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Smartphones aren't just simple gadgets anymore, but are rather a necessity of modern life. The first thing many people look at in the morning is their phone. People use their phones to pay utility bills, shop, and just stay in touch. And now, people can do it all with the touch of a button.
But smartphones aren't just useful for individuals. Instead, they increasingly serve as a marketing platform for businesses. Marketers use both SMS and MMS to promote their brand and grow their customer base. While WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and other "Over-the-Top" (OTT) devices are becoming popular, SMS and MMS are still the most popular form of messaging.
The numbers back up our claims: In 2018 alone, over 2 trillion SMS and MMS messages were exchanged, which is the equivalent of 5.5 billion texts per day and over 63,000 texts per second. There's now over 5 billion unique mobile users globally, and over 270 million people are actively using their smartphone at any given time.
Keep reading to learn more about MMS messages and how to leverage this powerful marketing tool for your business.
MMS: Multimedia Messaging Service
Short Message Service, commonly abbreviated as SMS, is one of the oldest texting technologies. The first SMS was sent in December of 1992, when an engineer sent "Merry Christmas" from his computer to the phone of a close friend, who happened to be the director of Vodaphone.
We all send and receive text messages over cellular networks via SMS. The Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is an innovative extension on the core SMS messaging protocol. We don't know what the first MMS message said, but it's generally accepted that the first MMS-capable cell phone was the Sony Ericsson T68i, which debuted around 2002. However, MMS-capable phones didn't hit North American markets until 2004 and 2005.
MMS allows you to send a variety of media, such as images, .gifs, and videos (up to 40 seconds) via text message. MMS enables you to send audio files, clips, and slide shows of multiple images. Today, the market size of the MMS industry is in billions.
However, as great as MMS is, there are some limitations. You do need a data package to send and receive multimedia messages from one phone to another. And while there is no technical character limit for an MMS messages, reliable carriers can only handle up to 500 KB of data. So you can't send multiple data-heavy media in one message.
SMS vs. MMS: The Key Differences
In more simply terms, SMS is a messaging protocol that enables consumers and businesses to send and receive plain text-based messages. MMS, on the other hand, allows users to include multimedia content in the body of the text. For example, when you text about your new apartment, that's an SMS; but when you send a video of the open concept living room, that's MMS. But content isn't the only difference between SMS and MMS.
MMS Has Limited Accessibility
Every cellular device comes equipped with SMS, i.e., sending and receiving plain texts. You don't need to download any application to send messages via a short messaging service.
Compared to SMS, multimedia messages don't offer universal accessibility. The recipient must have an MMS-enabled phone to accept multimedia content; otherwise, the end-user receives a plain text. Further, the sender and receiver both need a data connection to communicate via MMS.
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MMS Allows Exchanging Media-Enriched Messages
Perhaps the most striking difference between an SMS and MMS is the content, as we've already discussed. While SMS is one of the quickest channels of communication, it only supports plain texts or links to multimedia content. MMS gives you the liberty to embed multimedia content within the body of your message. If your mobile phone has MMS facility you can exchange images, audios, videos, .gifs, and more.
MMS Has No Character Limit
The standard character length of a message sent via a short service messaging protocol is 160 characters. When the character count reaches the limit, the message splits into segments and sends them as separate messages. Unlike SMS, you do not have a standard character limit in MMS.
Instead, the mobile configuration and the carrier of the sender and receivers' MMS protocol determine the amount and size of the multimedia content the parties can exchange.
MMS: A Branding Tool for Your Business
In today's world, SMS is one of the most powerful marketing tools that businesses can use to attract customers. Similar to SMS, companies also incorporate MMS in their marketing strategies. Both messaging protocols bring unique advantages to the table.
The open rate for SMS messages is a whopping 98%, which is higher than all other marketing channels. And as if that weren't impressive enough, 90% of text messages are read within three minutes.
Studies show that people are more likely to retain information longer if the information is accompanied with visuals. Therefore, multimedia content makes your marketing message more effective.
At present, many companies are using MMS to their advantage. For instance, brands disseminate promotional content, such as videos, via MMS. The use of images, .gifs, and other media content makes a message more impactful. Research also shows that consumers are more likely to buy a product or service after watching a promotional video.
Businesses use multimedia messaging services to run marketing campaigns. In case you don't know, MMS marketing campaigns have higher opt-in rates than any other type of marketing campaign. Additionally, MMS messages are eight times more likely to be shared across social media platforms.
You can also incorporate MMS in your marketing strategy for other purposes, such as:
- Sending event invites
- Announcing of new products
- General marketing campaigns, such as sending promotional videos
- Announcing an upcoming sale or discount offer
Make sure the promotional content is in compliance with the texting guidelines enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Pictures, images, and graphics make your content more engaging. It is more likely to impress a customer and make them want to know more about your product or service.