What’s Better… SMS Messages or MMS Picture Messages?

August 26, 2019 Tips, Tricks & Ideas

The other day, I got a great question from a Betwext Pro User – Dave.

SMS Messages or MMS Picture Messages>

He’s been using SMS marketing for some time.  He’s had great success using texting to drive customers back to his chain of Pubs.  

Check out the case study we did a few months back.

How One Chain of Pubs Uses Text Message Marketing to Skyrocket Repeat Customer Visits!

He had a great question… 

He asked if we had any concrete data on people interacting more with Picture MMS messages over a text only sms and a link.

It’s a very interesting question… and, as a text marketing pro, maybe you had the exact same question!  

If so this article is for you!

First let me flag an issue.

The evil carriers are starting to flag, and filter, more and more messages as spam.  Our quick rule of thumb is… if you are texting on a long code, sending MMS messages with a picture to more than 200 people at a time can result in increased carrier filtering.

Unfortunately they sometimes see these messages as spam.  

We’re hoping the new texting standards set by the carriers (yet to be rolled out) help eliminate this filtering.  We’re waiting to hear more from the carriers in the next few months. When we do, you’ll be the first to know.

Now that the ugliness is out of the way… 

We have hundreds of customers using MMS messages.  One agency I recently spoke with ONLY sends MMS messages and they report their engagement rates are great… but of course I couldn’t get them to share numbers.

So, I’m not sure what “Great Metrics” are exactly.  

Anecdotally, I see a lot of customers switching back and forth from text to pictures and back to text… then back to pictures.  

My thinking is… if one format significantly outperformed the other, we’d see them all stick to the one format full time.

So, it makes me think the MMS picture messages vs SMS text only is a coin toss on results.

I’ve done a bit of testing in our own accounts and I have NOT seen significant variances in click rates or engagement with the MMS graphics.

I’ve come to believe engagement on the text marketing level is more about nurturing the client relationship.  Increased engagement is more of a result of how you interact over time… more than an individual message – be it an MMS picture or SMS text.

Now, let me add one wrinkle.

With MMS messages you can send a much longer text messages… WITHOUT a picture or graphic.  These extended text messages can reach up to 600 characters. Remember these longer messages do cost a few pennies more.

I’ve seen slightly better click rates with the longer messages.

Sidenote: If you’re a betwext.com client, and you want to send out extended text messages, reach out to customer service and they can enable your account with the flip of a switch!

Improvements are just a few percentage points.  And, honestly, I’m a bit suspect of the data because it was not a true A/B split test.    

My assumption is, the longer texts probably allow you to share more complete thoughts… and people are better able to understand your messaging!

At the end of the day, you’ll hear the usual refrain… Test it for yourself.

The truth about what’s more effective – SMS text only messages and MMS picture messages – is about as clear as mud!

If you run a test, send me your results (Brian@Betwext.com), and we’ll update our blog post with real world examples.

Did you like this article on text message marketing?  If so, you should download our free book about text marketing for small business… 

The Ultimate Guide to Text Message Marketing.

The Ultimate Guide To Text Marketing

We cover everything you need to know, soup to nuts!

You can download it free – right here: https://text.betwext.us/ebook-mobile-marketing/