Guide: How to design the perfect MMS

Guide: How to design the perfect MMS

An MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is a visual version of an SMS, and there are many reasons why businesses love using them.

A typical MMS marketing campaign has a:

  1. Subject Line (20 characters)
  2. Message text (1,000 characters)
  3. Multimedia creative (MP3, MP4/MPEG4, PNG, JPG, JPEG, or GIF under 450 KB)
  4. Call-to-action
  5. Website link
  6. Unsubscribe option

Before we get started, you may want to familiarise yourself with the differences between MMS and SMS.

In some cases, SMS marketing might be better for what you’re trying to accomplish. However, if you’re looking for MMS marketing campaign tips, then this guide is for you. Let’s get started.

1) Create a strong subject line

First things, first.

The subject line is one of the first things that your recipients will see, and that’s why it’s one of the most important details to get right. It appears in bold.

It has a limit of 20 characters, so we recommend that you use a strong call-to-action, dangle a promotion, or feed the curiosity gap. The goal is to hook them in.

Here are some successful subject line examples:

  • Win a free trip! (18 characters)
  • 30% off Winter Sale (18 characters)
  • Buy 1, Get 1 Free (16 characters)
  • Don’t miss this! (16 characters)
  • It’s Happy Hour! (19 characters)
  • Exclusive VIP Invite (20 characters)
  • You’re invited! (15 characters)
  • Here’s your gift (16 characters)

2) Craft a strong message

MMS message text has a 1,000 character limit.

Even with so much flexibility, we recommend that you stay under 320 characters. Long copy reduces the visibility of your multimedia file. Your recipients also won’t want to read a wall of text.

Many SMS campaigns are under the 160 character limit and are very effective. This shows us how important brevity is when it comes to messaging.

Here’s what you should include in the message:

  • A strong offer: MMS marketing is immediate. It’s perceived as a more flashy version of an SMS, which means you should offer a much larger incentive. A larger 30%+ discount available for a limited time will be more effective than a lower discount (25% and below).
  • An expiration (if applicable): Try adding a promo code cap or a 24-hour expiry. This increases the level of urgency.
  • A unique link to a website (if applicable): We offer tracked links to report click-through rates and to segment those who clicked. Make sure you take them to a mobile-optimised landing page.
  • An opt-out mechanism (mandatory): All MMS marketing services allow you to set a custom URL opt-out. This gives you the opportunity to prevent an opt-out by providing an additional incentive or to get more feedback on why your customer is unsubscribing.
Tip: You can also shorten your body copy by placing content directly into your multimedia file.

Sample MMS Copy * 240 characters

3) Add a multimedia creative

We support a range of file types: MP3, MP4/MPEG4, PNG, JPG, JPEG, or GIF, meaning that you can send audio files, videos, images, and animated GIFs.

What you send depends on the number of creative resources you have and what you’re trying to accomplish. Keep in mind that your file must be under 450 KB.


Videos are a great way to tell a story and communicate a lot of information in a few short seconds.

The video formats we support are MP4 and MPEG4. Alternatively, you can send an animated GIF in place of a video.

Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs are similar to videos but don’t have sound.

Though GIFs don’t nearly have the same quality and expressiveness as a video, some may choose to send a GIF because of its auto-looping feature.

GIFs capture attention better than images but take longer to create and are bigger in size.


Images are the bread and butter of MMS.

If time and quality is important, we recommend that you send a regular image rather than a video or animated GIF.

Let’s look at an example of an image and animated GIF to help you decide:

Dimensions: 640x1138px
Dimensions: 480x720px

4) Design a creative (image / GIFs)

If you’re looking for graphic design tips for an image or animated GIF, read on.

First, you need to choose the right dimensions:

We recommend:

  • 480px by 480px
  • 640px by 640px

Other sizes you can experiment with:

  • 480 x 640 px
  • 480 x 720 px
  • 640px by 1138px
  • 1080px by 1920px

In preview mode, tall creatives appear smaller than its square counterpart because of the width and height ratio of the messaging apps, so make the important text large for legibility. Different devices like iOS and Android changes how your MMS appears too.

Design your masterpiece: Now that you have a file dimension and size in mind, let’s look at what makes a great design. In some cases, an image without text will suffice, but if you plan to add text or to create your own graphic, follow the rules below.

Hierarchy: Hierarchy can help you determine what your customers should be looking at in your creative first, second and everything following.

Since we read from top to bottom, your most important elements should generally be at the top.

In this example, we have 3 main elements:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Graphic

Your eyes should naturally be drawn to the title, then the graphic, and then the description. For others, they might be drawn to the graphic, then the title, and then the description. This is perfectly normal.

Dimensions: 640x1138px

The goal is to ensure that your eyes aren’t drawn to several different elements or directions at the same time. If you don’t feel confused about what to look at first, then you’ve created a strong hierarchy.

Tip: Squint and look at your design. Your eyes will be pulled to the element with the most weight.

White space: This is the space between the text, graphics, and imagery in your design. It provides visual breathing room for your eyes and helps you process the elements of your design quickly and efficiently. It goes hand in hand with hierarchy.

The example above has plenty of white space between the text and graphics.

Fonts: Choose fonts that are easy to read, especially when the creative appears on a small screen.

Script and italic fonts are the hardest to read and shouldn’t be used for paragraph copy, but can be great for big titles and headlines.

For most intents and purposes, a sans-serif or serif font is the best bet. Check out Google Fonts for a wide variety of copy-friendly fonts; it’s free.

Dimensions: 640x640px

In this example, a script font is used for the title, and a sans-serif font is used for the rest. If the fonts were reversed, the additional details on the bottom right corner would be frustrating if not impossible to read.

Colour: A nicely coloured creative grabs attention, and sparks emotional reactions.

For example:

  • Blue - trusting, dependable, and strong
  • Red - exciting, bold, and youthful
  • Yellow - optimistic, clear, and warm

Depending on the age and gender of your customers, they may prefer certain colours over others. Red is used to express a party atmosphere and to attract a younger audience in this example.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out How to Choose Your Brand’s Colours.

5) Optimise your creative

If your completed design is a bit bigger than you expected, here are some tips to help you reduce its size.


  • Remove gradients or reduce the number of colours in your design
  • Experiment with your .jpg’s image quality. Try reducing it from 100 to 60, which is still considered high quality
  • Experiment with different size dimensions. For example, change your 640px by 1138px graphic to 480px by 480px

Videos and GIFs:

  • Lower your frames per second. The animation won’t be as smooth, but there are lower data stored per second, reducing your file size.
  • Experiment with the number of colours. Lowering it will reduce the size, but the quality will be affected.
  • Simplify the animation by reducing the amount of moving objects and colour changes.
For GIF optimisation, check out our new article: 7 Tips to optimise GIFs for MMS marketing campaigns

6) Test your MMS

Send your MMS to both an Android and iOS device and check if:

  • The multimedia creative is displaying correctly with legible text
  • The URL links to the correct website or landing page (if applicable)
  • There are no spelling and grammar mistakes
Ready to send an MMS campaign or learn more? Get in touch with us.