While both SMS and MMS messages are sent over a cellular network, there still lies some key differences.
MMS, which stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, was built using the same technology as SMS as a way to extend the capabilities of messaging. While SMS messaging was a great way to send text only messages, MMS messaging allowed users to send multimedia content such as video, audio, images, and gifs. Since the first MMS capable cell phone was introduced in 2002, MMS messaging has exploded to over 400 billion MMS messages sent every year. While both SMS and MMS messaging are sent over a cellular network, there still lies some key differences.
SMS messages have a limit of 160 characters per message. Any message exceeding this limit will be broken up into multiple segments of 160 characters and be sent as multiple messages. MMS messages on the other hand do not have a character limit and are only limited by the size of the media file. 450KB is widely recognized as the largest media size most carriers will successfully send, anything larger will result in a failed message. As a result, we recommend that you try to send media messages as a link whenever possible. YouTube, Vimeo, Imgur, and Google Drive are just a few examples of sites where you can upload larger media files to be sent out as links to your contacts.
Domestic US SMS messages are priced at $0.01 per outbound message, while MMS messages are priced at $0.04 per outbound message. This is due to the fact that carriers charge more for MMS messages than for SMS messages. For this reason, we recommend media messages be sent as links to reduce usage costs and increase delivery rate. While MMS messages are generally more expensive than SMS messages, there are certain instances when sending an MMS message can actually be cheaper than sending an SMS message. SMS messages are broken into segments, each message containing 160 characters, if you were to send a large message containing over 480 characters, your message would be sent as 4 separate text messages. That cost would be $0.04 cents per message per contact. Since MMS messages do not adhere to character limits, the cost would be the same or even less if you were to add an image to your text update. This is why you should always keep an eye on our segment counter in the top right-hand corner of the text message box. While MMS messages do not adhere to segments like SMS messages do, getting carried away and composing a message of over 5,000 characters will cause your MMS message to fail.
They say that one image is worth a thousand words. This statement also rings true when sending messages. Sending your subscribers an MMS message can not only make your messages look good, but also provide some key advantages. Studies have shown that MMS messages have an open rate of 99%, with 90% of these messages being read in the first 3 minutes. These are the metrics that individuals can only dream of acquiring over social media and email. In other studies, MMS messages sent by brands were shown to have 300% more engagement than SMS messages. Best practices, via our users, have shown that combining an image with a link and a call to action results in better conversation rates for their campaigns. While MMS may cost more, the numbers show that media messages are clearly a better investment to boost engagement from your subscriber list.