What’s the Difference Between SMS vs MMS?

What’s the Difference Between SMS vs MMS?

Confused by all the marketing acronyms that abound these days? You might be wondering “What does SMS and MMS mean?” Knowing what they are and how they differ isn’t hard once you start comparing these two different messaging options. Plus, it’s important to know. Understanding the breakdown of SMS vs MMS will give you more insight into how to best connect with your customers and which mass text messaging service is best for your business.

What is SMS?

First, let’s break down the acronyms. SMS is an abbreviation for Short Message Service. In layman’s terms: it’s a text message. However, while you might refer to a variety of different message types as simply a “text” in your daily life, the difference is that an SMS message contains only text (no pictures or videos) and is limited to 160 characters.

What is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. You can think of it as an enhancement to the standard SMS message. You’ve probably guessed it by now, but the main difference between SMS and MMS is that you can send, multimedia in your messages. This includes media such as videos, pictures, audio clips and GIFs and more. Additionally, MMS allows for up to 1600 characters of text in your message which is a lot more than a standard SMS.

Here is a side by side comparison of an SMS message and an MMS message to give you a visual on how the two different options look.

 

SMS vs MMS

 

The Pros and Cons of SMS & MMS

While both SMS and MMS are excellent ways to engage your customers, there are definite pros and cons to each of them. In some cases, one may be better or more effective than another depending on the use case or your intended result.

Pros of SMS

  • SMS messages are short, sweet and to the point. Because of the 160 character limit, they don’t require a lot of mental energy from the end user to understand what is being communicated.
  • It’s cheaper to send SMS messages than it it MMS.
  • Most carriers in the U.S. offer plans with unlimited texting, so there is likely no cost to your subscribers.

Cons of SMS

  • You can’t send videos, photos, or sometimes even emojis in a traditional SMS message. If you want to offer your customers something that is more attention grabbing, MMS may be the way to go.
  • As stated earlier, SMS has a character limit of 160 characters which can be limiting if your use case requires you to send longer messages.

Pros of  MMS

  • MMS messages are typically more eye-catching as people tend to gravitate towards messages in their inbox that include a picture or video.
  • If you need to send large amounts of content in each message you can do that by using MMS as, again, the character limit is 1600.

Cons of MMS

  • MMS messages cost more to send. If you’re like most businesses who are budget conscious, you may want to limit how often you are sending MMS messages.
  • Not all people can receive MMS messages. While most people have smartphones these days, not all do and some may not have MMS enabled on their cellular plan.
  • You may not be a designer which means you’ll need to hire someone to put together the graphics or videos that you would send which will inevitably cost you as well.

 

SMS vs MMS Pricing

MMS messages will always cost more no matter what SMS marketing service you’re using. This is because it requires the carriers to send a lot more data than a standard SMS message. While pricing can vary from service to service, MMS marketing with SlickText will use 2 to 3 times the number of text messages that a single text would use. This will vary depending on the plan that you have with us.

For example, if you are on a plan that gives you 1,000 text messages per month and you have 200 people on your text messaging list, an SMS message to your entire list would use 200 of that 1,000 messages.

If you were to send an MMS message to that same list, it would use 400 to 600 messages, again, depending on the plan that you have with us.

You might ask yourself, “Is MMS really worth the additional cost”? Consider this…

MMS marketing campaigns, on average, boast 15% to 20% higher engagement levels than traditional SMS messages.Click To Tweet They are also almost 10 times more likely to be shared with friends or through other social media channels. At the end of the day, it still comes back to your use case and what makes sense on a case by case basis.

 

SMS vs MMS: Which should you choose?

Choosing between SMS and MMS requires you to understand what your end users are more likely to engage with and what your use case is. Do you need to communicate a quick message and have people follow a link? If so, SMS may be the right choice. If you’re looking to really grab their attention, can afford the additional cost, and need to show them something visually, MMS is the way to go.

Ultimately, what’s most important is measuring your results and making adjustments to fine-tune your strategy and get the best ROI possible. Most SlickText users will send a mix of SMS and MMS message to balance their costs and engagement.

SlickText is a trusted leader in the SMS marketing and MMS marketing space and service over 40,000 brands in North America. Whether you’re looking to use SMS or MMS for marketing or simple mass text message communications, we have a service that is easy to use, affordable and one that we’d love to teach you more about.

If you’re exploring different messaging solutions and want to speak to a real person about your options, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to connect.

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Whether you have some questions, are eager to learn more, or want to take the next steps, we are here for you. Please let us know how we can help and we'll make you a priority!




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