SMS, MMS, multimedia message, business texting we hear these often when it comes to mobile marketing but are you aware of the differences?

Mobile advertising comes in all shapes and sizes but the real power of mobile marketing rests in the text message. Text message marketing, or SMS marketing, is the powerhouse when it comes to mobile marketing. It’s inexpensive and effective. For all its virtues however, there are limitations. It’s limited to text only, and 160 characters at that. Proving some limitations if you wanted to add media such as pictures, videos, etc. 

What is MMS?

MMS is, simply put, texting but better; allowing the sender to include more than just words.

A text campaign via MMS can include pictures, videos, music, and other multimedia content, thus having a huge implication for mobile marketers. While a text can certainly get the job done, the 160 character limit is often frustrating. But the ability to send a video clip or picture makes texting that much more versatile.

sms vs mms

Why MMS?

According to research, texts have a 98% open rate. The statistic is incredible. That’s a guarantee that 98% of the texts you send out will be seen by your target audience. Research also seems to indicate that texts including multimedia content are even more likely to be opened than a standard text.

In 2012, consumers sent 74 billion MMS messages while the number of texts and minutes actually fell.

Another interesting statistic is that only 38% of marketers are using SMS or MMS compared to 76% who have a mobile website. In other words, despite its proven track record, text messaging, and MMS messaging in particular, is underutilized. However, it is predicted to change soon as MMS gains popularity.

mms marketing
MMS Marketing Comparison

Successful MMS campaigns

Plenty of providers offering SMS have the ability to provide MMS for marketing so as MMS grows in popularity, more businesses are incorporating it into their mobile marketing strategies and experiencing success. A theater in Chicago used MMS to send consumers who opted in a short video about an upcoming play. In addition to the video clip, the message included a phone number to call for tickets, a “share” button for popular social media websites, and the text automatically entered the recipient into a contest for free tickets to Paris.

Starbucks also ran a successful campaign in which their customers participated in a trivia contest via MMS and won prizes.

sms texting


On the surface, MMS sounds like the clear winner when it comes to text message marketing. It allows businesses to send richer content and engage consumers in a way that a normal text message can’t. However, there are also some inherent weaknesses. The biggest limit is target audience. While just about every phone in existence can send and receive texts, not all phones are MMS enabled.

In the end, business owners need to evaluate whether MMS makes sense for their mobile marketing strategy. For a full comparison of MMS and SMS differences read our blog post.