The short answer is that MMS allows images, video, and more text characters that SMS’s 160 text characters max. It sound like MMS is the clear choice but that’s not where the real limitations to MMS are.
SMS (Short Message Service) is what we have come to know and love as a text message. MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is the technology that expands the core functionality of SMS messages to include multimedia content. This can include web pages, pictures, images, video, ring tones, and so on.
Now, why are we still receiving SMS messages from marketers (like me) instead of the way cooler MMS messages with images and videos?
Below are some of the reasons that explain MMS’s real world limitations:
- Data Plans: In order to receive MMS messages, customers need to have cell phones with data plans enabled. Currently, slightly over 50% of the cell phone using population in the U.S. maintains a data plan. While pretty much everyone has a text plan or can receive SMS texts. Essentially, sending out an MMS messages immediately eliminates around 50% of the audience from being able to receive them. So, if the customer doesn’t have a smart phone, they won’t be able to see the message.
- Costs: Sending MMS messages is more expensive than SMS messages. In cases of large volumes of messages, this can become unfeasible.
- Carrier Limitations: For the smaller carriers, delivering MMS messages intact is a considerably more complex process than simple SMS. There are numerous places in the referral chain where technological inconsistencies can have a detrimental effect on the end user.
- Mobile OS’s: Depending on what is being sent, the end user’s phone, operating system, and software version may compromise his or her ability to view the message properly. On the other hand, SMS is a tried and true technology that is available is every mobile phone in the market, smart or not.
- Technical Expertise: MMS requires more creative (images or video) and technical capacities (cross mobile testing, video file size limitations, etc.) knowledge and tools to deliver an engaging and attractive message.
For now, SMS still remains the king and adding links to videos, websites or graphics or a suitable substitute to MMS.
As technology evolves and costs drop, SMS’s advantages will wane and MMS will become more of a reality. If you have done your work and built a mobile opt-in list of subscribers you will be able to transition your mobile marketing program to MMS with no issues. If you are looking to reach your customers via SMS/text messages, contact us at email@example.com, we can help.