What Are The Main Differences Between SMS Vs MMS?


We all hear notification sounds from our phones and other phones also. Most of the time it is  a message from a brand, organisation or government. These messages can be a SMS or a MMS.

What are they and why do we need them? SMS and MMS are two methods of communicating information to the target audience. They sound similar but they are very different on many bases. For example SMS provides you with a shorter character limit than or Like MMS allows you to send pictures and videos etc. 

Today we will be doing a comparison as SMS vs MMS. With a purpose to answer most of our queries and clear all the confusions we have in our mind. Also we will see its suitability in accordance with different sectors. So, Let us start. 

What Is SMS?

SMS is a short term used for Short Messaging Service. It is a common service that is available on all mobiles. It allows you to communicate in text within a limit of 160 characters. The first SMS was sent by Neil Papworth and it was “Merry Christmas”. SMS is the oldest mobile marketing tool. In 2013, SMS messaging business was worth around $240 Billion which is responsible for half of the mobile marketing.

What Is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. It can be considered as an updated version of the short messaging services. Because it allows you to send a message with a limit of 1600 characters. Also it allows you to send images and videos in messages which was the major drawback of SMS. Commercialization of MMS was done in the first quarter of 2002.

With the time a number of alternatives came in the market and because of that many telecom companies discontinued the MMS service. 

What Is Difference Between SMS vs MMS

There are a number of differences between SMS vs MMS. We will be discussing all of them one by one and they are:

  • SMS is known as Short Message Service whereas MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service.
  • Images or Videos appear as links in SMS and they appear as Image or video in MMS.
  • On the one hand all telecommunication service providers support SMS but not all of them support sending MMS.
  • SMS are mainly used for informing the receiver but MMS is majorly used for increasing customer engagement with business.
  • One cannot disable the SMS but MMS service can be disabled.
  • In the United States around $6 billion SMS are sent daily and around $18.7 billion  globally.


Key FactorSMSMMS
1. InventionFriedhelm Hillebrand invented SMS in 1992.Sony Ericsson was first to release a phone with an MMS feature.
2. MeaningSMS includes only texts.MMS includes text, image and videos.
3. CostCost of sending a SMS is very low.Sending a MMS is more costly than a SMS. 
4. Number Of CharactersYou can send up to 160 characters in a SMS.MMS enables you to send 1600 characters.
5. Images And VideosSMS does not support sending images and videos.MMS allows you to send images and videos.
6. PopularitySMS is much more popular than MMS.MMS is not that much popular as much as SMS
7. TransferSMS is transmitted over cellular networks.MMS transfers with the help of the internet.
8. CompatibilityAll devices are compatible with SMS features.Not all devices are compatible with MMS features.
9.Sectors Using ItBanking, healthcare and telecommunication sectors prefer SMS.Education, restaurants and hospitality sectors prefer MMS.
10.Conversion RatesConversion rate for SMS is around 12 to 15%.Conversion rate is normally high and it is around 30% percent for MMS.
11. File Size SMS is around 1Kb.MMS files size between 3 KB to 5MB.

After doing the SMS vs MMS comparison, it is time to check which sector prefers SMS and MMS. 

Also Read: 7+ B2B Marketing Strategies For A Dynamic Growth

Sectors Using SMS

Almost all the sectors use SMS. But some of them use it regularly and they are as:

1. Banking and Finance

Banking sector relies on SMS very much as it uses it to inform the customers about their account status. It uses SMS for telling account balance, generating OTPs and digital verification. Also, it informs the clients about any schemes on accounts and loans.

2. Healthcare

SMS is a valuable tool in healthcare. It plays an important role in conveying information about prescriptions, vaccinations and doctor’s appointments. It also helps them to create a position among the patients as it makes them feel that the hospital cares about them

3. Telecommunication

SMS is an effective tool for telecommunication companies as it helps them to spread any changes in the policies, prices or any kind of disturbance in the network. It also enables them to conduct feedback services regarding their services.

4. Government Institutions

For conveying information on a large scale they use SMS. Like in COVID19 information about vaccines are given through SMS. In case of emergency, the government also sends emergency alerts through this.

5. Non-Profit Organisations

Non profit organisations use SMS marketing because it is cheaper and simple. Non profit organisations use sms for greetings, raising donations or information about any event. It plays an important role for them. For example sms for Walk for Autism raised almost £84000 for autistic patients.

Sectors Using MMS

Yes, everyone uses SMS but there are many sectors which prefer sending MMS. Some of them are as:

1. Education

Educational institutions use MMS because of the fact that they have to share files, images and clips and other things so as to enable a student to study. By ensuring proper use of MMS can create a more engaging and attractive environment for students and parents too.

2. Hospitality

Hospitality sector prefers because it becomes easier for them to convey their information via visual tools like images and videos. For example hotels prefer MMS as they can show pictures of the rooms, lawns, pool and dining area.

3. Real Estate

Making a sale in the real estate industry is very difficult as you cannot convey the idea of a house, flat or any property only through words. It needs some visuals to impress and convenience the potential customer. For this purpose real estate agents use MMS to share images and videos with the clients.

4. Restaurant and food services

Using multimedia messages can create a curiosity among the customers to try new dishes or make bookings. It also enables the enterprise to run some attractive and eye-catching campaigns over the phone. Using MMS effectively can lead to a great increment in the revenue.

5. Entertainment Sector

Entertainment sector rarely uses sms. Because it cannot convey their thoughts to the receiver properly. Entertainment enterprises use MMS as it enables them to send information via images and videos to the customers.

Which One Is Right For Your Business SMS Or MMS?

Each business operates in its own kind of environment. Although we have done the SMS vs MMS thing, we can not decide on the basis of that only. Because there are many other factors which affect their use. So we will separate them in two parts and then check the analysis.

A. Using SMS

SMS is a great choice if you think that it will be good and possible to convey your information in text only. Also, that it can be conveyed easily within the limit of 160 characters. Business should know its client and if they don’t have a compatible device for MMS, SMS should be used. Also in business where timely updates are necessary SMS is suitable. SMS is a cheap tool and has good scalability. 

B. Using MMS

MMS is an expensive tool and for enterprises having good funds, it is suitable for them. MMS is also suitable when your business needs sharing images and videos. Also for long messages it can be more cost effective to send a single mms than sending multiple sms. Also MMS have 15 to 20% higher engagement rate than SMS.


So, the conclusion is that both the tools are effective and neither of them is right or wrong, it is up to the business which one to choose. Both of them have their own pros and cons, which he have gone through in the SMS vs MMS part.

Before selecting any of them, take some time and choose wisely which one suits your marketing campaign the most. Only thing that will get you an edge over your competitors is your creativity with the tool. 

At last in order to make your efforts more fruitful, businesses should conduct a proper market research and with a test run of the planned things.

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