It's no surprise that the trend towards texting is exploding and is continuing to be an increasingly powerful tool for companies to connect with their contacts instantly. Researchers anticipate that business text messaging and mobile usage is a force that's here to stay and not just a trend that will pass by. In fact, the next generation of text messaging is already upon us; it's called MMS messaging. But what's the difference?
WHAT IS SMS MESSAGING?
SMS is an acronym for "Short Message Service" and is the oldest, most widespread, and frequently used texting technology that is supported by every single mobile network and device today. In the U.S. alone, over 6 billion SMS messages are sent daily. These messages are limited to 160 alphanumeric characters per message (That's just a fancy word for both letters and numbers).
WHAT IS MMS MESSAGING?
MMS is an acronym for "Multimedia Message Service" and is most popularly used to send pictures or images. In the U.S. alone, annual MMS traffic has increased from 57 billion to 96 billion messages. Unlike SMS, MMS messages do not have a standard length.
Call-Em-All customers can send a .PNG or .JPG/.JPEG file up to 5 MB. This new feature is available in both "Create Broadcast" and in "Conversations" for our Pay-As-You-Go customers. MMS is not currently available for our monthly plans, more on that later. Common use cases include:
- Upcoming Event Posters
- Food Menus
- Maps w/ Directions
- Company Logos
- Event Recap Pictures
- Screenshots of PDF's
*We DO NOT allow sales, marketing, political, or promotional material. Explicit imagery is NEVER tolerated (nudity, partial nudity, cursing, etc.). Responsible Use Policy.
SMS vs. MMS: WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
When deciding between SMS versus MMS, pinpoint your messaging goals and objectives. Are you interested in sending text-only or visual messages? Do your contacts engage and respond better with simple text messages or colorful imagery? Does the character count limit your content and communication goals? These are all things to consider when choosing between SMS and MMS messaging.
WHAT ABOUT PRICING?
In the right use case, MMS is much more engaging to contacts than a plain text message. You might be wondering, "Does MMS cost more"? Simply put, yes - it involves the transmission of more data and mobile carriers typically charge 6X or more per MMS message than they do for an SMS message.
- All outbound SMS messages are 1 credit per text segment (160 characters) per phone number
- Text segments that include an image (MMS) will be charged one additional credit per phone number.
- For example, if your text broadcast includes the maximum of four segments and includes an image (MMS), you will be charged 5 credits per phone number. At this time, Cricket Wireless users cannot receive text messages containing images (MMS).
- Inbound messages are always free!
- All outbound SMS messages are included with your monthly plan
- Outbound MMS is not available due to the high cost. Customers can switch to a Pay-As-You-Go account, or create a separate Pay-As-You-Go account just for MMS.
- Inbound messages are always free!
WHEN TO USE SMS MESSAGING VS MMS MESSAGING
Just like consumers, businesses have the option to communicate with people via SMS and MMS messaging. But both are used for very different reasons, and if you get one mixed up with the other you could be jeopardizing your text messaging campaign and have a bunch of confused customers on your hands. SMS messaging and MMS messaging may be similar, but they're not interchangeable.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SMS AND MMS
Primarily, SMS and MMS differ from each other in a few main ways. On the one hand, SMS messaging only supports text and links while MMS messaging supports rich media such as images, GIFs and video. Another difference is that SMS messaging limits texts to just 160 characters while MMS messaging can include up to 500 KB of data (1,600 words) and up to 30 seconds of audio or video.
Generally, SMS messaging is cheaper to send than the equivalent in MMS messaging, though the final cost does depend on your messaging provider.
WHAT IS BETTER: SMS OR MMS MESSAGING?
While both SMS and MMS messaging allow you to reach your customers at any time whether you're providing customer service or reaching out with the details on your newest promotion, there are very different uses for each of the protocols. That means which one you go with depends on the objectives of your campaign and what you're trying to send.
For example, if you have a smaller budget, you'll want to stick with SMS messaging. They're cheaper to send, meaning that it scales better than MMS messaging so that you can save more on those delivery costs. Informational messages are also better sent via SMS because the text should be all you need, though if you have a promotional offer it may be better to consider an MMS message. MMS messages are also better for lengthy messages as you won't be able to send more than 160 characters in an SMS.
WHEN TO USE SMS MESSAGING?
If you have an urgent need to send a sentence or two of information, you'll probably do better with an SMS. SMS messages have a 98 percent open rate, and any cell phone can receive an SMS. Things such as appointment confirmations, reminders and adjustments are also ideal candidates for SMS messaging, as are system alerts and delivery tracking.
Basically, if you're dealing with an existing customer and you just need to provide a quick bit of information, an SMS is your best bet.
WHEN TO USE MMS MESSAGING?
Since MMS messaging allows you to enhance your messages with rich media and other elements, you'll have more opportunities to impress with MMS. Whether it's with flashy graphics, a branded logo or even intricate artwork, MMS messaging goes a lot farther than SMS. Not only do you have the ability to embed links and other rich media such as videos and GIFs, but you can even customize the look of the message with certain colors and accents that you could never do with the lowly SMS protocol.
Everything from animated thank-you cards and holiday messages to sharing business card information and various promotions and coupons are all possible with MMS. Better yet, you can make your coupons scannable directly from a customer's device by including a QR code right in the MMS message itself so that there's nothing to print out or bring when they want to redeem the offer. And if you want to share a helpful instructional video or an audio clip, MMS can do that, too.