5 MMS Marketing Best Practices
Your audience is more likely to open a text from an MMS marketing campaign than from an email marketing campaign. When it comes to texting, users are more likely to open and engage with a dynamic image or video. After all, a picture says a thousand words. MMS marketing captures your reader’s attention. Marketers around the globe have already been convinced that MMS marketing shows great results. The American and Canadian markets are picking it up at a fast pace now too.
What is MMS?
MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. It is a standard way to send multimedia messages such as pictures, videos, audio, and other types of multimedia content between mobile phones. MMS is an extension of the Short Message Service (SMS), which allows the exchange of text messages.
Unlike SMS, which is limited to text messages, MMS enables users to send and receive a variety of media files, making it a more versatile communication method. MMS messages can be sent between mobile devices that support the MMS standard, allowing users to share rich media content in addition to simple text. Many mobile phones and messaging apps support MMS functionality. MMS has become integral to modern communication, offering an interactive and engaging means to share various forms of media seamlessly between compatible devices.
What is SMS?
SMS stands for Short Message Service, a widely used communication protocol for sending short text messages between mobile devices. It is a standard feature on most mobile phones and is commonly referred to as “text messaging.” SMS messages are limited to a maximum of 160 characters per message, making them concise and suitable for brief communication.
SMS has been a fundamental and widely adopted form of mobile communication since its inception. It is supported by virtually all mobile phones, allowing users to exchange text messages across different devices and networks. SMS is used for a variety of purposes, including personal communication, business notifications, alerts, and more. While other messaging platforms and services have emerged, SMS remains a reliable and universal means of sending short text-based messages.
When to use SMS and MMS?
The choice between SMS and MMS depends on the type of content you want to convey in your message. Here are general guidelines for when to use each:
Use SMS when:
- Text-Only Messages: When your message consists of plain text and does not include multimedia content like pictures, videos, or audio.
- Quick and Brief Communication: SMS is suitable for short and concise messages, as it has a character limit (usually 160 characters).
- Universal Compatibility: If you want to ensure that your message can be received by virtually all mobile phones, as SMS is supported on almost all devices.
- Real-time Notifications: For time-sensitive alerts, reminders, or notifications that don’t require multimedia elements.
Use MMS when:
- Multimedia Content: When your message includes pictures, videos, audio, or other multimedia elements, and you want to convey a richer and more visually engaging message.
- Enhanced Communication: If you need to share content beyond simple text and want to provide a more interactive and dynamic communication experience.
- Visual Impact: When the visual presentation of your message is crucial, such as sharing product images, event invitations, or other graphic content.
- Creative Expression: For multimedia content that adds creativity or emotional depth to your message, making it more expressive and engaging.
Take Time To Plan Your MMS Message
This is a freebie that’s not even included in the 5 best practices, but to us, it’s a no-brainer.
It’s important to take a moment to really stop and plan out the details of your MMS marketing campaign. Thoughtful images help your message get delivered. Sending an image that’s too large, for example, will cost you and not get delivered.
Your recipients use many different phone carriers. Most all the major US phone carriers accept MMS messages, within their own unique requirements. Additionally, the audience you are texting uses multiple iPhone and Android devices that also receive MMS messages differently.
Detail Matters with MMS
MMS marketing takes attention to detail, like anything else in marketing. If you’re a marketer, then you’re already used to editing your promotional images to fit the requirements of different uses such as how your website images and videos differ in size and nature from those you share across social media, for example. MMS messaging is no different.
There is a sweet spot when it comes to the MMS image requirements, but even if you follow all suggestions, there’s still a chance that your recipient may have an older phone that simply doesn’t accept images. This is very rare, but there are always those rare outliers who make up maybe 1%. Also, carriers making up only 2% of the US market do not accept MMS from short codes. According to a Mashable article:
“Nearly every phone shipped in the past 2 years in the US from the top US carriers came pre-loaded with MMS capability integrated into the device. Today, this equates to over 2,700 unique mobile devices in the marketplace and over 180 million consumers with MMS-capable mobile phones based on Mogreet’s 2009 Mobile Device survey. This means that most wireless subscribers today can universally receive video MMS on their mobile phones! Furthermore, consumers on nearly all carriers (not just the big four) can send and receive MMS.”
With all of that being said, SendHub has five suggestions to help you succeed with MMS marketing.
Five Best Practices for MMS Marketing
While MMS marketing is more striking and successful, it comes at a higher cost. Additionally, it takes a bit more effort to find that sweet spot with your attached file. If you put in the effort and follow these five best practices for your next MMS marketing campaign, you’ll be glad you did.
#1 Pick Your Number Carefully!
In SMS & MMS marketing, the number you use to send your campaigns is essential to the deliverability of that message. Your recipient’s phone carriers all have their own unique requirements and filters.
Sending bulk SMS marketing campaigns is best done through a toll free number in the US. However, due to rate-limits with high volume MMS campaigns, we suggest only sending to 250 recipients at once with toll free MMS. Additionally, the SMS marketing industry is moving toward toll-free texting for high volume bulk SMS marketing campaigns as a part of the most recent changes to the SMS market but high volume MMS is not yet supported on toll free. For high volume MMS marketing campaigns, we can also help you apply for a dedicated short code.
At max, SendHub suggests not sending one message to more than 150 people per day on a regular US or Canadian local 10-digit long code number.
MMS Marketing on a Canadian or US Local Number
SendHub offers SMS and MMS messaging as well as voice service in the United States and Canada. Therefore, we offer local 10-digit long code phone numbers for businesses to manage their business SMS and voice on one local number.
SendHub offers MMS plans on our 10-digit local long code numbers, but you do not want to use a long code for sending high volume MMS campaigns. Only use a local number if you are sending one message to fewer than 150 people per day to minimize the risk of carrier filtering. You especially do not want to send more than one mass SMS or MMS marketing campaign (aka group message on SendHub) per day.
While we do have some existing customers with older plans that have yet to expire, these older plans may allow for more than 150 recipients per SMS marketing campaign. Although you may be able to release messages from SendHub to your recipient’s carrier, doesn’t mean the message will be delivered. Each time you send a message, there is a cost so it goes against your usage even if it is not delivered.
All new SendHub plans do not allow for more than 150 recipients per SMS blast on a standard 10-digit local number.
Localized long code numbers are best used for small bulk messages and more appropriately they would be used for conversational texting as well as calling. Do you need to send and receive images? No problem, SendHub has you covered. In fact, we include inbound MMS messaging on all of our plans, but you have to be on a custom plan with MMS if you want to send outbound MMS.
Sending to over 150 recipients in one MMS Marketing Campaign
Have you received consent from more than 150 contacts that you want to send mass MMS marketing campaigns to? If you’re growing your list to over 150 contacts, then it’s time to upgrade to a custom plan to send MMS messages with a number that is compatible with sending mass MMS marketing campaigns with a special toll-free number or a short code.
MMS Marketing with Short Code
Dedicated and random short codes are available! A few things to keep in mind about short code for MMS is that US Cellular and Crickett users will not receive MMS on short code. This includes a very small portion of the market. Additionally, short codes can’t receive phone calls.
#2 Design Your Masterpiece Images & Videos Using Suggested Image Recommendations
As mentioned above, all mobile messaging providers handle and accept images, videos, and animations differently. For these reasons, here are some recommendations for file sizes and types based on what is most likely to get delivered to your recipient, carrier and device.
MMS Messaging Images Size & Type Recommendations
With images, animations, and videos, every end-carrier will interpret them differently. As much tweaking as you do, remember there’s still a chance that 1-2% of your audience may not be able to receive MMS altogether. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to improve the likelihood of your image being received.
For one, the image you include in your MMS marketing campaign message should be portrait, as almost all of the devices are vertical.
The best format for MMS images is JPG that does not exceed 500 KB. Finally, be sure to fine-tune your image to 640 pixels x 1,138 pixels (9:16 aspect ratio). You could also use 1080 px by 1920 px for your standard image files. You can play with your image’s quality by reducing it from 100 to 60.
Some iPhones hide a certain portion of the top and bottom of your image in their “preview mode” which is how your recipient sees the image until they click on it. For this reason, do not include important information in the top 129 pixels or the bottom 89 pixels of your MMS image.
Keep your images simple. We recommend that you do not use gradients and also that you reduce the number of colors in your image.
Size & Type Recommendations for MMS Messaging with GIFs (Animated Images)
If you’re looking to send an animated MMS messages, it’s best to do so in .gif format. Be sure that you don’t have transparency as it does not display transparent on some devices. For animated GIFs, we recommend anywhere between 480 pixels x 480 pixels or 720 pixels high x 480 pixels. Specifically, we suggested the following for GIFs:
- 480 px x 480 px (square)
- 640 px x 640 px (square)
- 480 px x 640 pc (tall)
- 480 px x 720 px (tallest)
Keep your speed in mind. Try to keep your animated MMS GIF with a frame speed no faster than one every second. Try not to exceed 3-4 frames per second at the most. It will be a choppier effect, but there will be less data in each second, reducing your file size. No matter what MMS animated image you use, be sure not to exceed 520 KB.
MMS Video Message Size & Type Recommendations
Have you heard of the K.I.S.S. reference? It usually stands for “Keep It Simple, Silly.” SendHub recommends keeping videos to 20 seconds or less to make sure the majority of carriers receive them and phones display them. If possible, try to use 30 frames per second. MMS videos can be .MOV, h264/aac, or .MP4. For your video dimensions, we suggest vertical (portrait) MMS videos at 640 pixels wide x 1,138 pixels high (16:9 aspect ratio). If you decide to do a horizontal MMS video message, we recommend a 1,280 pixels wide x 720 pixels high, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
For video, SendHub suggests keeping your file size short and small. To ensure the best delivery, SendHub recommends sending videos that are no larger than 1MB. While SendHub will allow you to send a video that is up to 5MB, your video will not be delivered to all recipients.
The people you are texting can be on different carrier networks. Each carrier network has different maximum file sizes for video. For example, when texting someone an mp4 who uses AT&T they will only be able to receive file sizes that are 1MB, Verizon will receive 1.5MB, Sprint 2MB, and T-Mobile 1MB.
This does not take into account the different end mobile devices that you are sending text messages to.
#3 Consider Your Content
In his Lettres Provinciales, the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal famously wrote, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”
Craft a message that your audience will want to read. It’s tempting to be wordy on MMS, but don’t do it. You will have more success if you take your time and craft a concise message.
There is a true art and skill in the ability to have brevity on an SMS or MMS message. Take the time to deconstruct your message to its sole purpose and trim the excess content that is only wanted, but not needed. You will be glad you kept your message short.
MMS marketing is snazzy so spiff it up with a larger discount or limited time promotion. You can also test how your audience does with exclusive promotions. Offer a promo to a limited number of people on a first-come-first-service basis within a limited time. Exclusivity and urgency are two key ingredients to a successful MMS marketing campaign.
Length of Your MMS Message
No Segmenting on MMS messaging
While an SMS message is segmented per every 160 characters (or 70 characters if any are unicode), MMS messages do not get segmented; however, receiving-carriers and devices will restrict the amount of characters in an MMS message.
When considering the length of your MMS Messages, SendHub recommends keeping under 475 characters to be extra safe. While this is our recommendation, we will let you be the judge of your own message and if you think it should be longer, then you can send up to 1600 characters from SendHub.
It may be tempting to send long MMS messages because they don’t get segmented, but we promise you will have more success if you keep it simple, short, and to the point. Some of the best MMS messages include content right on the image. Do a two image animation and add more content that way! You can get creative in ways to keep your character count down on your MMS message.
#4 Consider the Audience Receiving Your MMS Message
Target Your Audience
Understand Your Audience
Keep in mind that customers who have opted into your SMS marketing campaigns might be a part of the expected 1-2% of people who use mobile phones that cannot accept MMS messages.
Consider the timing of your message. Of course you don’t want to send a message too late and make your audience upset. However, you also want to consider your throughput. Messaging throughput speeds can differ from provider to provider. It’s important to understand throughputs as it will determine how fast your message reaches your intended audience.
With MMS messaging, it’s important to remember that throughputs tend to be slower; meaning, it takes longer for your MMS message to reach your entire list that you are messaging. Make sure you plan ahead and send your MMS message at a time that it will reach your entire list within a timeframe that works for you.
#5 Test before you send your MMS Marketing Campaign
Read Your Message
Before you send out your well-thought out and beautifully composed MMS message, send it to yourself first. Better yet, send it to a test list of your closest internal team so that you know if there are any issues with different receiving carriers or devices before the message goes out. Ideally, you send it to both an Android and iOS device. Make sure everyone reads it and that no one catches any grammar or spelling errors. Send a test text, tweak, and repeat before you send to your entire list.
Preview Your Graphics
As you send your test message to a test sample of your closest team members, ask them to preview the graphics. Is everything perfect? Is there text in your graphic? If so, are there any misspellings? Is it displaying correctly? If there is text, can you read it? Triple check everything!
Click Your Links
Be sure to test your links if you have included any. Do not use any bit.ly links or other public short links as it is a sure way to get your message filtered by the carriers. If you share a link, share your own business domain or something unique that hasn’t been abused by spammers already. Add a custom landing page and unique tracking on your url to measure your SMS marketing campaign’s conversions. Make sure the URL links to the proper webpage and that the page is mobile optimized.
Have you perfected your message? If you’ve followed these five steps outlined here, you’re well on your way to send away!
What is the key advantage of using MMS in marketing campaigns?
MMS allows for rich media content like images, videos, and audio, making messages more engaging and impactful than plain text.
How can I measure the success of an MMS marketing campaign?
Track metrics like delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to assess campaign effectiveness.
What are best practices for designing MMS content?
Keep content concise, visually appealing, and relevant to your audience. Ensure it’s optimized for mobile viewing and aligns with your brand’s message.
Is consent necessary for MMS marketing?
Absolutely. It’s crucial to obtain recipients’ consent and provide clear opt-out options to comply with legal and ethical standards.