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SMS vs MMS marketing: What should you choose?

Updated: Feb 29

Two mobile phones with SMS and MMS messages

When businesses need to communicate with their customers, the easiest way to get connected with them is by texting. In texting, there are two primary options: SMS and MMS. Many have the question that what is the best option to use in their marketing strategy.

Before answering that question, it is important to understand what these two words SMS and MMS mean.

This guide will explain the difference between SMS marketing and MMS marketing.

SMS and MMS are extremely like one another because we initially create a list of mobile phone numbers of customers who want to receive messages from us.

But when you start to send a mobile message you have two options, either send an SMS message or an MMS message.

What is SMS?

SMS stands for Short Messaging Service. SMS is a form of text message which can be used to communicate information via mobile phones. It has only plain text.

You are allowed to send 160 characters per single SMS message. If you send a text message longer than 160 characters, it will be broken into multiple messages and will be received by the recipient.

Within these 160 characters, you can include a link, a phone number, etc.

You don’t require mobile data, Wi-Fi, or an internet connection to send an SMS message. That’s why SMS is considered as one of the simplest ways to communicate with your clients.

What is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. This is an extended version of SMS. This is usually sent with media content attached to the message such as images, videos, audio files, GIFs, vCard, PDFs, etc.

In an MMS message, you will get more characters than in an SMS message. MMS messages do not have a standard character limit. Using Falkon SMS you can send up to 960 characters in a single MMS.

This could be a powerful marketing option for businesses like restaurants or retail because you can show off your products to your customers through mobile messages.

The major differences between SMS and MMS

Differences of SMS and MMS explained

SMS is low in cost when compared to MMS. So, you will be able to send more messages if you use SMS as it has a low cost per message.

If you have more information to send via your message the better option is MMS. SMS is limited to 160 characters. But in MMS you can send more characters.

If you want to send images via MMS, it will directly appear in the message itself. But in an SMS, you can send the image as a link, and it is also considered part of the character count.

Pros and cons of SMS

SMS Marketing Benefits

  • Since SMS has a character limit of 160, it is quick and efficient. It takes only a few seconds to reach the recipients.

  • No one needs to download an app or software, and anyone can use SMS without any added costs like data charges, internet fees, etc.

  • It is super easy and simple. Everyone knows how to open, read, and text a message.

  • Sending SMS messages is much cheaper than sending an MMS message.

  • Most carriers in the world offer unlimited texting plans for their customers. So, there is likely no cost for your subscribers as well.

  • SMS is reliable. Every message you send to your customers has a chance to be opened and read.

Disadvantages of SMS

  • You cannot attach media files to your message.

  • Because SMS has a limitation in its character count, your message should be short and simple - you do not have much room to convey your message to your subscribers.

Pros and cons of MMS

MMS Marketing Benefits

  • MMS messages are more appealing and eye-catching since MMS supports not only texts but also images, videos, audio, and GIFs in your message.

  • MMS messaging allows you to add more styles and formats to your text. Also, you can send much longer messages between phones. No need to worry about the character limit. You can now send MMS up to 960 characters with Falkon SMS.

  • You can also send PDFs to your customers using MMS.

Disadvantages of MMS

  • Sending and receiving MMS messages may be more expensive depending on your plan and the recipient's plan.

  • The effectiveness of MMS messages depends on the type of phone of the recipient. A promotional video sent through a message could be viewed with a smartphone but may be unable to watch using a feature phone.

  • You can only send or receive multimedia files if your mobile device is equipped with the MMS facility.

When to use SMS?

If you have a short and sweet message to say to your audience, we recommend you go with SMS. SMS is perfect when you are looking for a cost-effective way to reach a large audience quickly.

Here are some scenarios where you can use SMS for business communication:

  • Appointment confirmations and reminders

  • Bill payment reminders

  • Updates and alerts

  • Send business or product updates

  • Order confirmations

When to use MMS?

If you can send your promotional text message with an image, video, or GIFs you will be able to convert more customers into sales. Also, MMS messages have a higher Click Through Rate (CTR) when compared to SMS messages.

Therefore, try not to avoid sending MMS in the following scenarios:

  • When you need to show off your product

  • When sending wishes for a birthday or anniversary

  • Discounts, promotions, and coupons

  • Engage customers with animated multimedia messages

  • Offer instructional and promotional videos

  • Send discount codes

  • Invitations to sales and events

Should businesses use SMS or MMS?

Now let’s come to our main question. Which one is the best to use in business marketing between the two SMS vs MMS?

Choosing between SMS and MMS is not a one-time decision. In some cases, SMS is a better choice. While MMS is better suited for other purposes.

You don't always need to send MMS messages for marketing purposes. However, there may be times when you need to send images and videos. Because some studies prove that MMS campaigns have 15%-20% higher engagement rates than SMS campaigns. But this doesn't mean that MMS is always the best choice.

If you know that your target audience doesn't have smartphones and most of them have feature phones, an SMS campaign is a good option.

SMS is also a better way of sending messages for simple things like placing orders via text, text alerts, or reminders. There's no need to include images or videos with those simple messages.

The answer to the above question is that businesses should employ both SMS and MMS for effective text marketing. As we discussed earlier you can understand that both have distinct benefits. Therefore, use MMS when you have enough marketing budget, and SMS when you need simple, low-cost communication to get the most out of business text marketing.

Frequently asked questions about SMS and MMS

01. What happens if I send an SMS message with more than 160 characters?

  • The SMS message will be split into several messages of 160 characters each and will be received by the recipient.

02. What kind of file types can I send with MMS?

  • Images (PNG, JPG/JPEG), Audio (MP3), Videos (MP4), and GIFs

03. Do we need to get separate consents for SMS and MMS?

  • MMS falls under the same category as SMS marketing. So, when someone gives consent for SMS, that means you have their consent to receive MMS messages too. If you already have someone's permission for SMS marketing, you can start sending MMS messages to them as well.

The best platform to send SMS and MMS messages

Falkon SMS is considered one of the best SMS marketing tools where you can send SMS messages and MMS messages at a very affordable price. Falkon SMS is equipped with several cool texting features.

If you’d also prefer to start SMS marketing for your business, let’s talk. Our marketing team is always happy to help you out.


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