MMS Marketing – What Marketers Need to Know

MMS Marketing - What Marketers Need to Know

Are you a mobile marketer that is interested in MMS marketing? If so, the team at Tatango has put together a comprehensive list below of everything a mobile marketer needs to know about MMS marketing. If after reading this blog post, you still have questions about MMS marketing, or are interested in launching your own MMS marketing campaign, contact Tatango.


What Does “MMS” Stand For?

What Does MMS Stands For
Let’s start off with the easiest question, but one of the most important questions when talking about MMS marketing. What does “MMS” stand for? MMS stands for “Multimedia Messaging Service”. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets continue to what else mobile marketers need to know about MMS marketing.

For your knowledge, “SMS” stands for Short Message Service.


What is MMS Marketing?

What is MMS Marketing
MMS is protocol that allows consumers and brands to send multimedia content to and from a consumer’s mobile phone over the wireless networks. While SMS marketing only allows marketers to send up to 160-characters of text to consumers, MMS marketing allows mobile marketers to send a variety of media content to consumers, including video, images, or even animated images.


MMS Short Code Costs

MMS Short Code Costs
What’s great about short codes (5-6 digit phone numbers), is that either type of short code, vanity or non-vanity, can send and receive MMS messages. This means there’s no additional short code costs other than the $1,000/month lease for a vanity short code, or the $500/month lease for a non-vanity short code. While there are no additional costs for a short code that is enabled to send MMS messages, the cost of sending an MMS message is different than sending an SMS message.


MMS Marketing Costs

MMS Marketing Costs
It’s more expensive for a mobile marketer to send an MMS marketing message to a consumer’s mobile phone, when compared to the cost of sending a SMS message. While the cost of sending an MMS marketing message will vary between mobile messaging providers, on average, an MMS message will cost a marketer two/three-times more than an SMS message.


MMS Short Code Provisioning

MMS Short Code Provisioning
Short code provisioning is the process of getting approvals from the wireless carriers to send and receive mobile messages on your 5-6 digit phone number. It’s important to note that a short code can be provisioned for SMS messaging, MMS messaging, or both types of messaging. The type of messaging you want to provision your short code for must be decided at the beginning of the short code provisioning process.

If a short code is provisioned for only SMS messaging, and a mobile marketer attempts to send an MMS message using that short code, the message will fail. All is not lost though if you initially provision a short code for SMS messaging, and you want to enable MMS messaging on that short code. To do this, you’ll need to re-provision the short code with the wireless carrier for SMS and MMS messaging. The process to re-provision a short code can take 8-12 weeks, and will most likely include re-provisioning fees.


MMS Marketing Character Limits

MMS Marketing Character Limits
An SMS message is limited to only 160 characters, which makes it hard sometimes for mobile marketers to get everything they need to say into a single message. Luckily for marketers, an MMS message technically can have an unlimited amount of characters. That being said, many carriers and mobile devices will restrict the amount of characters in an MMS message, so we recommend not sending more than 500 characters in a single MMS marketing message.

That 500 characters is in addition to a subject line, and includes either a video, image or an animated image, in the message. You can start to see why marketers really love MMS marketing!


SMS Fallback Messages

SMS Fallback Messages
It’s important for mobile marketers to know that while the majority of mobile phones can receive MMS messages, some mobile phones can’t receive MMS messages. At the time of writing this, we estimate about 1-2% of mobile phones can’t receive MMS messages.

It’s because of this that it’s critical for marketers to include an “SMS fallback message” whenever they send an MMS message. This SMS fallback message will be sent instead of the intended MMS message, if for some reason the mobile device isn’t able to accept an MMS message.


MMS Subject Lines

MMS Subject Lines
Another unique thing about MMS messages, is that mobile marketers can include a subject line in their messages, similar to email marketing. The ability to add a subject line to a message is not available when sending an SMS message. On the majority of mobile devices, this subject line will be displayed on the mobile phone in a bold font, which distinguishes it from the other text in the message. On Android devices, the subject will look like <Subject: >.

We recommend that brands limit the amount of characters they use in their MMS subject lines to 40 characters, as this length is supported by all mobile phones, and their wireless carriers. Here at Tatango, we recommend our clients use the subject lines in their MMS messages to identify the brand that is sending the message, or to tease the promotion that is being advertised in the body of the message.


MMS Animated Image Recommendations

MMS Animated Image Recommendations
While every mobile messaging provider handles animated images differently, we’ve put together the following list of recommendations for mobile marketers to take into account when creating an animated image you’re going to use in an MMS marketing message. These recommendations give you the highest likelihood of your animated image looking good when received on the majority of mobile devices.

  • Animated images should be in .gif format.
  • Because of file size limitations, Tatango does not recommend the use of tall images that fit the entire screen because the image file size is usually too large. Instead Tatango recommends square or tall images, which are smaller in file size, but will leave some empty space above and below the image on the mobile phone when opened in preview mode. The smaller image dimensions still fill the messaging bubble in conversation mode.
  • For animated GIFs, we recommend the following sizes.
    • 480 pixels wide X 720 pixels high
    • 480 pixels wide X 640 pixels high
    • 640 pixels wide X 640 pixels high
    • 480 pixels wide X 480 pixels high
  • No matter what MMS animated image you use, be sure not to exceed a file size of 600Kb.
  • Tatango recommends creating your animated MMS image with a frame speed no faster than one every half second.
  • Animated MMS images should have no transparency, as transparency does not work on some devices, making the transparent layer appear black.


MMS Image Recommendations

MMS Image Recommendations
While every mobile messaging provider handles MMS images differently, we’ve put together the following list of recommendations for mobile marketers to take into account when creating an image you’re going to use in an MMS marketing message. These recommendations give you the highest likelihood of your MMS image looking good when received on the majority of mobile devices.

  • MMS images should be vertical (portrait), as nearly all modern device screens are vertically aligned.
  • MMS image files should be in .JPG format.
  • No matter what size MMS image you use, be sure not to exceed a file size of 500Kb.
  • MMS image should be 640 pixels wide X 1,138 pixels high, with an aspect ratio of 9:16.
  • It’s important to note that on the iPhone 5s, and iPhone 6, when a static image is opened, it’s opened in preview mode. This mode includes a top and bottom navigation bar, which covers a small portion of the top and bottom of the image. When a user touches the image in preview mode, the top and bottom navigation bars are removed, allowing the user to see the full image. It’s because of this that we recommend that you don’t put any “content of interest” in the top 129 pixels, or the bottom 89 pixels of your MMS image.


MMS Video Recommendations

MMS Video Recommendations
While every mobile messaging provider handles MMS videos differently, we’ve put together the following list of recommendations for mobile marketers to take into account when creating a video you’re going to use in an MMS marketing message. These recommendations give you the highest likelihood of your MMS video looking good when received on the majority of mobile devices.

  • For MMS videos, Tatango recommends a max video duration of no more than 25 seconds.
  • MMS videos can be in the following formats .MOV or .MP4 (h264/aac)
  • For vertical (portrait) MMS videos, Tatango recommend 640 pixels wide X 1,138 pixels high, with an aspect ratio of 16:9
  • For horizontal (landscape) MMS videos, Tatango recommend 1,280 pixels wide and 720 pixels high, with an aspect ratio of 16:9.
  • Tatango recommends using 30 fps with ~ 2-5Mbps bitrate for your MMS video.
  • Tatango recommends reducing the length of your MMS video to under 20 seconds or less if the video has music or fast motion.


MMS Enabled Wireless Carriers

MMS Enabled Wireless Carriers
The following wireless carriers in the U.S. support sending and receiving MMS messages.

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • Verizon Wireless
  • T-Mobile/MetroPCS (GSM)
  • U.S. Cellular


MMS Marketing Case Studies

MMS Marketing Case Studies
Here at Tatango we put together for you some of our favorite MMS marketing case studies that we’ve written about on the Tatango blog. We’ve listed these MMS case studies below, with links for each to read the full case studies.

Avenue Retail MMS Campaign Generates 6,600% ROI: Avenue, a plus-size women’s clothing store, offered shoppers a $5 MMS coupon on their next purchase when joining their MMS campaign. The retailer reported a 6,600% ROI from their MMS campaign, with an open rate of 97%. Click here for case study.

Pretty Little Liars Captures 100,000+ Mobile Phone Numbers: ABC’s Pretty Little Liars TV show used MMS messaging to capture over 100,000 of their most loyal fans mobile phone numbers all during only on season. Click here for case study.

Vans Launches MMS Campaign For Valentines Day: Learn how Van’s created a very cool MMS campaign to send your loved ones an MMS message to express that love on Valentines Day. Click here for case study.

Taco John’s Goes Loco Over MMS Coupons: Looking for some excellent MMS examples from a fast food provider? Look no further than Taco John’s, as we’ve compiled some of their best MMS messages into one post. Click here for case study.

Ikea Uses MMS Marketing To Promote Summer Specials: Learn how Ikea is using MMS marketing to send out images to their mobile subscriber, in an effort to promote their new summer outdoor dining and entertainment essentials catalog. Click here for case study.


MMS Marketing Statistics

MMS Marketing Statistics
The team at Tatango scoured the internet to find as many MMS marketing statistics as we could for you. Below are the best SMS marketing statistics that we could find.

  • The MMS open rate exceeds 99%. (source)
  • 90% of all MMS marketing messages are read within 3 minutes. (source)
  • According to some brands, MMS shows 300% more engagement than SMS-only messages.
  • In the first half of 2008, 4.7 billion MMS messages were sent in the United States. (source)
  • In the first half of 2009, 10.3 billion MMS messages were sent in the United States. (source)
  • In 2010, 57 billion MMS messages were sent in the United States. (source)
  • In 2013, 96 billion MMS messages were sent in the United States. (source)
  • In 2011, 207 billion MMS messages were sent worldwide. (source)
  • In 2012, 228 billion MMS messages were sent worldwide. (source)
  • In 2014, the amount of MMS sent worldwide doubled in volume. (source)
  • In 2016, 387.5 billion MMS messages were sent worldwide. (source)


Consumer Misconceptions About MMS

Consumer Misconception About MMS
Even though MMS messaging was developed all the way back in 1984, there are still some misconceptions from consumers when it comes to MMS messaging. We’ve listed the top four consumer misconceptions about MMS messaging below, and the truths to these misconceptions.

  1. It costs more for consumers to receive an MMS message: This misconception is routed in some truth, as pre-2007 (or around there, depending on the wireless carrier), MMS messages did cost more to send and receive than SMS messages. Since then though, wireless carriers have “bundled” SMS and MMS messages under a single mobile messaging plan, essentially making the cost for consumers equal for both types of messages.
  2. Most consumer’s mobile phones don’t support MMS video: Since 2008, nearly every mobile device in the United States from the top wireless carriers comes pre-loaded to support all MMS messaging, which includes MMS video.
  3. Consumers need a smartphone to receive MMS messages: While videos and images will look better on a smartphone, because of the screen sizes and resolutions they offer, MMS messages can be received on almost any mobile device, smartphone or not.
  4. Consumers need a data plan to receive MMS messages: As we said above, the only requirement for a consumer to be able to receive MMS messages on their mobile device, is that their mobile device supports MMS. Your wireless service plan does not have to have a data plan, or internet access to be able to receive MMS messages.


MMS Marketing Throughput

MMS Marketing Throughput
Messaging throughput speeds are important for mobile marketers, as it will determine how fast your message reaches all your mobile subscribers. The faster the messaging throughputs, the faster all your subscribers will receive your message. While every messaging provider will offer marketers different messaging throughput speeds on their platforms for SMS and MMS messaging, it’s very common for MMS messaging throughputs to be significantly lower than SMS messaging throughputs.

These slower throughput speeds for MMS messaging are due to the larger size of an MMS message, compared to an SMS message. While an SMS message is only 160-characters of plain text, an MMS message can be up to 500 characters of text, and will commonly also include an video, images or animated images. As you can imagine, it takes much more time for a messaging provider to process and send a message with more text, or a video, image or an animated image, compared to an SMS message that is only 160-characters.


Inbound & Outbound MMS Marketing

Inbound and Outbound MMS Marketing
While most mobile marketers are aware that they can use a short code to send outbound MMS marketing messages to consumers, very little of them are aware that short codes can also accept inbound MMS messages. This means consumers can not only receive media content from a short code, they can also send media content to a short code. This is great if a marketer wants consumers to engage with their brand, by having those consumers send them images, videos, or even animated images.


That’s it… If you’re a mobile marketer and have reached the very end of this post, you most likely who everything there is to know about MMS marketing now. Congrats! Still have questions about MMS marketing, or how you can launch your own MMS marketing campaign? Contact the MMS marketing experts at Tatango by clicking here, or calling 1-888-517-6345.

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