In January of 2020 we wrote in this space about the difference between texting with SMS (Short Message Sequence) versus MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). Since that time, SMS has been virtually relegated to the texting bargain bin.
Starting with the obvious, MMS has more capabilities than SMS. By adding media like a banner image to an outbound text message, we can create a visual dimension to your outreach. More importantly, a branded image makes the message authentic for text recipients.
Authenticity is key when sending P2P Text Alerts. Scams involving text messaging are becoming more common, and mobile users are becoming wary as a result. Many mass-texts include shortened URLs (usually bit.ly links) that condense the message to accommodate SMS character limits. TTHM recommends strongly against using URL shortening services because text recipients simply no longer trust non-native links.
Including the full URL for a targeted page or a vanity URL on the same domain as the targeted page is absolutely the best way to drive traffic from text to site. MMS has no character limit and delivers the entire text of sent messages in a single send. When SMS texts are longer than 160 characters, mobile carriers break the total text into 160-character segments, sometimes delivering those segments out of order and breaking links. MMS text delivers more messaging more reliably.
Beyond the aesthetic and functional reasons behind utilizing MMS over SMS, the regulation of MMS texts is more lax. Mobile carriers generally do not filter MMS texts like they do SMS texts, a factor that has become important for legal marijuana growers and distributors who want to send messages about their products using a national mobile network that may restrict such messages.
SMS still has its place. We often use SMS to ask for opt-ins to our tele-townhall events. SMS is still less expensive than MMS, so it pairs well with broader outreach campaigns. And TTHM always manages responses to the initial text message to mitigate any concerns recipients may voice about mistrusting the message sender or message content. Every TTHM Text Alert campaign includes DNC processing and manual response management using scripted replies up to 480 characters. So if you decide to go with SMS, know that TTHM will do it right.
But as the saying goes, you only get one chance at a first impression. MMS texts with an authenticating image, full native links to important sites, and no message segmentation are simply better for delivering important information. The better that first impression, the more likely a text recipient will dig into your message. With that higher open and read rate, MMS texts are more efficient than SMS texts
TTHM is always happy to talk through your specific outreach goal and find the tools that fit best.