The Truth About MMS
We all know a picture is worth a thousand words, so why when it comes to mobile messaging are we still using 160 characters? It likely has to do with the fact that when MMS first emerged in the market, there were numerous misconceptions that prevented us from utilizing the mobile messaging technology.
So, has anything changed? Are we selling ourselves short by not using a more vibrant messaging technology? The misconceptions that were once applied to MMS do not exist any more. Now, new advanced platforms that enable extended MMS functionality are leading the charge to be the next-generation mobile messaging solution. So let’s break down some of the myths surrounding MMS, and consider why image- and video-based messaging should be used as part of our mobile toolkits in the future.
Myth 1: Not all phones are compatible with MMS
We are cautious when using MMS in our mobile strategy because we assume that certain carriers and mobile devices don’t support MMS technology. Did you know that 99 per cent of mobile phones have the capability to accept MMS in the United States? In the digital age today, there is a wide net of new mobile devices that are being introduced to consumers constantly. During the past couple of years, there have been enhancements in infrastructures that have led vendors to adopt and extend MMS across all major carriers.
Myth 2: MMS is expensive
We often judge MMS based on its unpleasant history with premium-based messaging. For this reason, we tend to associate the technology with greater costs when compared with SMS. But in the last couple of years, in fact, MMS technology has decreased in cost.
When aiming for lower costs, MMS needs to be evaluated from both the user’s and the marketer’s perspective. From a user’s perspective, costs associated with MMS are based on standard messaging rates. MMS is offered in most messaging packages, so users don’t have to worry about being charged extra.
From our perspective, sending MMS messages is based on a per-message cost model, with extra costs resulting from developing content for the campaign. Brands often fail to recognize that MMS is a cost-efficient solution with a high potential for revenue in the form of sponsorships and advertising. For example, you can send an alert to your customer, and at the same time include a brand-sponsored promotion.
Myth 3: MMS and SMS are the same
We tend to believe that SMS and MMS are the same messaging technology when a link is included in a 160-character message where users can download rich content through a data plan. This is false, because MMS is a push technology that does not require mobile devices to have a data plan enabled in order to receive rich content.
Did you know that MMS enables 96 per cent of mobile devices in the market to receive rich content? In order to download rich content through SMS, users must have a data-plan enabled, which, according to comScore, only 41.1 per cent of mobile phones do. Using MMS allows marketers to drive rich content to almost all handsets at standard messaging rates. With SMS, we are limited by the number of characters we can send users in a text.
Myth 4: MMM messages suffer from low open rates
According to a 2010 Frost and Sullivan report, 97 per cent of SMS messages are opened, and 83 per cent are opened within the first hour. We are surprised to discover that open rates for MMS are the same as SMS, due to messaging behaviours. The primary difference with MMS is that users have an immediate emotional response to the content, compared to a simple text message. comScore data from 2011 show that SMS has redemption rates with coupons around 16 per cent, while with MMS, at Iris Mobile, we have seen conversion rates as high as 30 per cent.
Let’s face facts: SMS is a great way to send a simple message to your customers, but MMS is better. By engaging customers with images and video, you can make your marketing campaigns stronger and more effective.
Cezar Kolodziej is president & CEO of Iris Mobile