MMS vs. SMS: How Are They Different?

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Learn what SMS and MMS stand for and understand the differences between these two forms of text messaging.

Every industry has its own little collection of mysterious acronyms that aren’t typically understood in other contexts, and text message marketing is no exception.

SMS and MMS are two such acronyms that you might have noticed popping up here and there when it comes to mobile messaging protocols, often as the phrases SMS marketing and MMS marketing.

What does SMS stand for?

SMS stands for Short Message Service. Short Message Service is a special communications protocol created for the purpose of sending and receiving text messages over cellular networks. The first text message in the history of all history was sent via the SMS protocol way back in 1992.

What does MMS stand for?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. Multimedia Messaging Service is an extension of the core SMS protocol, and it was developed to enable the transmission of multimedia content via text message.

MMS vs. SMS: Here’s how they’re different.

MMS gives you way more space.

Where SMS marketing only allows for up to 160 characters per text, MMS marketing allows for an unlimited number of characters per text, at least technically speaking.

Practically speaking, wireless carriers tend to limit the length of MMS messages, but the end result is still a lot roomier than SMS.

At SimpleTexting, for example, you get up to 1,600 characters per MMS message.

MMS lets you embed rich media.

MMS also gives you the ability to embed rich media like images, audio files, baby elephant gifs, and short video clips. (Hence the word “multimedia” in Multimedia Messaging Service.)

With SMS, you can only include links to such items—you can’t actually include the items within the text itself, like you can with MMS.

Examples of SMS and MMS messages

Let’s take a look at how an SMS message appears compared to an MMS message.

As you can see, the SMS message only contains text, whereas the MMS message includes an embedded image.

MMS vs. SMS pricing

MMS costs a bit more than SMS because it involves the transmission of more data.

The difference in cost varies from provider to provider. With MMS marketing by SimpleTexting, MMS costs 3 credits per message. SMS, on the other hand, costs 1 credit per message.

The nice thing is that you can mix and match your MMS and SMS messages however you like. For example, if you purchase a 1,000-credit plan, you can send 400 SMS messages and 200 MMS messages. (400 + [200*3] = 400 + 600 = 1,000)

In case you’re wondering, “Why pay more for MMS?”, the answer is pretty easy: MMS campaigns have a 20% higher opt-in rate than SMS campaigns, and MMS messages are 8x more likely to be shared on social media. Pics and gifs are simply much more engaging than plain old text, and that’s why it’s worth paying more for MMS.

Note: MMS is currently only available in the U.S.

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