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

What does MMS stand for?

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

MMS messaging is essentially a dressed-up SMS. The main difference, as you might guess, is that MMS messaging 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 Messaging?

A key vocabulary word you may have heard around the term MMS is “bulk MMS.” Bulk MMS messaging refers to the marketing channel by which you send mass multimedia texts to groups of subscribers. When you send bulk MMS messages, 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 messaging 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.

Check out the best SMS strategies for eCommerce for more actionable SMS and MMS tips!

What’s the Difference Between MMS and SMS?

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

Difference between MMS and SMS

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 messages, 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 a 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 passing through only one, it makes sense that this message type would incur much higher costs.

What is MMS Messaging in the Context of Marketing?

MMS marketing is the process of sending bulk MMS messaging out 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. Beyond these use cases, there are a variety of benefits associated with adding text messaging to your marketing strategy.

Ready to get started with MMS and SMS marketing? We have more information for you in our guide "What is SMS Marketing?"

Learn More about MMS & SMS Marketing Strategy

Want to start using MMS and SMS but not sure where to begin? Check out the eBook below to learn fundamental text messaging strategies, use cases, best practices, and tips for leveraging this channel across different industries.

Download: The Comprehensive Guide to Text Message Marketing