Catching your customer’s eye is essential. That’s why texting through SMS and MMS has become a go-to method for many companies looking to stand out. 

Both offer unique benefits and can be incredibly powerful when used correctly. But before you start sending messages, it’s important to understand what makes SMS and MMS different. Understanding these differences can help you pick the right approach for each situation. 

In this article, we’ll explain the differences between SMS and MMS messages and give you insights on how to use each messaging type to suit your business needs best.

Get Started With Business Texting

View our pricing, and start your free trial with Textellent today!

What is SMS?

SMS (Short Message Service) allows businesses to send brief messages to their customers’ mobile phones and doesn’t require a mobile internet connection. SMS operates directly through your mobile network connection, unlike widely used messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, which require WiFi or mobile data connection. 

This means you can efficiently reach a broad customer base when sending appointment reminders, promotions, or quick updates. 

What is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. It expands upon SMS’s capabilities and allows you to send multimedia content like images, videos, and audio files. 

It is ideal for when you need to send more detailed and expressive messages. However, it requires a mobile device that supports MMS and often a data plan.

Key Differences Between SMS and MMS

When choosing between SMS and MMS, it’s helpful to understand their main differences:

File Attachments

SMS does not support file attachments. If you need to send a document, photo, or audio file, SMS won’t be able to handle it.

MMS message, on the other hand, supports a variety of file attachments. This means you can easily send images, short video clips, audio files, and even certain documents as part of your message. It’s useful for sending a visual guide, a quick video explanation, or a voice memo.

Character Limits

If you type more than 160 characters, SMS may get broken up into multiple segments depending on the carrier being used to deliver the message. 

For instance, a 164-character message would be split into one segment of 160 characters followed by another shorter follow-on message. These segments are chained together and sent sequentially, which can be awkward for the recipient. 

This segmentation might impact how the message is displayed on the recipient’s device, sometimes causing parts of the message to appear out of order.

MMS allows for much greater flexibility. Although the exact character limit can vary between carriers, many modern VoIP services support up to 1,600 characters in a single MMS. 

This extended limit lets you send longer messages, but more importantly, MMS messages let you include an image, which could cover details better than a lengthy message without worrying about breaking them into smaller parts.


SMS is generally less expensive than MMS because SMS messages consist solely of text, which requires very little data to send. As a result, many texting providers include a large number of SMS messages for a relatively low fee. Therefore, SMS is a practical option for sending frequent or bulk text messages.

MMS, on the other hand, typically incurs a slightly higher cost per message compared to SMS but can have an outsized impact due to the appeal of images. The difference in cost is simply due to the larger amount of data required to send multimedia content such as images, videos, and audio files. 

Additionally, because an MMS message can include more detailed and complex information, the cost reflects the increased resource usage. 

Carriers typically charge more for MMS, and not all plans include  MMS messaging or if they do they may limit the number of MMS messages available, which can add up if you’re sending multimedia content regularly.

Why Use SMS?

SMS messaging is versatile and universally accessible, which makes it a powerful tool for reaching a wide audience quickly. You may use SMS for the following reasons:

  • Ideal for sending concise, direct messages
  • Effective even in areas with poor or no internet connectivity
  • Generally less expensive, making it suitable for high-volume messaging
  • Reliable for urgent or time-sensitive communications

Why Use MMS?

MMS messaging improves your ability to communicate more expressively, especially when visuals are critical to the message’s purpose. Here’s why you should try it:

  • Perfect for including images or videos that add significant value to the message
  • Useful for sending information that benefits from multimedia elements
  • Great for creating more engaging and interactive content that captures attention
  • Ideal for delivering messages that require visual aids like tutorials or diagrams

SMS Use Cases

SMS is handy for its simplicity and ability to reach anyone with a mobile phone. It’s ideal for transactional or auto-reply text messages where engagement isn’t necessary, but getting the text message across reliably is critical. You can make the most of SMS when sending:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Service alerts
  • Sales promotions
  • Order updates
  • Event reminders
  • Emergency alerts
  • Common customer support responses

MMS Use Cases

MMS takes your communications to the next level by adding a visual or audio element, which makes messages more engaging and informative. It’s ideal for messages such as:

  • Product showcases
  • Personalized promotions
  • Event highlights
  • Instructional content
  • Holiday & birthday greetings
  • Interactive content

Choosing Which Messaging Option Fits Your Needs

Deciding between SMS and MMS for your communication needs boils down to understanding your audience, your message, and the context in which you’re communicating. Here’s how to decide which fits the job best:

Consider Your Content

If your message is simple and text-based, SMS is your go-to. 

However, if your message could benefit from visuals—like photos, videos, or audio—MMS will serve you better. It can turn a basic message into something more engaging and memorable.

Think About Your Audience

Know your audience’s capabilities and preferences. MMS can be a great choice if your audience uses modern smartphones and often interacts with multimedia content. 

But if you’re dealing with a broad audience where some may not have the latest tech, or if the area’s network support to receive MMS messages isn’t strong, sticking to SMS might be more practical.

Evaluate Cost Constraints

If budget is a concern, remember that SMS marketing costs less than MMS. 

Even though it may cost more to send MMS, it may have greater impact. IN either casethe cost difference can add up when sending multiple SMS messages in large volumes, such as promotional alerts or text blasts or MMS messages. Choose wisely based on how much you’re willing to invest in your messaging.

Determine the Desired Interaction

If you’re aiming for a higher level of interaction or a more personal touch, MMS might be worth the extra penny. 

It’s more likely to draw attention and provoke responses, especially in marketing and promotional campaigns.

Make Your Messages Attention-Grabbing with Textellent

With Textellent, you can take your SMS marketing to the next level by incorporating images, videos, and audio into your messages. 

Textellent capabilities

Textellent makes it easy with its extensive media library. You have the option to upload your own visuals or choose from a huge selection already available on the platform. This feature is ideal for crafting promotional messages that reflect your brand’s unique identity and connect meaningfully with your audience.

Interested in seeing the difference it can make? Sign up for a free trial or request a demo consultation.


Both SMS and MMS have their place in every business’s communication toolbox, each bringing different strengths to the table. Knowing when to use SMS messages for simplicity and when to switch to MMS for impact ensures your messages are recognized and catch attention. 

So, think about what you need to communicate, and choose the method that best suits your message and audience.

FAQs About SMS vs MMS

Is there a risk of spam with SMS and MMS?

Like any messaging service, there’s a risk of messages being perceived as spam. To avoid this, make sure your messages provide value and are sent to an audience that has opted to receive them. It’s also important to comply with regulations like the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) in the U.S.

Can international messaging be affected when using SMS or MMS?

Yes, sending SMS or MMS messages internationally can involve additional costs and compatibility issues, depending on the carrier and the destination country. Always check with your service provider about international capabilities and rates.

Are there accessibility considerations for SMS and MMS?

Yes, it’s important to consider accessibility. SMS can be easily accessed with text-to-speech software for visually impaired users. MMS messages containing images or videos should include text descriptions or captions to ensure the information is accessible to those with visual impairments.