MMS Marketing Best Practices

Are you planning on sending a mass MMS marketing campaign with SendHub? If not, you should really jump on the bandwagon. Your audience is more likely to open a text than an email. When it comes to texting, users are more likely to open and engage with a dynamic image or video. Afterall, a picture says a thousand words. MMS captures your readers attention. Marketers around the globe have already been convinced that MMS marketing shows great results. The American and Canadian markets are picking it up at a fast pace now too. 

Take Time To Plan Your MMS Message

It’s important to take a moment to really stop and plan out the details of your MMS marketing campaign. Thoughtful images help your message get delivered. Sending an image that’s too large, for example, will cost you and not get delivered.

Your recipients use many different phone carriers. Most all the major US phone carriers accept MMS messages, within their own unique requirements. Additionally, the audience you are texting uses multiple iPhone and Android devices that also receive MMS messages differently.

Detail Matters with MMS

MMS marketing takes attention to detail, as anything else in marketing. If you’re a marketer, then you’re already used to editing your promotional images to fit the requirements of different uses such as how your website images and videos differ in size and nature from those you share across social media, for example. MMS messaging is no different. 

There is a sweet spot when it comes to the MMS image requirements, but even if you follow all suggestions, there’s still a chance that your recipient may have an older phone that simply doesn’t accept images.  This is very rare, but there are always those rare outliers who makeup maybe 1%. Also, carriers making up only 2% of the US market do not accept MMS from short codes. According to a Mashable article:

“Nearly every phone shipped in the past 2 years in the US from the top US carriers came pre-loaded with MMS capability integrated into the device. Today, this equates to over 2,700 unique mobile devices in the marketplace and over 180 million consumers with MMS-capable mobile phones based on Mogreet’s 2009 Mobile Device survey. This means that most wireless subscribers today can universally receive video MMS on their mobile phones! Furthermore, consumers on nearly all carriers (not just the big four) can send and receive MMS.”

With all of that being said, SendHub has five suggestions to help you succeed with MMS marketing. 

Five Best Practices for MMS Marketing

While MMS marketing is more striking and successful, it comes at a higher cost. Additionally, it takes a bit more effort to find with sweet spot with your attached file. If you put in the effort and follow these five best practices for your next MMS marketing campaign, you’ll be glad you did.

#1 Pick Your Number Carefully!

In SMS & MMS marketing, the number you use to send your campaigns from is essential to the deliverability of that message. Your recipient’s phone carriers all have their own unique requirements and filters.

Sending bulk SMS marketing campaigns is best done through a special voice and text-enabled toll free number for a consistently branded line. However, due to rate-limits with high volume MMS campaigns, we suggest only sending to 250 recipients at once with toll free MMS. Additionally, the SMS marketing industry is moving toward toll-free texting for high volume bulk SMS marketing campaigns as a part of the most recent changes to the SMS market but high volume MMS is not yet supported on toll free. For high volume MMS marketing campaigns, we suggest using our shared short code.

At max, SendHub suggests not sending one message to more than 150 people per day on a regular US or Canadian local 10-digit long code number. Read below about SendHub’s  shared short code or dedicated short code (application pending) for bulk MMS.

MMS Marketing on a Canadian or US Long Code

SendHub offers SMS and MMS messaging as well as voice service in the United States and Canada. Therefore, we offer local 10-digit long code phone numbers for businesses to manage their business SMS and voice on one local number. 

SendHub offers MMS plans on our 10-digit local long code numbers, but you do not want to use a long code for sending high volume MMS campaigns.  Only use a local number if you are sending one message to fewer than 150 people per day. You especially do not want to send more than one mass SMS or MMS marketing campaign (aka group message on SendHub) per day.

While we do have some existing customers with older plans that have yet to expire, these older plans may allow for more than 150 recipients per SMS marketing campaign. Although you may be able to release messages from SendHub to your recipient’s carrier, doesn’t mean the message will be delivered. Each time you send a message, there is a cost so it goes against your usage even if it is not delievered. 

All new SendHub plans do not allow for more than 150 recipients per SMS blast on a standard 10-digit local number. 

Localized long code numbers are best used for small bulk messages and more appropriately they would be used for conversational texting as well as calling. Do you need to send and receive images? No problem, SendHub has you covered. In fact, we include inbound MMS messaging on all of our plans, but you have to be on a custom plan with MMS if you want to send outbound MMS.

Sending to over 150 recipients in one MMS Marketing Campaign

Have you received consent from more than 150 contacts that you want to send mass MMS marketing campaigns to? If you’re growing your list to over 150 contacts, then it’s time to upgrade to a custom plan to send MMS messages with a number that is compatible with sending mass MMS marketing campaigns with a special toll-free number or a short code.

MMS Marketing with Short Code

SendHub offers shared short code (pending application) and vanity or random short codes for high volume SMS and MMS messaging. Dedicated and random short codes are expensive so businesses use our shared short code for a more affordable option. A few things to keep in mind about short code for MMS is that US Cellular and Crickett users will not receive MMS on short code. This includes a very small portion of the market. Additionally, short codes can’t receive phone calls.

If you want to message from our shared short code (66555) please keep in mind that the number is shared with other organizations. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that you will receive any inbound messages that are sent 24 hours after your last SMS or MMS campaign. Shared short code is best for high volume outbound MMS or SMS campaigns.

#2 Design Your Masterpiece Images & Videos Using Suggested Image Recommendations

As mentioned above, all mobile messaging providers handle and accept images, videos, and animations differently. For these reasons, here are some recommendations for file sizes and types based on what is most likely to get delivered to your recipient, carrier and device.

MMS Messaging Images Size & Type Recommendations

With images, animations, and videos, every end-carrier will interpret them differently. As much tweaking as you do, remember there’s still a chance that 1-2% of your audience may not be able to receive MMS altogether. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to improve the likelihood of your image being received.

MMS Marketing Image Guidelines

For one, the image you include in your MMS marketing campaign message should be portrait, as almost all of the devices are vertical. Additionally, .JPG is the best format for an MMS image and do not exceed 500 KB. Finally, be sure to fine tune your image to 640 pixels x 1,138 pixels (9:16 aspect ratio). You could also use 1080 px by 1920 px for your standard image files. You can play with your image’s quality by reducing it from 100 to 60.

Some iPhones hide a certain portion of the top and bottom of your image in their “preview mode” which is how your recipient sees the image until they click on it. For this reason, do not include important information in the top 129 pixels or the bottom 89 pixels of your MMS image.

Keep your images simple. We recommend that you do not use gradients and also that you reduce the number of colors in your image. 

        Size & Type Recommendations for MMS Messaging with GIFs (Animated Images)

MMS Marketing GIF Guidelines

If you’re looking to send an animated MMS messages, it’s best to do so in .gif format. Be sure that you don’t have transparency as it does not display transparent on some devices. For animated GIFs, we recommend anywhere between 480 pixels x 480 pixels or 720 pixels high x 480 pixels. Specifically, we suggested the following for GIFs:

  • 480 px x 480 px (square)
  • 640 px x 640 px (square)
  • 480 px x 640 pc (tall)
  • 480 px x 720 px (tallest)

Keep your speed in mind. Try to keep your animated MMS GIF with a frame speed no faster than one every second. Try not to exceed 3-4 frames per second at the most. It will be a choppier effect, but there will be less data in each second, reducing your file size. No matter what MMS animated image you use, be sure not to exceed 520 KB.

MMS Video Message Size & Type Recommendations

Have you heard of the K.I.S.S. reference? It usually stands for “Keep It Simple, Silly.” In the case of an MMS marketing video messages, we’re rephrase it to, “Keep it Short, Silly.” SendHub recommends keeping videos to 20 seconds or less to make sure the majority of carriers receive it and phones display it. If possible, try to use 30 frames per second. MMS videos can be .MOV or .MP4 (h264/aac). For your video dimensions, we suggest vertical (portrait) MMS videos at 640 pixels wide x 1,138 pixels high (16:9 aspect ratio). If you decide to do a horizontal MMS video message, we recommend a 1,280 pixels wide by 720 pixels high, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

#3 Consider Your Content

In his Lettres Provinciales, the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal famously wrote, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” 

Craft a message that your audience will want to read. It’s tempting to be wordy on MMS, but don’t do it. You will have more success if you take your time and craft a concise message.

There is a true art and skill in the ability to have brevity on an SMS or MMS message. Take the time to deconstruct your message to its sole purpose and trim the excess content that is only wanted, but not needed. You will be glad you kept your message short. 

MMS marketing is snazzy so spiff it up with a larger discount or limited time promotion. You can also test how your audience does with exclusive promotions. Offer a promo to a limited number of people on a first-come-first-service basis within a limited time. Exclusivity and urgency are two key ingredients to a successful MMS marketing campaign.

Length of Your MMS Message

No Segmenting on MMS messaging

While an SMS message is segmented per every 160 characters (or 70 characters if any are unicode), MMS messages do not get segmented; however, receiving-carriers and devices will restrict the amount of characters in an MMS message.

When considering the length of your MMS Messages, SendHub recommends keeping under 475 characters to be extra safe. While this is our recommendation, we will let you be the judge of your own message and if you think it should be longer, then you can send up to 1600 characters from SendHub.

It may be tempting to send long MMS messages because they don’t get segmented, but we promise you will have more success if you keep it simple, short, and to the point. Some of the best MMS messages include content right on the image. Do a two image animation and add more content that way! You can get creative in ways to keep your character count down on your MMS message.

#4 Consider the Audience Receiving Your MMS Message

Target Your Audience

Your MMS message should be short and simple. Narrow your topic and narrow your list to those who will be most interested in your topic. With SendHub, you can market unlimited text-to-join keywords that will allow your audience to add themselves right to the lists most relevant to their interests. For example, if you are sending a messaging promo about all-you-can-eat nachos, you better be sure that the recipients of your message like nachos. Of course, first and foremost, it shouldn’t go without mentioning that your audience you are messaging gave you “express written consent” to text them per the TCPA and our Terms of Use

Understand Your Audience

Keep in mind that customers who have opted into your SMS marketing campaigns might be a part of the expected 1-2% of people who use mobile phones that cannot accept MMS messages.

Message Timing

Consider the timing of your message. Of course you don’t want to send a message too late and make your audience upset. However, you also want to consider your throughput. Messaging throughput speeds can differ from provider to provider. It’s important to understand throughputs as it will determine how fast your message reaches your intended audience.

With MMS messaging, it’s important to remember that throughputs tend to be slower; meaning, it takes longer for your MMS message to reach your entire list that you are messaging. Make sure you plan ahead and send your MMS message at a time that it will reach your entire list within a timeframe that works for you.

#5 Test before you send your MMS Marketing Campaign

Read Your Message

Before you send out your well-thought out and beautifully composed MMS message, send it to yourself first. Better yet, send it to a test list of your closest internal team so that you know if there are any issues with different receiving carriers or devices before the message goes out. Ideally, you send it to both an Android and iOS device. Make sure everyone reads it and that no one catches any grammar or spelling errors. Send a test text, tweak, and repeat before you send to your entire list.

Preview Your Graphics

As you send your test message to a test sample of your closest team members, ask them to preview the graphics. Is everything perfect? Is there text in your graphic? If so, are there any misspellings? Is it displaying correctly? If there is text, can you read it? Triple check everything!

Click Your Links

Be sure to test your links if you have included any. Do not use any bit.ly links or other public short links as it is a sure way to get your message filtered by the carriers. If you share a link, share your own business domain or something unique that hasn’t been abused by spammers already. Add a custom landing page and unique tracking on your url to measure your SMS marketing campaign’s conversions. Make sure the URL links to the proper webpage and that the page is mobile optimized.

Send Away!

Have you perfected your message? If you’ve followed these five steps outlined here, you’re well on your way to send away!