What Is the Difference Between SMS and MMS?

Aug 11, 2022

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What’s the Difference Between SMS and MMS Marketing?

The ways businesses communicate with consumers are changing. Text message marketing has become mainstream, and it’s about more than merely saying a friendly hello to your customers. Text message marketing can help you engage customers and build brand loyalty when used correctly. Nearly 80% of consumers say they prefer receiving texts from businesses over emails and phone calls. In a world where people process images 60,000 times faster than words, is it any wonder? 

You’ve likely heard of SMS and MMS in reference to text messaging. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they’re not as different as you might think they are. SMS contains text only and is limited to 160 characters. MMS incorporates images, GIFs, and videos alongside text. SMS and MMS messaging are both sent over a cellular network, meaning you must have a provider to send or receive these types of messages. TapOnIt is here to break it down further, so you can better understand the differences when weighing their pros and cons. We want to help you make an informed decision about which method of mobile advertising is a better fit for your brand. 

What Is SMS Messaging?

SMS is an abbreviation for Short Message Service, which is a fancy way of saying text message. SMS is likely the type of messaging you’re most familiar with because it’s been around the longest. It was invented in the 1980s and is the messaging offered by a multitude of networks and devices (yes, even flip phones). SMS is as plain as it gets  (you can’t even express yourself with emojis), but it gets the job done. When you send an SMS with more than 160 characters, it gets sent in multiple messages. The recipient will still receive the entire message, but how annoying is it to receive a chain of broken messages? 

What Are the Best Uses for SMS Marketing?

Although several alternatives have surpassed SMS, it’s still the most widely used text messaging for businesses. In the United States alone, it’s estimated over six billion SMS messages are being sent and received daily. Why? SMS messaging is short, sweet, and cheaper to send than MMS. Most cellular plans now come with unlimited texting, so your subscribers won’t have to worry about the costs of receiving multiple texts. If you don’t overthink it, SMS messaging is a valuable tool. It allows brands to send messages to customers that are conversational and relevant to their needs. The best uses for SMS marketing include:

  • Customer Reminders – No-shows can hurt your business, especially if you run a spa or salon. Send customers reminders of upcoming appointments, special events, or product launches. SMS messaging is fast, easy, and automatic so that you can focus your attention elsewhere.
  • Billing Notifications – It can be a hassle calling customers with overdue payments. SMS messaging is ideal for sending payment reminders, purchase receipts, and notifications of sent or impending documents.
  • Sign-Up Forms – When you just need to provide a link to a website or sign-up form, a straightforward SMS message may suffice instead of one with multimedia.

What Is MMS Messaging? 

MMS is short for Multimedia Message Service. MMS messaging takes SMS messaging to the next level, allowing users to send and receive messages that include images, animated GIFs, videos, and audio files. MMS messages can contain up to 1,600 characters. Maximum file sizes that can be sent via MMS depend on your provider and the device receiving the message. Most carriers can support up to 500 KB of data, which is enough for short audio and video clips. MMS allows brands to create fun, colorful, and attention-grabbing content that is relatable and shareable. Find your brand’s voice and tell your unique story using all the emojis and images you desire with MMS!

What Are the Best Uses for MMS Marketing?

MMS messaging allows you to enhance your text message marketing with high-quality visual content. Including multimedia content in your texts can increase customer engagement with your brand by as much as 250%, making it worth the investment. The best uses for MMS marketing include:

  • Promotions – Many brands are creating SMS loyalty programs to offer loyal customers exclusive discounts and special offers. Thanks to MMS messaging, you can send scannable coupons (barcodes or QR codes) or personalized redemption codes to your customers. This also protects your business because it ensures people can’t redeem these offers multiple times.
  • Product Updates – Is your brand launching a new product or service? MMS messaging makes the perfect storytelling platform to capture your audience’s attention. One of the best ways to introduce a new product is to distribute video content. Consumers are far more likely to purchase a product after watching a video.
  • Animated Content – Sending MMS messaging with animated GIFs can make your messages feel more heartfelt than static SMS messages that feel a bit generic. People are more likely to open and share texts with photos or videos across social media, making MMS valuable for creating engaging content.

Should Your Business Use SMS or MMS?

While you can send the same message with either SMS or MMS, it will look vastly different. When compared side-by-side, MMS messaging appears more vibrant and visually appealing, thanks to the inclusion of images or videos. However, they both offer an excellent means of communication with customers. Regardless of which you choose to send, you must get consent from your subscribers in compliance with texting regulations enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA).

Depending on your content and intent, you may prefer one messaging type over the other. SMS tends to work best for informational messages, while MMS works best for creative promotional messages. SMS messages are perfect for short, conversational responses. For example, they’re commonly used for tracking an order, delivery status, or customer service. MMS messaging is more useful for selling products, sending engaging content to subscribers, and other types of marketing messages. Why just text someone about a product or piece of information when you can show them?

Trust TapOnIt to Help You Master SMS & MMS Marketing 

TapOnIt is proud to be a trusted leader in today’s evolving SMS and MMS marketing space. Many well-known brands have partnered with us thanks to our dynamic, user-friendly text message marketing platform. Take the mystique out of understanding the differences between SMS and MMS by speaking to our experts. Our innovative SMS and MMS marketing can include multiple images or an animated GIF per text, which is a step up from our competitors. We offer our clients simple sign-up options, robust reporting and analytics, dedicated Client Support, and more. Our team can help you create a custom Content Hub featuring in-depth tracking, sharing, and redemption capabilities not seen on other platforms. Take a look at our case studies to see how other brands have benefited from our marketing. 

Ready to Text Your Customers? Let’s Get Started Today!

Schedule a demo or send a question to the TapOnIt team to learn more about getting started with text message marketing. We’d be happy to explain the difference between SMS and MMS in greater detail!