SMS and MMS Differences

SMS and MMS messaging are two types of messages in the text messaging industry. SMS, or short messaging system, and MMS, or multimedia messaging system, both have their pros and cons, but we will go in-depth about each type of message so that you will have everything you need going forward when it comes to these two message types.

SMS messages are text-only messages that have 160 character limits. Anything over the 160 character limit will be broken into separate statements. MMS messages are what you probably think they are, and they allow you to send multimedia such as pictures, videos, and GIFs. MMS also allows up to 1600 characters of text in a single message. 

While from the outside looking in, MMS appears to have the best options for text messaging, once you dig into SMS messaging and all that it has to offer from a business standpoint, you may be surprised at how well it stacks up to the MMS message.

SMS Messaging

what is sms

A dive into SMS messaging will give you more insight into the short messaging system and all that it has to offer. As stated above, SMS is a text-only message that has a 160 character limit for each letter. An SMS message will be short and to the point, and it will convey a clear and concise message to the recipient. 

SMS messaging is also cheaper than MMS texting, and with cell phone companies offering unlimited text messaging for almost all of their customers, there is no cost to the consumer. If you send an image in an SMS message, the image will appear as a link that the recipient must click on to be routed to the image home, making sending images still possible with SMS messaging.

SMS messages are cheaper than MMS messaging because they do not have as much data being sent, and the letters are shorter. SMS is also something to look into if you are implementing new campaigns where you plan on many new customers. Using SMS over MMS can help grow your business marketing at a low cost with the influx of new customers.

SMS messages are also suitable for transactional texts, which are for order confirmations and also tracking packages. Other uses of transactional texts are password reset codes and additional information related to password resets. These options need minimal text characters and no multimedia, which makes SMS an obvious decision. 


  • Cheaper SMS messages can help convey a short message or tracking information and save money at a more affordable price.
  • The character limit could be of benefit because it will get straight to the point, and consumers will not have to read through a lot of text of pictures and videos to reach the end.
  • SMS is the only messaging system that can reach all phones in the world. Some people do not have MMS capability, but everyone has SMS.
  • You will save time and money with SMS: No hiring graphic designers to elaborate messages, just a simple text relaying important information.


  • If more people gain access to MMS messaging, it could give away its distinct advantage in that category.
  • Videos, pictures, and GIFs are what grab people’s attention, some people may not think twice about a text, but an image or other media will catch someone’s attention.

MMS Messaging

what is mms

MMS messaging, or multimedia messaging, is a text message that allows you to send several different media types. Those include pictures, videos, and GIFs that will enable you to instantly get the attention of someone. MMS images show up directly in your message instead of in link form, which SMS messages do, 

MMS messages cost more than SMS messages, but they also provide you with more options; therefore, a hike in price is expected. The difference is pricing varies between companies, so make sure to check the prices to get exact numbers,

MMS messaging also allows up to 1600 characters when sending a message compared to only 160 with SMS. Those extra characters will allow you to send more content to someone in a single notification, rather than having to send multiple messages to get your content delivered. 

While there are several things that MMS messages provide that SMS messages do not, one thing that could cause problems is that not all people can receive MMS messages, which would be an issue if sending out texts to many individuals.


  • 1,600 text characters allow you to send out plenty of information inside a single message instead of over multiple messages.
  • Being able to send media such as pictures is a distinct advantage because it quickly catches the eye of those receiving the message.
  • All media goes directly into the news instead of as a link.


  • You will have to hire a graphic designer to produce the product that will go in the messages consistently.
  • More expensive, providing the options for MMS messages to come at a price higher than SMS messaging.
  • Not everyone has the capability to receive MMS messages, the numbers are going up, but SMS still outnumbers MMS at the moment. 

Advantage of SMS over MMS

SMS messaging may not have the capability to provide the things that MMS messaging does such as GIFs, but SMS has several strong qualities that make it the way you want to go as a company looking to expand your text marketing. The obvious starting point is the pricing. Being able to save money and still produce quality messaging that gets the consumer all of the information they need is key. 


Another great advantage is that with SMS messaging, you are able to access anyone with a cellphone, as opposed to those who only have MMS capable devices. SMS is the only technology that can connect through every telephone in the world as a whole. MMS, on the other hand, does not have that capability. 

SMS messages are also trackable using delivery reports. Unlike emails, you can track the messages’ delivery and see what messaging works best for you when sending to particular consumers. 

Which is Better for My Business?

SMS messages are the most widely used, mainly because they have been around for over 30 years. They are tried and true and provide you with instant messaging to the consumer as well as relay your information instantaneously. Some things that you can deliver to clients over SMS at a cheaper cost than MMS include:

  • Promo codes 
  • Special offers
  • Updates
  • Business information

MMS messaging allows you to send videos and pictures and will enable you to expand your horizons as you attempt to reach those people in a unique way that differs from others, but at a higher cost.

When deciding what messaging system you want for your business, set out a list of goals you want to accomplish with your messaging campaign. Will a text-only messaging campaign bring in what you are expecting? Will a visual message better convey your message? Knowing your goals can help your company save time and money.

There are so many different ways that you can go when it comes to either MMS or SMS messaging, so make sure you have all the information you need before making that crucial decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still don’t know which to decide on, take a look at our list of frequently asked questions.

Q: Can an SMS message send the same information as an MMS message?

A: In a way, it can, but it does not have the bells and whistles that MMS does. You can send the same content, but it will more than likely be broken up into multiple messages, and any media will be sent as a link and not shown directly in the statement.

Q: What makes MMS messages more expensive than SMS messages?

A: The ability to use multimedia such as pictures, videos, and GIFs inside of the message and the fact that you can send 1600 characters versus the SMS message cap of 160 make this a pricier option. Whether or not you find this necessary for your target goal is totally up to you.

Q: What is the difference between SMS and MMS?

A: The main differences are that SMS messages are cheaper, but contain limitations. MMS messages have the capability to send more information and multimedia out into a single note, but come at a higher cost.

In Conclusion 

By now, you have come to see the differences between SMS and MMS messages and have probably been able to determine which one you want to proceed with. It all comes down to preference in the end if you wish to save money and go with SMS messaging, or put more money into it and get the extra amenities that MMS messaging provides.

Each one gives you something that the other cannot, and as you look to make a final decision, it comes down to what is needed for your business to make the decision. Do you want to reach a wide range of people at once? Do you have a specific group you want to target? These are questions that you must ask yourself as you decide between the two messaging systems.

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