“Heads up, BFFs. It’s open season on liars and I’m hunting…”

– A

For all the fans of the show Pretty Little Liars, this would make sense (since A is a stalker who threatens the protagonists in the entire show)

When the TV show ran an MMS campaign, over 100,000 people signed up to receive texts and exclusive previews from A. 

The message was also extensively shared, which led to a spate of increased sign-ups. As a bonus, thanks to all the hype created by such messages, the viewer engagement on this show went by up 20%

This is an example of how a creative MMS can amplify your mobile marketing efforts. 

As per surveys, 86% of enterprise businesses use MMS marketing. Given these stats, chances are that your competitors are already yielding its benefits. 

If you haven’t planned on using MMS yet, it’s high time to do so. This is the guide to set you in the right direction. 

What is MMS Marketing?

MMS marketing a mobile marketing method that leverages MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) messages to communicate with prospects. 

MMS is an extension of SMS with the added benefit of being able to include multimedia content with the text. Typically, this content includes:

  • Images
  • Gifs
  • Videos
  • Audio clips (although this is quite rare now)

MMS marketing allows businesses to enhance their message/text with visuals to maximize their impact. 

Apart from the type of content, there are a few more differences that give MMS an edge over SMS.  

Key differences between MMS and SMS

Although both fall under the same messaging service, both are quite distinct. Here’s a summary of it:

GIF recommended dimensions

Why should businesses use MMS marketing?

1. Better conversions 

Human beings are wired to respond better to visuals than text. Hence, you are likely to see more conversions with a promotional message accompanied by graphics than a textual one. 

  • More engaging content (like MMS) generates conversions 70% of the time than passive textual content, which results in 36% conversions

Keeping this in mind, BMW Germany ran a comprehensive MMS campaign in 2008. The objective was to promote their winter tires to a database of nearly 120,000 people. 

The campaign resulted in generating a revenue of nearly $45million in sales. That’s a conversion rate of around 30%.

Just to give you an idea, the conversion rate of a cold calling campaign (using an exceptional call center software), is approximately 2-3%

2. More opt-ins

If a business is looking to get more sign-ups, they will be able to build more substantial databases with multimedia messages than regular texts. 

  • MMS has a 20% higher opt-in rate than SMS.

A study A/B testing with MMS and SMS campaigns showed that the former resulted in more opt-ins. The reason for these results is similar to the point made above; people are drawn to visual content. 

3. Higher shares.

The more shares a message receives, the more awareness, traffic, and opt-ins it can drive. The same study that conducted A/B tests between text messages and multimedia messages also concluded that people were more likely to share visual content.

  • Users are 8 times more likely to share MMS than plain texts. 

This figure is too high for businesses to ignore. 

Hence, when sending an MMS, ensure that you include a link (for traffic) and the process to opt-in for someone who might be seeing the message for the first time. 

MMS Marketing Best practices

MMS marketing is not just about sending a good picture with your message. There are certain best practices that you need to follow if you want the best results. 

These practices are defined by three critical factors: 

Considering these elements, let’s dive into the recommendations for each type of multimedia message.

Static images recommendations

File size: 

For static images, the suitable file size ranges from 350 KB (the minimum) to 1.2 MB (maximum). The recommended size would be around 900 KB to 1 MB. 

Larger images may be incompatible with most phones and may even cost more. The smaller ones may lead to low image quality and poor user experience. So stick to the recommended size guidelines.

Dimensions

On most mobile screens, the optimal image size has an aspect ratio of 9:16. Keeping that in mind, the best dimensions for a picture would be 640px X 1138px. If you want to include more information, visuals with dimensions 1080px X 1920px also fit well. 

To give you an idea, the display dimensions of an iPhone 7 plus phone are 1080 X 1920 px. Here is what your image looks like:

Static image recommendation

The larger dimensions fill up the screen entirely while the smaller one gives you room to add text, which will be visible on the screen without having to scroll it. 

Preview area: 

For 640 X 1138 px, the image is cut 129px and 89px from the top and bottom respectively.   

For 1080 X 1920 px, on the other hand, phones typically snip 219px on the top and 150 px at the bottom. In these cases, aim to keep your content of interest in the orange area in the figure below:

Static image preview area

Additional tips when sending static images

  • Use the JPG file format: Images with JPG extension are usually smaller in size. Plus, it is also easy to resize them without losing the detailing of the image significantly. 
  • Don’t use too many colors: Try to use images with fewer colors and gradients. This increases the size unnecessarily as there is more information to be stored in each pixel.  
  • Avoid adding too much text on the visual: Use the image just to catch the prospect’s eye. Having too much content on it can make it too complicated to comprehend. Plus, you cannot add links to it. Use the space below to write a compelling message with a link that customers can take action on.  

Animated gifs recommendations

File Size:

Animated gifs are quite complicated since they are neither images nor videos. Their size range can be anything between the overall permissible file size of an MMS. However, the best practice is to keep it between 500 KB to 600 KB. 

Since gifs display frames per second, they consume more data for transmission than static images. Hence, we aim for a gif to be at least half the size of a picture. 

Dimensions:

While you can use large images, it’s recommended to keep the aspects of the gifs smaller to save on its size. You can either go for a rectangular layout or a square one. 

  • For square gifs, 640px X 640px or 480px X 480px are preferred dimensions. 
  • For rectangular ones, you can go with 480px X 720px or 480px X 640px. 

Keeping the display of an iPhone 7 plus phone as a reference, here’s what they will look like on the screen:

GIF recommended dimensions

The smaller measurements can be chosen for gifs with more animation (usually with 3 or 4 screens per second). The larger ones are suitable for fewer animations (2-3 frames per second). 

Preview area:

For each gif size, the area that will be snipped out will be different, which is as follows:

  • 480px by 720px: 39 px at the top, bottom, and right and 44px on the left. 
  • 480px by 640px: 65px at the top and 58px at the bottom. On the left and right side, 39 px is cut off. 
  • 640px by 640px: The top, right, and the bottom are snipped off by 52px. The left side is reduced by 58px. 
  • 480px by 480px: 39px at the top, right, and bottom and 43 px on the left of the gif. 
GIF preview area

Additional tips when sending GIFs

  • Limit the animation to 3-4 frames/sec: Lower the frames/sec, lesser the data will be used. Even though the gif might appear choppy, it will still do well with the user experience.  
  • Don’t use too many colors: Similar to static images, adding too many colors or gradients in a gif also increases the file size. Plus, it will also require more data for transmission and add to the cost. 
  • Avoid transparency: A lot of devices may not display the transparent aspects of the gif. Hence, it’s best to avoid them to ensure it’s displayed correctly across all phones. 

Video recommendations

File size:

The maximum size of an MMS that can be received by all devices is 3.5 MB. While you can set this as a limit for your video file, we suggest you aim for a size between 2-3 MB as a practice. 

Keep your videos under 20 seconds while maintaining a maximum rate of 30 frames per second. Videos under 20 seconds are delivered in HD quality in most phones, which adds to the customer experience.

Dimensions:

With videos, you have the flexibility to go with a horizontal or a vertical layout. Since it’s a common practice, people wouldn’t mind turning their phones to view a video horizontally. 

For videos, it’s recommended to maintain an aspect ratio of 16:9. Based on this, the dimensions of a video in the portrait mode should be 640px X 1138 px, whereas horizontally, it should be 1280px X 720 px

On an iPhone 7 plus, the videos will be seen in this way:

Video recommended dimensions

Preview area:

In the case of videos, the preview area doesn’t come into play. Phones do not show a preview of the video in the notifications bar. Prospects will have to open the messaging app to watch it.

Moreover, even if the dimensions are chipped off in the preview, the prospect will know it is a video and will have to open the app to view it.

Additional tips when sending videos

  • Stick to using a .mp4 file: MP4 files require low bandwidth for transmission and playing, which makes them suitable for both the sender and the receiver. Plus, it also can be resized without its resolution being reduced significantly. Alternatively, you can also use a .mov format that leverages the same codec. 
  • Send videos that don’t depend on sound: Assume that most of your prospects won’t have their sound on. Hence, while making a video, make sure that people can comprehend it without the sound too. However, we understand that this may not always be possible. In such cases, make sure to include a starter screen (or a tip in the text) urging people to increase their phone’s volume.

Other components of an MMS

Apart from the multimedia, there are other elements of an MMS that you should also focus on to maximize its impact. Here’s an example of an MMS promoting the end of season sale for a clothing company: 

MMS marketing promotion example

Breaking it down, we see the two critical content components that you need to work on: 

1. Subject Line

The subject line in an MMS is an additional feature that isn’t available for SMS. It appears in bold over the graphic within the MMS and below the number/name in the message preview.  

MMS marketing subject line

The subject line is a critical content component of your message since it is the first thing a user sees (apart from your name/number). Hence, it’s essential to craft a compelling title that increases the customer’s curiosity and drives them to open the message. Also, you have to come up with a line that does not exceed the permitted character limit, which is 64 characters. 

Tips for crafting an MMS subject line:
  • Use titles that spark urgency: Urgency is a psychological trigger deep-rooted in our brains. Communicating urgency or scarcity in a title prompts people to act on it immediately. Apart from that, adding a touch of curiosity also adds to the impact. A few examples of such subject lines are: 
  • Only 2 more hours…then the secret’s out!
  • Last day to save big on…
  • Tonight only: A denim lover’s dream
  • Use emojis: Visuals work great everywhere, and MMS subject lines are no exceptions to it. Adding an emoji to your title can make it more catchy and encourage people to read it and ultimately open it. However, ensure that the emojis you use are relevant to the subject. For instance, if we had to embellish the examples above, this how we could do it:
  • Only 2 more hours…then the secret’s 🤫 out! 
  • Last day to save big on…🤔
  • Tonight only: A denim lover’s 👖💕dream
  • Personalize the subject line: Personalized subject lines resonate better with prospects and have a proven success rate. When sending an MMS, you can add some level of personalization like the prospect’s name, using tags. 

2. Message body 

The next content component of your MMS is the message body. The body appears below your graphic in the message, as shown below:  

MMS body sample

The message body is where the prospect is encouraged to take action. This could be either clicking a link to sign up, redirect to a website, or share the message with others. 

A unique advantage in an MMS body is that the character limit is 1600 characters. This gives you sufficient room to be creative with your copy and include a lot of information. 

Tips for crafting an MMS message body:
  • Keep it short: While the character limit may seem appealing, make sure you don’t go overboard with the message. Keeping it short and concise provides better results than longer copies since the latter may get overwhelming and lose the reader’s interest. When crafting a message, try to split it between the graphic and the body.  
  • Promote social sharing: MMS is costly, and getting people to forward them to others may not be as appealing. However, sharing it on social channels is convenient and can get you a lot of traction from their networks. Therefore, it’s recommended to include a CTA in your body that makes it easy for them to distribute the message on social media. 
Promote social sharing in MMS

To conclude

Crafting the perfect MMS marketing message that works for you takes a lot of thought and work. Hopefully, the article has guided you in the right direction. 

Sign up for the CallHub mass texting solution and get started on your MMS marketing campaign today. 

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