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What is MMS Messaging and What is it Used for?

Angela Stringfellow

Last updated on

Multimedia messaging service (MMS) is a popular way for smartphone users to stay in touch with friends and family. Although most people don’t realize it, their device switches from SMS to MMS every time they send any kind of media via text message.

While this is a fun way to stay in touch socially, MMS is also helpful for business marketing, too. SMS messaging has been around longer, but smartphones make it viable for businesses to regularly interact with their customers via MMS. Transactional emails and push notifications are also used to engage with customers, and they can be used in place of or in addition to an MMS messaging strategy.

(Apple devices also use iMessage, which is similar to regular MMS except that it sends your messages over a Wi-Fi network rather than the cellphone network.)

Learn how MMS marketing works, how it differs from SMS, and 8 creative ways to use MMS for your business.

What Is MMS Messaging?

MMS is similar to short message service (SMS) messages, except it attaches media to your text message. Once you attach:

  • GIFs
  • Emojis
  • Pictures
  • Video
  • Audio

… to a text message, it becomes an MMS message automatically.

Most users switch between SMS and MMS without realizing the difference. Most smartphones are compatible with MMS, but if a user isn’t able to access media, the message will come through with a link to view it online.

MMS is an effective way to market your business specifically to mobile users. In an environment where email, paid ads, and social media aren’t generating the returns they once did, adding MMS to the mix can build more buzz for your brand.

Unlike sending a personal SMS, businesses need to use a platform to make the most of text marketing. Since you’re sending hundreds of MMS messages at a time, it’s important to use a platform that allows for automation so you can forge one-on-one relationships at scale.

How is MMS Different from SMS?

Although both SMS and MMS are text message marketing, they aren’t identical. There are some important differences between SMS and MMS that will affect your return on investment:

  • Data usage: Because you’re attaching media to the message, MMS uses significantly more data than SMS. In most cases, you can expect an MMS message to use 2X - 3X the data of an SMS message.
  • Pricing: MMS uses more data, which usually means you’ll probably pay more to send these types of messages. The exact pricing depends on your MMS marketing platform, but you can expect it to cost more. This is why most businesses use a blend of SMS and MMS to maximize engagement without busting their budget.
  • Character limits: SMS messages allow for text-only messages with a max of 160 characters. MMS, on the other hand, has a 1,600 character limit and allows you to attach a subject line and media.

Both SMS and MMS have a place in your marketing strategy, and it’s a good idea to define which campaigns are a better fit for SMS versus MMS to make the most of your budget.

8 Genius Uses for MMS Messaging

Curious about how you can use MMS in real life? These 8 applications for MMS will promote your biz by fostering deeper relationships at scale.

1. Loyalty Programs

Do you have a loyalty program for frequent shoppers? Use MMS to build excitement and reward positive behaviors. For example, you could send members a confetti GIF every time they earn loyalty points or refer a friend.

2. Product Launches

The more excitement you generate for a product launch, the better. Send MMS messages with product sneak peeks to generate more interest from your text list.

3. Event Promotions

MMS messages can convince more people to pay attention to event invites. Be sure to send media of what the event will look like—the more Instagrammable, the better.

4. Coupons and Sales

Everybody loves coupons and sales, but MMS messages inject excitement and immediacy into any limited-time deal. Send time-sensitive deals to your subscribers with an image of your product, a graphic with deal information, or a funny GIF.

5. Fundraising

Non-profits can get a lot of traction with MMS messaging too. Instead of promoting your latest fundraiser through emails that go to the Trash folder, MMS connects you with more donors. Share images of the animals you’ve rescued, events you’ve held, or a visual of your fundraising goal via MMS to raise more funds.

6. Celebrations

Remember to celebrate your customers! A quick MMS message on their anniversary or birthday lets them know how much you appreciate their business.

7. Customer Service

MMS allows your team to give shoppers a richer experience without checking their email at all. For example, if a customer’s product arrived in bad condition, the customer can send photo evidence to you via MMS. MMS also allows your team to share and receive screenshots as well as links to instruction manuals or tutorials.

8. Share Documents

MMS has a lot of potential in B2B applications, too. If you frequently need to send documents over to vendors or clients, MMS allows you to share that information without scans or faxes. Simply snap a photo of the document and send it via MMS.

Make MMS Messaging Work for Your business

MMS messages tend to have higher engagement, shares, and opt-ins because they’re naturally more engaging. But because of their higher costs, it’s a good idea to do a blend of SMS and MMS so you don’t burn through your marketing budget. Make the most of your MMS setup with these 8 use cases that get consumers excited to engage with you.

MMS messaging is one of several tools today’s brands have at their disposal to engage users or customers. MMS can play an important role in your overall customer engagement and messaging strategy alongside push notifications, transactional emails, and other tactics. Streamline and consolidate your messaging strategy with MagicBell’s complete notification system. Complete with a notification inbox, MagicBell enables developers and marketers to reach users on their preferred channels using their preferred messaging methods. And because MagicBell syncs your messaging across channels, you’ll avoid sending the same users the same messages on multiple channels.