SMS vs MMS: What's the Difference? (And Which is Better?)

Text messaging has become the preferred method of communication for nearly everybody in the world. Texting has taken over not only personal conversations but also interactions with businesses.

When setting up your text messaging strategy, you will see both SMS and MMS messaging mentioned, and this article will help you learn about the differences and benefits of both.

SMS vs. MMS Overview

What is SMS messaging and what does SMS stand for?

SMS messaging stands for "Short Messaging Service." Short Messaging Service is the first communications protocol created for text messaging, and in fact, the first text message ever sent was an SMS text message. SMS is the most commonly used text message technology, and about 6 billion SMS messages are sent every day.

What is MMS messaging and what does MMS stand for?

MMS messaging stands for "Multimedia Messaging Service." Multimedia Messaging Service is an extension of SMS technology and was created to transmit multimedia content such as video, images, and links via text messages, which is the biggest difference.

MMS allows images to show up in the text chat, whereas any image sent over SMS will show up as a link to the media. See below for an example of both:

sms vs mms

How Are MMS and SMS Different?

The way images are passed through the chat is one significant difference between MMS and SMS, but there are some additional disparities as well:




Character Count

160 Characters

1,600 Characters

Data Usage

Up to 1,120 bits

Up to 500 kb 

As you can see in the chart above, SMS limits users to only a 160 character limit, hence Short Messaging Service. In addition to sending multimedia files up to 500 kb in size, MMS allows you to send up to 1,600 characters as well.

Texting for Business: When to Use SMS vs. MMS

Now that we know the difference between SMS and MMS, the question becomes, when do you use one or the other?

When choosing between the two, it's best to have a clear idea of your campaign goals and the type of content you will be sending your customers before deciding one way or the other.

When to Use SMS Messages

Although SMS has a tighter character restriction and may not look as aesthetically pleasing as MMS messages, there are still times when SMS is the preferable method of communication with your customer.

SMS is recommended when you need to deliver a short and direct message to your customer or prospect.

Currently, 89% of customers prefer to communicate with businesses through texts. Texting for business converts at a higher rate compared to other channels, and it increases customer satisfaction.

Selling is the soul of every business, and SMS is one of the simplest but most effective ways to increase sales. But how?

One to One Conversation

One of the main aspects of running a business is getting people to buy your product or service. However, people need to know that you exist before you can sell them anything. If potential customers are also showing little interest in your company, ask them to sign up to receive your text messages. Therefore, you can use SMS messaging to keep them up to date on promotions, events, and other vital events.

Once you have your customers signed up, SMS is cheaper than MMS to keep your customers up to date and engaged with your brand.

Order Confirmations and Delivery Tracking

Because texting is the preferred method of communication, providing customers with transactional texts after their purchase is a great way to communicate the following:

  • Order confirmations
  • Transaction details/ receipts
  • Delivery tracking
  • Delivery updates

Appointment Reminders and Updates

SMS texts to remind customers of an appointment they made are a great way to avoid late arrivals, and a way to minimize no-shows.

Password Resets and Two-factor Authentication

When customers forget their passwords, the easiest way to get in touch quickly is through text messages. Via SMS you can easily send a link for a customer to reset their passwords.

You can also implement two-factor authentication measures to be sent via SMS to add a layer of security to any log-ins or transactions.

Customer Service

SMS is a great way to allow your customers to access customer service on their own time. They can text their questions and get support via text rather than having to call in and wait endlessly on hold.

Internal Operations Management

Using SMS internally can be valuable for keeping your employees engaged with a specific project and office announcements.

A great example of SMS as an internal operation is submitting a ticket to tech support and receiving status updates via text.

You can also automate alerts for your employees and use text to quickly update employees on anything new going on in the company.

When to Use MMS Messages

Like SMS messaging, MMS messaging can provide One to One Conversation with your customers and engage them personally.

MMS messages have a little more pop than an SMS message, which can be valuable when you are trying to get your customers' attention.

People are more likely to gravitate to texts in their inbox that contain pictures or videos.

The use cases for text messages can be extensive in the business world. If you're subscribed to a company's texting campaign, think about the different messages you've received from them.

These were all likely MMS messages.

On average, MMS marketing campaigns boast 15% to 20% higher engagement levels than traditional SMS messages

MMS messages are used more in text marketing when images or videos add a layer of impact vs. a conventional SMS message.


77% of customers said they opted into a company's text messages to find out about new promotions.

MMS messaging is ideal for promotions because you can add visuals to your upcoming promotion and engage your customers with a more personalized approach.

When running a flash sale, texting is the best way to get the word out. Because your sale will only be for a limited time, the quickness of a text is a valuable way to alert your customers of a limited time offer and increase your conversion rates.

Reduce the number of abandoned carts

You have done all the hard work to attract customers to your website and interest them in what you are selling. The last step is to make sure they don't abandon the cart.

You can send them text messages reminding them of the goods they left in the cart and include enticing offers to get them across the finish line!


By sending coupons over text, your customers will feel a more personalized and legitimate approach and be more likely to redeem. Beyond that, coupons sent through text can be redeemed online with a few taps, making online shopping more likely thanks to a texted coupon's power.

Special Events

Texting is a great way to tell customers about the cool stuff your business is doing relevant to them. A tent sale, community fundraiser, or even special hours are significant events that can be conveyed to customers with a fun text.

Want to learn more?

Now that you know the difference between SMS and MMS and the value of using each, you can begin planning your text campaigns to engage your customers further.

Texting is a great way to add a personal touch to your sales, operations, customer service, and marketing efforts and create a great one to one conversation with your customers.

Have other questions? Reach out to us at Avochato to learn more about utilizing text for your business.