Share article:

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

Last updated November 2023

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 an example of an MMS message. You can have an optional heading, a longer block of text, plus an image (which could be a JPEG, PNG or a moving GIF).

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
SMS message vs MMS message example

What about over-the-top messaging, like iMessage or WhatsApp?

Other common methods for sending messages are through apps like iMessage, Whatsapp, and Messenger. Though often perceived as MMS or SMS, these apps are actually over-the-top (OTT) services that rely on a cellular network or wifi connection to send messages.

Here are the main differences between OTT and SMS and MMS.

  • Since it relies on a cellular network, OTT methods tend to be cheaper since MMS and SMS often incur charges per message.
  • OTT applications need specific platforms on both the sending and receiving end. For example, a WhatsApp message can only be received if both users have WhatsApp. On the other hand, MMS and SMS can be sent to any phone.
  • OTT services can also send photos, GIFs, audio, etc. like MMS, while SMS can only send text messages up to 160 characters long.

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.

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. And don’t forget to understand and follow opt out rules.
MMS service example of UI

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 Sinch 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.

If you’re planning on going global, just note that Sinch 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.

Ready to start sending MMS?

Woman wearing a yellow shirt pointing at a text bubble.

FAQs about MMS.

MMS stands for multimedia messaging service.

MMS includes several types of media while SMS (short messaging service) is simply text. SMS also has a limit of 160 characters.

MMS messages can be up to 1600 characters as well as include photos, videos, and GIFs.

Adding more visual elements like subject lines or photos and videos with MMS can boost engagement and draw attention to your content.

MMS is perfect for campaigns like marketing and promotions, personalised offers, sharing coupons, or sending appointment reminders.