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What is MMS messaging? Here’s your guide to creating memorable messages

Want to make your messages stand out from the crowd? Keen to inject your brand personality into text campaigns? Well, given that a picture’s worth a thousand words, it’s time to wrap your head around MMS.

First, the basics. What does MMS stand for?

MMS is short for Multimedia Messaging Service (to recap, SMS stands for Short Message Service). 

‘Multimedia’ is the keyword here. In an MMS, you can attach pictures and GIFs to your messages – making them stand out from your standard SMS.

Here’s what a typical MMS looks like. You’ll see there’s a heading (optional), a longer block of text, plus an image (which could be a JPEG, PNG or a moving GIF).

An example of a phone receiving an MMS message with a bold title, text body, and picture.

Let’s see how SMS and MMS stack up

Here’s a quick summary of the difference between SMS and MMS (for a deep-dive, read our article about SMS vs MMS).

SMS

  • Text length: Up to 160 characters 
  • No images, video, or audio
  • Great for quick updates, alerts, links to more information

MMS

  • Text length: Up to 5,000 characters
  • Images (including animated) of up to 410KB
  • Great for brand-led messaging, sending product promos, tickets, QR codes, and more
An example of an SMS received to promote a podcast. It's a plain text message with a link
SMS
An example MMS received to promote a podcast. It has a bold subject line, body with website link, colourful emoji, and a picture at the bottom
MMS

How MMS helps you stand out from the crowd

If you’re already experiencing great success with SMS, you might be wondering why you should bother with MMS. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, while SMS might not be broken, MMS might get better results. 

Across all channels, imagery is proven to help boost engagement. Almost a decade ago, Buffer reported that tweets with images received 150% more retweets than those without. Since then, the use of images in social campaigns has skyrocketed.

Want proof? BMW drove home 758% ROI using just MMS marketing.

In Germany, BMW wanted to sell more winter tyres via a simple mobile campaign. Instead of SMS, it opted for MMS, using images of snow tyres to help build a clear visual in customers’ minds.

Sure, MMS is more expensive to send. But BMW achieved a massive 30% conversion rate. So, while the campaign cost $60K to run, they ended up netting almost $45M in revenue, at an ROI of 758%.

More reasons to use MMS in your next text campaign

1. Images and videos help lure your customers in

People remember 80% of what they see, compared to just 20% of what they read. You can tap into this handy psychological trick to really stand out from the crowd – simply by popping your offer or campaign in a cute graphic, and hitting ‘send’ on an MMS.

A demonstration of three colourful images you could include to add your brands personality
Add your brand’s personality

2. A longer character count helps you say more stuff

Let’s face it. Limiting yourself to 160 characters in an SMS can be hard. Sure, short and snappy text messages are extremely effective – but only if you’ve got a single message to get across. 

If you want to engage more deeply using marketing messages, product descriptions, or offers, then MMS gives you 5,000 characters to play with.

TOP TIP:
While it can be tempting to use up all those characters, less is still best. Say what you need to say, but try to keep it under 500 characters for the greatest impact without losing the reader.

3. Adding a subject line is a great attention-grabbing strategy

Many people don’t realise that an MMS can include a bold subject line of up to 64 characters. A bit like an email subject line, it’s a powerful way to hook your customers in to keep reading. 

There are two typical approaches to take here. Either be super-straightforward and helpful with your subject line, so your customers know exactly what’s ahead. For example:

  • Earn triple points on today’s buys
  • Limited time: 10% off all sunglasses

Or, you can create intrigue to lure them in. For example:

  • Forgotten something? 
  • If there’s one launch you won’t want to miss, it’s this one

TOP TIP:
Like with email, you don’t want to cross the line and make your SMS sound spammy. Read our write-up on how to make sure your messages don’t sound spammy.

A short and punchy subject line at the top of an MMS message. It's bold, with an added line break before the content, and it reads "Episode 10 is out now"
Make your subject line stand out

4. There’s always a backup, giving you extra peace of mind

Had delivery failures in the past? You don’t need to worry about that with MMS. Even those few customers whose devices cannot accept an MMS message will still receive an ‘SMS fall-back message’, so your message will always get through.

Ready to get started? Here’s how to send MMS

If you’re an existing MessageMedia customer, to get started with MMS you’ll just need to get in touch with our team. We can easily add the feature to your account so you can start sending multimedia content in your messages right away. 

Then, it’s simply a matter of choosing the ‘Picture message (MMS)’ option in the portal and uploading your JPEG, PNG or GIF. It’s business as usual for the rest of the message content.

Log into the MessageMedia portal and choose Messaging > New Message > Picture Message
Send a picture message from the MessageMedia portal

If you’re planning on going global, just note that MessageMedia doesn’t deliver MMS to UK or New Zealand residents – but you can still send MMS to international destinations such as the USA or Australia. 

For helpful tips on planning your perfect MMS campaign, read our article on MMS best practices

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