In the world of text message marketing, there is now a growing debate on whether to use SMS vs. MMS for marketing purposes. Although both present unique advantages and can work well together, many still want to know which one is better: SMS or MMS?

Here at Gleantap, we have experience working with both standard short messaging services and multimedia messaging services. What we have discovered is that the question over SMS vs. MMS is irrelevant. Instead, marketers should be using both services to get the most out of their business text messaging campaigns.

In this article, we are going to look at a few different situations that mobile marketers may encounter that require either an SMS message or MMS. We will then walk you through which service you should use for each situation so that you are better prepared to run your next campaign. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

sms vs. mms

When you have a lot to say

The first scenario that we will look at is when you want to reach your customers with a tailored, branded message quickly, but you have a lot to say. This could be for many different reasons, including explaining a process or giving a run-down of a recent product alteration.

While SMS marketing only allows for 160 characters, MMS can actually go up to 500 including images and videos. Although we recommend keeping text blasts short, sometimes 160 character isn’t enough to say everything you want to.

In this situation, the winner of SMS vs. MMS is MMS marketing.

When you want a customer to take action

Part of the reason why SMS and MMS have become so popular in recent years is the immediacy of the platforms. Since most consumers today keep their phones within an arm’s reach at almost all times, mobile marketing professionals can deliver messages to their audience faster than ever.

Sometimes this immediacy means that you can send a message to customers just before you want them to complete an action. Although a good SMS marketing best practice is to always include a call-to-action, we are specifically talking about a call-to-action with a short time-scale.

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In this scenario, the winner of SMS vs. MMS is SMS marketing. Keep your message short, build value, and get to the point. Your customers expect SMS to be efficient, so make sure that it is.  

When highlighting a product or service

There is another situation that mobile marketers find themselves coming across when running text messaging campaigns is that of trying to highlight a product or service. This can be incredibly effective in getting your audience excited about a recent addition to your offerings or simply letting them know about a service you provide they may not already know about.

This sort of message is all about engaging the customer and really wow-ing them with your product. Although you can go either way here, MMS messages provide the ability to entice your audience visually. Not that you can’t create SMS messages that are visually appealing, but you can take things to the next level by attaching an image or video displaying the product or service.

In this battle between SMS vs. MMS, we recommend MMS marketing for its versatility.

When you are running support

Another customer retention strategy that we recommend when running an SMS or MMS marketing campaign is to run support through texting. The speed and efficiency of texting for this purpose helps to keep your customers engaged and show that you care about any issues they are facing.

Since the key aspect of running support through text messages is the quickness of response and ability to get to the heart of the issue, SMS marketing is a better choice here. When most support can be done through simple text-only messages, adding images and videos would only aid in distracting the customer, not helping them.

When you want to grab your audience’s attention

Sometimes marketers are unable to get the attention of their audience in the way that they hope with email marketing or other traditional means. In this case, they often turn to mass text marketing, which boasts a 98% open rate, almost guaranteeing customers will see what they are saying.

In these scenarios we must again measure SMS vs. MMS. Although SMS can get to the point of the message faster than MMS, MMS can grab the attention of the user with either an image or video. This extra bit of flash might be exactly what your customers are looking for.

Read also: 4 secrets to running a successful SMS advertising campaign. 

For this match-up of SMS vs. MMS, both options will work, but MMS marketing is the best for capturing the attention of your audience. MMS also allows you to write a subject line for your message, so make sure that you craft an enticing subject to increase that click-through rate!

When you are collecting feedback

Along with support, collecting customer feedback is another recent marketing revelation in the world of mass text messaging. Analyzing user engagement metrics has becoming increasingly more valuable for brands, so finding efficient means of collecting data is vital. And yet, the question again rises: do you use SMS or MMS for this task?

While some brands have seen success with using SMS short codes, they don’t work as well for an in-depth feedback survey. On the other hand, sending an MMS with a long survey attached doesn’t fit well with the speed and efficiency of the platform. This can make it difficult to decide between SMS vs. MMS for this situation.

We recommend using SMS marketing for short surveys and MMS for an in-depth follow up should your audience be receptive to the first messages. So, in short, use SMS first and if it works, then move on to MMS.

mms marketing

When you are sending reminders

The final case we will look at when deciding when to use SMS vs. MMS marketing is a common text messaging technique: sending reminders. These automated messages can be life-savers for customers prone to forget their scheduled activities.

Although these are primarily done with SMS, there are times when MMS is applicable. For instance, if you need customers to fill out a form before they show up to their appointment, you could send it to them directly with a reminder. Not only does this cut down on time spent at the time of the meeting, but customers will know what information they need available.

However, as a general rule when sending reminders, SMS marketing is the better choice. It’s short, to the point, and most reminders should not be longer than 160 characters anyway.

Conclusion

We hope that this exploration of SMS vs. MMS has been insightful for you and that it has better prepared you for your next SMS or MMS campaign. Like any mobile marketing tool, the trick is not only knowing how to use it, but when to do so as well.