Determine Which Method is Best for Your Business

(Hint: It’s Both!)

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and SMS (Short Message Service) coexist in our daily text messaging, living within a single chat interface on our phones. Many find it difficult to distinguish between the two. Despite their many similarities, MMS and SMS serve unique functions with differing technical characteristics. Understanding the differences between the two messaging services is crucial in determining how to leverage both in your comprehensive marketing and communication strategy.

1. Content Type

        • SMS: SMS messages must be in plain text format and attachments appear as links.  
        • MMS: MMS messages can transmit a wide range of multimedia content including pictures, videos, audio, and GIFs in addition to text. 51% of consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase if they receive a text message with images and media.

MMS text message example on cell phone alongside SMS text message example on cellphone.

2. Message Length

        • SMS: Limited to 160 characters in most cases, SMS communications are clear and concise making it easy for customers to understand your message and intent. Longer SMS messages may be split into multiple sends.
        • MMS: Message length can vary depending on the carrier and device capabilities. MMS can accommodate longer messages with multimedia content.

3. Engagement 

        • SMS: The average open rate of SMS messages is 98%. The average click-through-rate ranges from 20 – 35%.
        • MMS: The average open rate of MMS is also 98%, but click-through-rate is ~52% higher than traditional SMS.

4. Compatibility 

        • SMS: SMS is a widely supported messaging service that works on virtually all mobile phones and networks.
        • MMS: MMS is generally well-supported, but compatibility may vary between devices and carriers.

5. Delivery

        • SMS: SMS messages are deliverable through any traditional cellular network, making them reliable and accessible.
        • MMS: MMS delivery can depend on the specific device and cellular network. While nearly all Android devices and iPhones meet the minimum criteria to receive MMS, not all carriers will support MMS delivery.

6. Cost

        • SMS: SMS messages are cost-effective as they primarily contain plain text which requires minimal data.
        • MMS: Due to multimedia elements like images and videos, MMS messages contain larger data files that require higher bandwidth to send, making them more expensive than SMS on average.  

The choice between MMS and SMS should not be an either-or decision, but rather a strategic combination of both. In recent years, text communication has become more streamlined and cost-effective allowing organizations to leverage both SMS and MMS in order to create a truly comprehensive marketing and communications plan. Consider your content type, message length and target audience when planning your messaging campaigns. By utilizing the power of SMS for concise, text-based messages and MMS for engaging multimedia content, you can create a well-rounded communication strategy that maximizes your reach and impact.

Are you curious about how your organization can benefit from MMS? Let’s talk!

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