SMS vs MMS: How These Messages Are Different

SMS and MMS are both acronyms of different types of text messages. This article will take a look at both how they are similar as well as their differences.

What are SMS & MMS and How Do They Differ?

Texting is a part of everyday life for nearly everyone today. In your daily life, you are most likely sending and recieving both SMS and MMS, and may not even know what they are, or how they differ. Sometimes these terms are misunderstood and are often used incorrectly. 

This article aims to explain what each of these messaging types are, weighing their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to effectively use each. Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

  • The Definitions of SMS and MMS
  • SMS and MMS side-by-side Comparison
  • Best Use Cases for SMS and MMS

What is SMS?

SMS is an acronym for Short Message (Messaging) Service, is a text messaging service component of most telephone, internet and mobile device systems. SMS have a character limit of 160, and are typically consisting of text messages and emoji’s. 

What is MMS?

MMS is short for Multimedia Message (Messaging) Service, and has the capacity of 1,600 characters. MMS and it’s larger capacity, is often used to send and receive video, photos, GIFs, audio, and much more. MMS was developed as part of the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Program) project.


A Side by Side Comparison



Advantages of SMS

  • SMS messages boast a 98% open rate. That’ far exceeds email’s which yeild about 40% open rates.
  • SMS messages are cheaper to send to your audience than MMS.
  • Most cell phone carriers in the United States offer plans with unlimited texting, which means your SMS messages will likely not cost your audience a penny.


Disadvantages of SMS

  •  SMS are limited to 160 characters.
  • Limitations on texts and emoji’s, without the ability to add more exciting media.





Advantages of MMS

  • MMS are often times more attention grabbing and visually impressive with the ability to include images and videos.
  • MMS is fully compatible with more than 98% of all mobile devices.
  • With MMS, click-through rates are greater. Average click-through increase by 60%.
  • MMS offers you more characters. How many more?  How does 1,600 characters per message sound?  

Disadvantages of MMS

  • MMS messages have the ability to send images and videos, but that additional data being sent comes with a higher cost of delivery.
  • 98% of people can recieve MMS, but unfortunately there are still people in your audience who may not be able to recieve MMS. Some carriers allow thier customers to turn off MMS messaging.

When SMS Works Best:

SMS is the ‘bread and butter’ for text messaging and text message marketing. Whenever a short message, under the 160 characters allowed, can be used then SMS is the clear choice.

  • Appointment reminders or confirmations
  • Post-purchase thank you messages
  • Order confirmations and package tracking information
  • Automated responses to inquiries
  • Payment reminders before processing a scheduled payment


When MMS Works Best:

If your message needs to grab the attention of your audience, MMS is the right choice.

Here are several uses for MMS:

  • Sending a digital promotion or flyer
  • Sending a Mobile Coupon
  • VIP invitations to events or exclusive deals
  • Showcase  your new product with a high quality picture or video
  • Political MMS with a picture of a candidate or a political flyer

Sending SMS and MMS Messages with CloudContactAI

CloudContactAI is a premium texting service which helps businesses to manage customer engagement through text messaging.

It provides a range of features for managing customer conversations, including automated responses, multi–channel support, surveys, and analytics.

It also provides tools for creating targeted campaigns and segmenting customers. CloudContactAI is designed to help businesses keep customers informed, engaged, and loyal.


Track User Engagement

Detailed user engagement reporting and analytics for individuals, departments, locations, and more.

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Not sure if you’re ready to revolutionize the way your business communicates? Sign up for our 14-day free trial!

What do you have to lose?

Cody Kelly

Cody Kelly

Cody is an experienced Marketing Specialist with over a decade worth of experience in marketing and client success. He creates and optimizes content, articles and guides to help businesses of all sizes grow. With a background in marketing, hospitality, and finance, Cody has consistently increased profitability for clients with strategic planning while delivering first class service.

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