What is MMS? Everything You Must Know About Multimedia Messaging

In today’s messaging market with titans like WhatsApp, Snapchat, and FB Messenger, one can often forget about SMS and MMS. While both of these are older technologies, they are still just as powerful now as they were when they were released. If you aren’t familiar, you might be thinking “What is MMS?” which stands for multimedia messaging service.

In this article, we are going to unpack MMS as a customer retention marketing solution. While it is less known than SMS marketing, stats show that it is no less powerful. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

What is MMS?

Multimedia messaging services have been around since 1984 and the service simply allows cellphone and smartphone users to send multi-media messages. The service is based on SMS and is often associate with this similar messaging platform. All you need is a text messaging plan and you are ready to go.

MMS has recently come back into the zeitgeist as user engagement metrics show that it shares SMS marketing’s 98% open rate, with some brands claiming that MMS is even higher.

MMS Marketing

With SMS marketing continuing to grow as a powerful engagement tool, marketers are looking for ways to stand out in a quickly crowding market. MMS marketing offers businesses the opportunity to send multimedia messages that might have a better chance of capturing the customer’s attention than a simple SMS message.

Not only that, but MMS is a two-way street. Brands can send their users pictures, videos, and even gifs to entice them to make a purchase or retain their services. But marketers can also request images and videos from their audience if they are running a contest or fielding customer requests.

Learn more about Text Message Marketing

Like any marketing tool, you will get out of it what you put into it. In order to help you get the most out of an MMS marketing campaign should you run one, let’s take a look at some best practices.

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MMS Marketing Best Practices

When running an MMS marketing campaign, there are a few things you will want to avoid and other best practices that will simply help you make the most out of this customer interaction.

(If you haven’t, we have already written an article on best practices for business text messaging. We recommend reading this as well, since all of the same best practices apply here. These best practices are specific to MMS.)

  • MMS images should be vertical or portrait in layout, as most mobile devices today are vertically aligned.
  • Image files should be in .JPG format and that the file size is below 500Kb.
  • MMS image should be 640 pixels wide X 1,138 pixels high, with an aspect ratio of 9:16.
  • While SMS can only be 160 characters, MMS can go up to 500 including images and subject line. You can do more with MMS, but that doesn’t mean you always should.

As long as you can stick to these best practices, your MMS campaign should begin on the right foot.

MMS Marketing

MMS Subject Lines

Another unique feature of MMS compared to SMS is that MMS allows marketers to include a subject line. Much like email marketing, these subject lines should catch the user’s attention and entice them to read further.

However, since MMS is more immediate than email marketing, you shouldn’t beat around the bush with your customers. Get to the point and get to the value with your messages as soon as possible, your customers will appreciate it.

Misconceptions about MMS

Along with these best practices, we also wanted to quickly address some misconceptions that consumers sometimes have about MMS marketing. It is our hope that we will be able to squash these misconceptions and that you will be able to take advantage of this powerful service.

Misconception #1: “MMS is more expensive than SMS and other solutions.”

This misconception comes from the fact that MMS messages used to be more expensive to send on most networks. However, this has not been the case since around 2007, when carriers began simply bundling the two together.

This misconception relates to MMS marketing as well, as companies believe it will cost them more to run a campaign using multimedia messages instead of SMS. This is also untrue. While you may need additional resources to create multimedia for the messages, the act of sending a MMS vs. SMS is the same.

Misconception #2: “Mobile phones don’t support MMS video.”

In 2017, nearly every mobile phone can process every form of MMS messaging, including video. Sending your users videos showing how to use your product or best practices for your service can be very valuable to your customer retention. Don’t let this misconception prevent you from making a difference with MMS marketing.

Misconception #3: “Customers need a smartphone/data plan to receive MMS messages.”

While viewing an MMS message on a smartphone likely makes the multimedia look better, having a smart phone is not a requirement for customers to receive MMS. The same goes for the misconception that you need a data plan or internet access to receive MMS.

MMS Messaging

There are also a few challenges that restrict business use cases of MMS marketing, such as:

  • MMS messaging is bandwidth-dependent: According to one recent study carried out in France, a good amount of smartphone users don’t send MMS messages due to cost constraints.
  • Differences in device compatibility: This educational resource from IDC emphasizes that it depends on devices whether they would support MMS or not. While most smartphones today support Multimedia, not many people prefer to use this form of marketing.
  • Bulk messages can overload servers: Multimedia messages file size is larger than SMS, which requires less bandwidth. IDC elaborates that it can be costly to send the same multimedia message to the same recipient list.
  • The emergence of WhatsApp: With WhatsApp, the ease of sending video messages has become easier. People across the world prefer sending messages via WhatsApp or any messaging app. Businesses too prefer using cloud-based apps that do not need a larger bandwidth.

Final thought

This is the beauty of MMS marketing, both the reach of SMS with the creative potential of email marketing. We hope that this article will be beneficial for when you plan your next SMS and MMS marketing campaign.

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