What’s the Difference Between MMS and SMS?

Oct 15
min Read
Business Texting

If you’re like most B2C brands, 2020 is shaping up to be a year of digital innovation and exploration. During your research, you’ve probably come across the benefits of text messaging and engaging with customers via modern channels.

Replacing email marketing with texting at your business may be the biggest driver of revenue this year. But some of the acronyms in the texting world can prove to be confusing.

This post will look at two common digital channel acronyms – SMS and MMS – and discuss the similarities and differences between them.

What is SMS

What is SMS marketing exactly? Short Messaging Service, or SMS for short, is what most people would recognize as a standard text message. SMS communications are typically around 160 characters long and, in some direct-to-consumer cases, include a link that customers can click on to go to a webpage or site.

If your SMS message exceeds the character limit, it will be broken up into multiple SMS messages upon being sent.

While most of us know and love text messages from our personal communications, B2C brands are starting to embrace the power of the text message as a way to target consumer audiences where and when they want to engage.

Because the majority of the population is so used to receiving SMS communications, they’re more likely to engage with brands via this channel as well.

And, thanks to concise character limits and the ability to include links, text messages are very good at inciting action and responses from customers.

What is MMS

Multimedia Messaging Service, or MMS, might not be as familiar an acronym to most people as SMS yet, but it is definitely growing in the public consciousness.

MMS communications can be videos, audio files, images, or even moving images (GIFs). Sometimes MMS communications also include some sort of text component and, in B2C cases, these text components can include links.

It’s important to note, however, that the text component of an MMS communication might be sent separately from the visual component.

In personal text communications, MMS messages hit their stride in the last year or so with the advent of memes, GIFs, and emojis.

In the B2C world, MMS is just now picking up steam. As brands test out more targeted channels like texting, they’ve been able to experiment more with personalized messaging and content.

If your team is already comfortable entering into sustained conversations with consumers, sending a video that explains a purchase option, a GIF thanking a customer for an order, or an audio file with next steps can help move your customer relationships to the next level.

What's the difference between MMS and SMS

There are a few factors that make MMS and SMS different from each other. Let's look at a few of the key differences.

1. Cost differences between SMS and MMS

MMS messages are generally more costly than SMS messages. Depending on the number of people you need to text and what kind of engagement you would like to see, this may or may not be worth the extra money.

2. Videos, photos, GIFs, audio

Multimedia can be sent in MMS messages. SMS does not allow for these formats to be sent.

3. Character limit for SMS and MMS

The character limit for SMS hangs at 160 characters. The limit for MMS is around 1600 characters.

4. Engagement for SMS vs MMS

Typically, images and other visuals offered by MMS make for a higher engagement rate and are more likely to be shared. If you are running a marketing campaign in which engagement is important, MMS is the way to go.

Should I use SMS or MMS?

Deciding which type of text message is better for your business to use will depend on your purpose for the message. In the end, you want to have a successful text campaign.

If you want customers to engage with the text, sending an MMS message will be beneficial in encouraging interaction. (payments, scheduling, review requests, how-to videos, coupons, sales, etc.)

However, if the text is mostly informative (confirmations, reminders, etc.) then an SMS message is direct and to the point.

Most importantly, know your customer. What kind of messaging would they prefer for what you are doing. If they are looking to have a conversation, then exchange SMS messages. If you need engagement, send an MMS.

Consider combing your text and email marketing campaigns to encourage people to opt-in for texting while also adding another touch point in the nurture process.

Ready to get started? If your team isn’t already leveraging text messaging to communicate with customers, don’t wait any longer – now is the time to get started. The team at Kenect is standing by to answer all of your SMS and MMS questions. You can learn more and get started here.

Get texting for your business