks to SMS.

  • You can’t send videos, photos, or sometimes even emojis in a traditional SMS message. If you want to offer your customers something more attention-grabbing, MMS may be the way to go.
  • As we discussed earlier, SMS has a character limit of 160 characters, which can be limiting if your use case requires you to send longer messages.

Advantages of  MMS

MMS messages can be powerful but aren’t always the right solution. Here’s why:

  • MMS messages are typically more eye-catching as people tend to gravitate towards messages in their inbox that include a picture or video.
  • If you need to send large amounts of content in each message, you can do that by using MMS as, again, the character limit is 500.

Disadvantages of MMS

Here are some reasons why you might not always want to use MMS.

  • MMS messages cost more to send. If you’re like most businesses that are budget conscious, you may want to limit how often you are sending MMS messages.
  • Not all people can receive MMS messages. While most people have smartphones these days, not all do, and some may not have MMS enabled on their cellular plan.
  • You may not be a designer, which means you’ll need to hire someone to put together the graphics or videos that you would send, which will inevitably cost you as well.

An example of a brand using the power of MMS is seen below.

Text2VIP client, Off the Hook Comedy Club, was hosting an artist who had appeared on the nationally televised “America’s Got Talent.”

In this example, our client harnessed the visual impact by including America’s Got Talent logo and the performer’s photo.  While some recipients may have recognized the comedian’s name, others who might not know when reading a regular SMS  benefitted from seeing the face to identify him.

In this SMS example, our Text2VIP text messaging platform was used by VOSS water to notify winners in their annual SMS sweepstakes.

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