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7 Key Differences Between MMS and SMS

  BONUS MATERIAL: The Psychology of SMS Marketing

Short Message Service (SMS) has been a widely used form of text messaging for a long time and is still currently fully operational. You can use SMS’ to reach friends that live far away from you or even remind your spouse to remember buying milk on their way back home from work.

Businesses have found other applications of this unique text messaging system by including it in their strategy to get more clients. There are a lot of great SMS marketing examples that have been very successful. There is also another form of a messaging system called MMS. Let’s talk about what it is and is there a difference between it and SMS.

The core difference between MMS and SMS

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service and is quite different from the SMS texting strategy. The core difference is that MMS is an extension of the SMS protocol and the latter has fewer benefits.

MMS exponentially improved the capacity of text messages and, as a result, has changed the ball game in mobile marketing. Whoever is considering SMS marketing should compare the difference between these two messaging strategies.

You need to know which is one is more suitable for your business, and to do so, you need to discover more about these messaging services. Although some use the terms interchangeably, these two messaging services are definitely not the same and don’t work in the same capacity.

Even the names of these messaging services say it all, SMS’ has the purpose of sending short messages while MMS’ does more than just that. The following are more of the intricate differences between SMS’ and MMS.’

MMS gives more space but is expensive

SMS limits the characters you can send to 160, anything more than that is split into two messages or automatically converted to an MMS. If you have short marketing content to send, it might be beneficial to use SMS. A lot of businesses have been using SMS in various stages of customer journey to draw potential clients in and retain them.

The additional space that is offered by MMS can be very helpful when you have more content to send. The typical character limit of MMS is 1600 in one message, which is ten times more than SMS. Undoubtedly, this makes a significant difference but try to ensure that you really need the extra space.

You don’t have to waste all that space, which comes at a cost if you don’t really need it. If you can, try to make the message shorter to fit in the character limit of SMS. Those savings can help you reach a wider audience for less money spent and if those customers convert, the ROI will be higher.

MMS allows sending media

One of the key differences between MMS and SMS is that the latter doesn’t support sending media files or embedding them. Although the SMS messaging system allows sending links that will direct you to the media, it doesn’t show what the media is in the message.

MMS allows senders to embed different media on their messages that will make the content more appealing because it will show right above or below the message. The media you can embed and send ranges from images, audio files, GIFs and short video clips. That is the main reason why this text message system is called a Multimedia Messaging Service.

You can send multimedia and enrich the content you are sending to the targeted recipients. MMS’ have received more engagement because of this reason, the content is more lively with visual or audible content. It has been used in many mobile marketing strategies to engage the audience meaningfully and effectively.

You can embed product images, podcasts or short videos for marketing purposes. Not all businesses need to embed media in their content, especially service providers like funeral insurance companies and so forth. That makes it very important to try to determine which messaging strategy will be most effective for you.

Matt Williams works as the marketing manager for UK assignment help, an online paper service that provides assignment help to students who need thesis, dissertation and essays. He used SMS marketing effectively to reach college and university students. His main idea behind using SMS over MMS was simple.

He says, ‘’when it’s peak season, we want to reach maximum possible students and cost is certainly a big factor when planning that. If SMS is written effectively and addresses what the audience wants, I see no point in someone needing more space to convey the intended message. As they say, crisper, the better.’’

Pricing of MMS and SMS

The cost of MMS and SMS also differs quite significantly due to the peculiarities of these messaging systems. Sending multimedia always takes up more kilobytes or megabytes; hence sending MMS will use more SMS credit or airtime.

Sending one MMS can use up to 3 SMS credits, which are quite costly. Some may argue that it is all worth it because of the efficacy of sending media and writing more content and choose it for marketing purposes.

Undoubtedly, MMS can be very efficient when considering it from that perspective but SMS can reach a wider audience. Sending SMS uses fewer credits, which means you can add more numbers to the list of recipients you have.

The pricing of SMS has affected the decisions of many businesses regarding their mobile marketing strategy. The majority of businesses have chosen to use SMS because of their affordability, it’s at your discretion if you choose to ride the wave or come with something unique. In this case, the uniqueness lies in the strategy you use and using MMS will definitely make you stand out.

MMS and SMS are sent using different protocols

The pricing of MMS and SMS is primarily affected by the delivery method that is involved in sending it to the recipient. SMS are transmitted using a more traditional method that involves passing through the base station to another and different switchers as well as servers.

While MMS is set using sophisticated communication methods that allow them to send media. The latter uses TCP/IP technology to encode and decode the message from the sender to the recipient.

That makes it easier for MMS to entail media files embedded in the message and has a significantly higher limit of characters. The many different factors that make MMS peculiar are due to this major difference in the delivery system.

That is why MMS will give the recipient an option to download the media entailed by the message. TCP/IP messaging works through the internet protocol, so in essence, the sender uploads the content and the recipient downloads it when receiving it.

Difference between SMS and MMS use in marketing

Since SMS and MMS have different formatting and are sent using different protocols, it is important to know the difference of these messaging systems from a marketing perspective.

The use of SMS has been widespread because of the open rates of these texts. It may be easy to ignore an email but not a message that constantly shows an unread notification. Emails can be used for different purposes in marketing, like reminding customers that you are still there when they are starting to grow cold.

They can also be used for location-based messaging as well as time-sensitive texts. MMS’ also have the same benefits but they tend to have more success than bland emails. Since you can enter more characters, the content you’ll write won’t be limited to only just a few words. Rather it will be more descriptive and informative.

Also, visual content sells the most because people like to rather watch, observe or listen than reading marketing material. In that way, MMS gets a higher engagement rate and can reach the hearts of more customers, which accomplishes the goals you have established for that marketing campaign.

MMS and SMS compatibility

If you would like your text message to reach a wider audience, you need to choose a messaging system carefully. In that case, it is worthy to note that MMS is not compatible with all devices that the target audience might be using.

MMS is far more suitable for smartphones and other digital devices like tablets and smartwatches, while other devices such as analogue cellphones don’t support this messaging system.

You need to fully understand the audience you are targeting to know which one will be most effective. If you find out by any chance that they are still hooked on old technology, try and align the marketing campaign to SMS.

If they are more digital and have smartphones, it might be beneficial to use MMS if it is appropriate for the business you are running. As outlined above, MMS uses a TCP/IP delivery method so sending this form of text message to a device that doesn’t support internet protocols will be ineffective.

SMS’ are effective for all types of devices because they use cell towers instead, which are used by both analogue cellphones and smartphones.

The goal is to reach the targeted audience effectively and sending incompatible texts won’t do you any good. That makes it important to study analytical data to reach the perfect decision and ensure that the content you create meaningfully reaches the audience.

The bottom line

MMS provides more features, like sending multimedia and longer texts. Although that is true, SMS is more affordable and very concise. It is up to your discretion to choose which one you will use according to the needs of the business you are running.

Remember, you don’t have to pay for all the extra features if you don’t really need them. If you save costs, you could reach more people. That would make you stand a chance to increase the Return on Investment you will get from this mobile marketing technique that has been used by many businesses.

Author Bio:

Scott Mathews is a freelance writer who currently works at  Assignment help. His strong areas include science and technology, information technology and mathematics. In his free time, he spends time with his family and watches baseball NBA and MLB.

Scott Mathews
2020-03-06 00:00:00 UTC