MMS stands for ‘Multimedia Messaging Service.’ By utilizing MMS, marketers can extend the core functionality of MMS’s closely-related mobile messaging cousin, SMS. Whereas SMS lets marketers deliver a text message of up to 160 characters in length, MMS enables the distribution of multimedia content such as pictures, music or video. When executed well, the enhanced richness increases customer engagement, as campaigns can draw on combinations of various branded elements.
Though MMS has been around for a while, technological limitations previously prevented widespread adoption for brand-to-consumer communication. At present, telecommunication networks have sufficient bandwidth and the average consumer’s cell phone has sufficient technology to make MMS an easy-to-use standard for brand-consumer mobile dialogues.
Best of all, just like SMS, MMS messages go to a customer’s messaging inbox. This high importance placement on a mobile phone makes for extremely efficient and interactive communication. Customers read every MMS they receive –usually within minutes after receipt –and respond accordingly. Plus, MMS can go beyond standard pictures, audio or video. Marketers can launch campaigns that use GIFs, scannable coupons and any other type of rich media.
Like all direct marketing channels, marketers’ biggest challenge with MMS is execution.
Understanding key best practices and specifications before launching a campaign will result in much more compelling and actionable results. This eBook contains everything a marketer needs to know in order to create MMS mobile marketing campaigns that customers love.
Analysis of MMS as a Marketing Channel
MMS Has Grown Rapidly Since 2005
The stats behind MMS reveal a rapidly growing channel that has enormous potential for revenue generation and customer engagement. For more stats and insight into MMS, feel free to reach out.
MMS Has Enormous Revenue Potential
U.S. consumers sent and received 207 billion MMS messages in 2011. This volume projects to increase 182% to 387.5 billion by 2016. This level of MMS, representing ~1.7% of global messaging traffic, will equal 10.6% of global messaging revenues (for numbers heads out there, MMS will generate ~$20.7 billion USD by 2016).
How MMS Maximizes Customer Engagement
MMS works non-natively on 95% of mobile devices in the U.S. – a figure that constantly grows. When including non-native accessibility, 98% of all U.S customers can use MMS
Our audience and prospects read 97% of MMS messages, with 87% of those opens occurring within the first 60 minutes
The personal nature of video and picture messaging make it popular during festive times, as 57% of Americans and Canadians send MMS on Christmas, New Years and Valentine’s Day.
The average conversion rate (people that click through when a message is received) is on average 30%. Compare this to email which is less than 1% at best
MMS provides a return on investment 10X higher than email for redemptions and purchases when used in retail. Mobile coupons also have a 10X higher redemption rate than traditional coupons
The Value Proposition of MMS
When it comes to sending messages to consumers via mobile, you have two basic options: Short Message Service (SMS) or Multimedia Message Service (MMS). Although both of these messaging options can be useful for brands, MMS messaging offers several advantages over SMS messaging that make it a better option for many purposes.
Both SMS and MMS are types of messages that may be sent and received via mobile. While SMS messages contain only a limited amount of text (160 characters), MMS messages can contain up to 2000 characters, along with pictures and/or video content.
These two types of messages are also transmitted differently. SMS messages are transmitted to consumers without the use of the internet.
MMS messages, on the other hand, use the internet to reach their intended recipients.
Not all phones are capable of receiving MMS messages. However, consumers with phones that are not MMS-enabled can still view these messages in a web browser
Advantages of MMS
MMS messages offer a variety of advantages that make them appealing to brands and consumers. Here are four reasons to send MMS instead of SMS messages.
No character limitations: When you send plain SMS messages, you are limited to 160 characters unless of course if you are using MOBIT where the user is directed to their mobile page for the content of the message or promotion. MMS messages, on the other hand, don’t impose these limitations. In addition, MMS messages allow you to send pictures and videos in addition to text, which can capture consumers’ attention and express the message you hope to convey much more effectively.
Sharing: Because of the use of multiple forms of media, MMS messages are more likely to be entertaining or interesting enough for consumers to pass on to their friends and family. In fact, subscribers are eight times more likely to share MMS content to social networks than they are to share SMS content.
The more your content is shared, the more people the message will reach.
Grabs attention instantly: MMS content grabs consumers’ attention and communicates your intended message in an instant. The conversion rates of your mobile campaigns increase exponentially with the inclusion of an attention grabbing image of video. Adding automation and landing page intelligence to your MMS campaigns will double and even triple your return on investment.
Video is a huge influencer: Video content holds great power with the average consumer. In fact, ninety percent (90%) of consumers say that they find informational or promotional videos helpful when they are making shopping and/or purchasing decisions. Using MMS messaging to send videos to consumers allows you to steer them toward your products or services. NOTE: You can send up to a 30 second video with MMS so it pays to ensure your video really ‘pops’ on the page when viewed.
Getting Your Content Just Right
Keep these details in mind to ensure your MMS campaigns deliver the highest quality content.
Avoid tiny text and graphical details. An MMS message goes through a lot of steps before it’s finally perfectly formatted for the end-user’s device. Once the image is sized down and compressed, you don’t want to risk it becoming blurry on a lower-resolution mobile phone. Remember to test and retest your images.
For video, avoid fast-moving videos and rapid scene changes. You want to make sure that messages stick with your customers.
If you’re sending a video, be sure to take a look at the fixed frame. You don’t want to have the video’s one frozen frame be ineffectively used. You have a limited amount of space and time, so use that wisely.
While an MMS is technically unlimited in size, MOBIT recommends an MMS message size of around 300KB—this should be enough for a high quality rectangular advertisement and even animated images.
Ready Fire Aim is Not the Answer
Automation is the key to your success with MMS
Whilst any number of simple text providers can blast out MMS messages to your list, the value and certainly the ROI is not to be found in this exercise. We call this the ‘Ready Fire Hope’ approach.
As the cost of MMS is twice that of SMS (Note: MOBIT charges the same for an SMS as an MMS message) , the returns from a well thought out strategy, and campaign automation that is driven by behavioral analytics will far exceed those campaigns using the ‘Ready Fire Hope’ approach. The same can be said for any form of marketing really.
A postcard offer quickly assembled and dispatched to a recently purchased mailing list will more than likely deliver a similar crappy result.
The key to MMS and even SMS marketing is NOT the message itself but rather the destination you are driving your audience to, and then to know what they do when they get there. In the case of MMS where you have a video or image embedded in the initial text message, your conversion rates will be much higher than its SMS cousin (plain text or with link).
Regardless of whether it’s SMS or MMS, the destination point is where you must place your attention and more importantly, measure the interaction. If you can’t measure your customer interaction at the destination point, then don’t bother.
Where most marketers fail with mobile marketing is when the ‘Ready Fire Hope’ approach is used. To avoid this then at all costs, here are the essential items to check off when undertaking any form of mobile marketing via SMS or MMS.
- Optimize your images and videos for mobile viewing. E.g. small image sizes <1mb and short length videos <30 seconds.
- Design your mobile landing pages in such a way as to inspire your audience to take action.
- Unless you are using SMS for simple notifications or alerts, always use Intelligent URL links that track not only the ‘click link’ but the full end path destination of your audience and everything in between.
- Create rule based follow-up actions on your landing pages that enable you to segment your campaign interactions (interested or non-interested) and initiate follow-up nurture campaigns (mobile, email or both).
- Segment your audience and send personalized and ‘interest
specific’ content to each group. E.g. A mobile campaign marketing handbags to single men over 50 is probably not the best use of your time or theirs.
Getting it right with MMS
The success of any mobile marketing campaign, particularly MMS comes down to understanding the opportunities available and how to take advantage of them. To ensure you get the most value from your MMS campaigns, take a look at some mobile marketing best practice below.
Customer preferences result in certain types of rich media producing better response rates than others.
Use various type of multimedia content in your MMS campaigns to see which delivers the best result for each list and segment. Animated GIFS, short video with audio, static images etc.… will all deliver varying results depending on the viewing audience. As a general rule, video with audio will attract the highest interest and conversion rates across all age demographics. Make sure that the MMS provider you are using can track and measure response rates for each campaign and collect data to understand how your customers interact with various content types. From there, implement A/B split testing to pinpoint the exact content that creates the desired response for specific customer segments.
The flexibility to change your MMS campaigns (multimedia content types and text message) enables you to react to changing market conditions and response behaviors instantly.
Use a flexible self-service mobile marketing platform that allows for easy changes on the fly without ‘change control’ costs.
Many simple MMS platforms require that marketers have all campaigns created at the beginning of a contract so that the vendor can format and input campaigns into a rigid system that is hard to change once the campaign is live. Many older MMS platforms apply hefty ‘change control’ costs if you need to change anything mid campaign.
By using a easy to use self-service platform (like MOBIT), you can build new campaigns or adjust existing campaigns with ease without any costs increase. This flexibility ensures a great customer experience, as your content and information remains relevant and contextual.
Inspire and engage customers with awesome multimedia content and cool features.
Always check the qaulity of your content (images and video). Just like email marketing, there are a few best practices that will help ensure that customers receive content they can access on their smartphone. Unlike MOBIT where all content is optimized ‘ on the fly’ inside your app as you add content, most MMS providers require that you have a reasonable knowledge of image and video size and format.
With photos, avoid sending panoramic photo, basic photo ratios or ones that are overly long / big / wide. Conversion through the text (SMS) network makes these types of images difficult to deliver. Second, expect some compression to occur.
Any image with tiny text inlcuded in the image will probably show up jagged. With videos, remember that the first frame of your video appears as a static thumbnail for customers to view. Make sure this first frame has a logo or image so that it does not show up as a blank image.
Planning and more planning is critical for the success of mobile campaigns, particularly MMS campaigns.
Always track the performance and input metrics of your MMS campaigns (content type per segment) to measure your ROI. You can do this in a number of different ways.
Measure any increases to sales over the campaign period.
If your provider has the capability, embed data tracking code in your mobile messages and landing pages for each campaign. This will enable you to track participation and conversions.
The MOBIT team always recommend that you place your Facebook pixel on each campaign. Regardless then of just participation or conversion, you can remarket to your campaign list with your Facebook advertisements.
Measure the click-through rates of your campaigns (URL links or MOBIT automation links), and all page interactions such as videos watched, button clicks and individual page views.
More data equals more flexibility to integrate systems and generate a true closed marketing loop in the future.
Maintaining an ongoing and contextual conversation with your customers.
Manage the messages from your various marketing channels to your list is challenging. It is important that you pay close attention to this so as to ensure that one marketing channel is not deliver counter information or offers to another. Since modern consumers communicate with your brand on a number of different channels e.g Twitter, email and mobile, they have become very proficient at ignoring unwanted content, but they still get annoiyed when multiple threads of information come through to them, especially information that is contradictory. Mobile (SMS and MMS), is a customer’s most personal device. As such, it has the greatest ability to create brand/consumer intimacy, as you can literally reach the pocket of your target audience–instantly. Those people on your list that provide you with their mobile numbers are VERY engaged with your brand. DO NOT abuse this trust.
Pictures are still worth a thousand words.
Ensure that your MMS content can be viewed on all mobile devices. A strong provider will understand the many limitations of phones and should be able to help you with this. If your provider does not a) do this automatically, or b) provide this service, then look for a better provider. The MOBIT platform validates content upon the initial file upload, instantly creating specific versions of the file for the various handset models and applies the correct rendering of videos and animated GIFs.
Think of this capability like writing a post on Facebook—you simply attach the file and then MOBIT does the rest of the work in distributing the information. This enables you to focus on your campaign, your customer, and content.