What is MMS?

What is MMS?

Ever received or sent a text with an attached photo, video, song, meme or GIF? Release the confetti! You’ve received a MMS.

Many marketers overlook the MMS, which is short for Multimedia Messaging Service. And that’s a shame because MMS has an interesting history and an exciting future.

Let’s get acquainted with SMS’ funner sibling. And more importantly, how MMS is an easy and effective marketing tool for your businesses.

What is MMS messaging?

To begin, did you know that providers once thought MMS was a money-losing venture with questionable utility? Well, here’s a 15-second rundown on how they were so wonderfully wrong.

The story starts with the SMS, which stands for Short Message Service. The text-only communication method was developed in the 1980s by a team of German and French engineers, and in 1992 the first SMS was sent with two festive words: ‘Merry Christmas.’

All it needed was a mobile device and a mobile network connection. And so, the 140 to 160-character SMS commercially took off around the world and is still in wide circulation today.

Then came the MMS, built using the same technology as the SMS, but with the added ability for users to share multimedia alongside text.

In 2001, Japanese mobile phone operator J-Phone released a picture messaging service called ‘Sha-Mail,’ but this early form of MMS had many issues in the context of a generation that lacked MMS-compatible devices. Stuff like undelivered texts, wrong formats, and missing content was common for senders and recipients. By the time Vodaphone Live! launched in 2002, Sha-Mail became obsolete, and never upgraded to 3G.

As MMS-compatible smartphones became regular household items, the issues of MMS dwindled dramatically. This led to an increase in popularity and now, MMS is employed by many companies for its simplicity and effectiveness (we’ll cover its nifty features in a bit).

So where are we at now? In the first quarter of 2021, the retail revenues generated by SMS and MMS messages in the United Kingdom (UK) amounted to GBP 107 million.

With a 98% open rate for SMS and a click rate of 11% for MMS, there’s no doubt it’s worth adding this communication service to your marketing toolkit.

What is MMS messaging compared to SMS?

An MMS typically contains these three components in order:

  1. Subject title
  2. Creative (MP3, MP4/MPEG4, PNG, JPG, JPEG, GIF)
  3. Message copy

Below is a table showing the differences between MMS and SMS in texting.

Subject TitleNot Available Up to 20 characters
Message Copy Up to 612 Characters (4 concatenated SMS)Up to 1,000 Characters (No concatenation)
Custom Sender ID AvailableAvailable
2 Way SMS AvailableAvailable
Keywords AvailableNot Available
Unicode Characters AvailableAvailable
Website Links AvailableAvailable
Unique Link Tracking AvailableAvailable
Multimedia Files Not AvailableMP3, MP4/MPEG4, PNG, JPG, JPEG, GIF
Pricing Based on # of messagesBased on # of messages

What is MMS good for?

There are two big benefits of using MMS.

Firstly, SMS is great for concise communication like alerts and appointment reminders, but MMS takes your brand beyond words. When the MMS is visually appealing, your customers feel a stronger emotional connection to your brand, which leads to higher engagement.

If Starbucks tells you ‘our new Summer Panna Cotta Latte is here,’ wouldn’t you be more enticed to try in-store with their coupon code if there’s a decadent, creamy, berry-filled image alongside it? Yum.

Secondly, SMS has a 98% open rate, and MMS has an 11% click rate. The rates are high because these messages are immediate and personal, and unlike email and social media, your customers don’t need an internet connection or an app to receive them.

Getting started with MMS

Burst SMS can help you send MMS campaigns. If your campaigns have over 10,000 recipients, we provide discounts too.

We also have MMS marketing experts to do most of the work for you. We’ll need a creative from you, but if you need help with that too, we can provide a quote for a custom design.

To DIY, read our tips on designing the perfect MMS, including subject lines, eye-catching visuals, and the right dimensions. See our fun MMS ideas too, from product launches to saying ‘thank you’ to your most loyal customers.

The best part? With Burst SMS, you can set up and send MMS campaigns online right from your desktop.

Connect with your customers

It’s fast. It pops. It’s effective. Don’t miss out on using MMS to get through to your customers.

Simple yet striking, MMS leads to higher customer engagement. Start with a 14-day trial. No credit card, no obligations