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SMS and MMS: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Allison Boccamazzo on February 1, 2017 at 8:36 AM

In a world where half of customers prefer texting for service and support, short message service (SMS) and multimedia message service (MMS) have become vital for engagement and retention. A 2014 study, for instance, found that nearly one-third of customers believe it’s important for companies to make texting an available support option; meanwhile, 47 percent believe that texting would improve their overall satisfaction.

It’s clear that customers not only desire text messaging, but expect it as part of a next-generation customer experience. To keep up, here’s a quick breakdown of the two forms of mobile messaging that companies can strategically leverage today: SMS and MMS.

SMS, commonly known as text messaging, allows companies to send a standard text message of up to 160 characters to customers’ personal mobile devices. Unlike SMS—which, unbelievably, has been around for over 20 years—MMS is a more interactive take on mobile messaging. As opposed to SMS messages, which only contain text, MMS messages can contain multimedia content (i.e. video, pictures).  

MMS undoubtedly introduced a new era of opportunity for brands to more deeply communicate and engage with customers. Retailers like Express and American Eagle, for example, now send automatic multimedia messages to uniquely promote flash sales and special deals. Today, companies offer text messaging as an option for users to verify or authenticate themselves. From product demos to interactive FAQs, companies can strategically embed images and/or videos into mobile messages to achieve a seemingly endless number of goals. Overall, research shows that MMS traffic in the U.S. increased by an incredible 70 percent—from 57 billion to 96 billion messages—between 2010 and 2013.

In today’s ultra-competitive landscape, it’d be wise for companies to get on board with SMS and/or MMS to uniquely differentiate themselves.

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Tags: Telephony, Telecom

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