MMS. You’ve undoubtedly heard the acronym before, but what does it stand for, and more importantly, why is it relevant to your business’s marketing?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service and is often mentioned in the same breath as SMS, or Short Messaging Service.

MMS is essentially a dressed up SMS. The main difference, as you might guess, is that MMS is used to send visual messages, which can include multimedia like videos, pictures, audio, GIFs, and animations. MMS also differs from SMS in both length and cost.

What is Bulk MMS?

A key vocabulary word you may have heard around the term MMS is “bulk MMS.” Bulk MMS refers to the marketing channel by which you send mass multimedia texts to groups of subscribers. When you send bulk MMS, you are subject to the same rules and best practices as when you send bulk SMS, namely the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Bulk MMS can have tremendous advantages for your business, given the sky high engagement rate it has over its nonvisual counterpart. Adding visual elements to the intimacy and immediacy of regular SMS marketing is highly effective in engaging your subscribers.

What’s the difference between MMS and SMS?

There are several key differences between MMS and SMS that you should be aware of.

1. Space

The first is space. While an SMS is limited to 160 characters, MMS offers more freedom in length. On average, MMS supports a maximum size of around 300KB-500KB and over a thousand words. Character count is an important consideration when you’re thinking about which to send and when.

If you’re sending a short appointment reminder, for example, SMS would be your ideal option. If you’re delivering a long promo with flashy visuals, you may opt for an MMS.

2. Supported media

As the acronym suggests, with MMS, you can embed media. This is probably the biggest difference between the two message types. “Media” in this context includes images, GIFs, video, and audio. With MMS, you can showcase logos, colors, animations, graphics, and attachments, whereas with SMS you are limited to only text and links.

Think about which of your messages can benefit the most from visual enhancements. Where are you seeing the greatest ROI from using visuals? Messages that drive these favorable outcomes might deserve a little extra bling, so dress them up.

3. Pricing

Since MMS is the high-end version of SMS, businesses tend to pay more to send these messages. Why is this?

SMS is sent over cell networks using standard data packets. A text travels from a sender’s phone to a cell tower and then to the SMS message center, after which it then passes through a cell tower near the recipient and then is finally delivered to the recipient.

MMS uses similar infrastructure, but the process is slightly more complex. MMS is submitted to a Multimedia Message Service Center (MMSC), which then alerts the recipient's device that an MMS is waiting. Finally, the MMS is delivered to its recipient from the MMSC. Given that an MMS passes through two service centers, as compared to an SMS’s passing through only one, it makes sense that this message type would incur much higher costs.

What is MMS Marketing?

MMS marketing is the process of sending bulk MMS to your audience as part of a broader multichannel communications strategy.

As we’ve discussed, MMS is a format well-suited to marketing messages, and is ideal for promotional campaigns, contests, surveys, and tickets. Promotional messages you can send via MMS include mobile coupons, event invites, vouchers, QR codes, birthday cards and more.

Curious why companies use text marketing as part of their multichannel strategy? Check out the following article.

>>Why Text Messaging (SMS) Should be Part of Your Marketing Strategy