SMS vs. Text: What's the Difference?

How to do SMS marketing
SMS vs. Text: What's the Difference?

As an industry-leading text message marketing service provider, there's one question that we're asked fairly frequently — what's the difference between Short Message Service (SMS) and a regular text message?

Users send trillions of SMS texts per year and the savviest enterprises, small businesses, startups, nonprofits, and others leverage the power of text message marketing to deploy targeted and engaging digital communications with prospects, members, and customers.

In this article, we'll cover all the basics and dispel any myths or misconceptions between SMS vs. text. With these insights, you can quickly master text message marketing for your business or organization.


SMS vs. Text: What's the Difference?

You might be surprised to learn that there is absolutely no difference between the two phrases — they're one and the same! If you're one of the 91% of adults in the U.S. who owns a cell phone, chances are that you use SMS daily. Since the 1980s, SMS has become an important medium for both business and personal communications. In fact, more than 560 billion SMS are sent monthly all over the world!

What is an SMS Message?

SMS messages can contain up to 160 alphanumeric characters. From a business's perspective, there are hundreds of potential use cases for text message marketing including sales reminders, discounts and special offers, emergency alerts, and more. The most effective business text messages are timely, informative, compelling, and easy to understand.

SMS messages are an easy and effective way to reach prospects and customers. The data doesn't lie:

  • 83% of consumers open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receipt.
  • 75% of consumers prefer SMS communications for deliveries, promotions, and surveys.
  • In-store and on-demand coupons see a redemption rate of 70% to 80%.
  • SMS messages produce engagement rates 6 to 8 times higher than email marketing.

SMS Message Example:

sample text message

Founded in 1960, Dominos Pizza is a recognized leader in pizza delivery, operating a network of company-owned and franchise-owned locations worldwide. Ryan Swanson, Area Director for Prairie Pizza, a Domino's Pizza franchise, used SMS during local high school basketball games.

"Most students are not going to jot down a website during a basketball game," admitted Swanson. "But, taking a couple of seconds to send and receive a text with the URL of the group makes sense." Roughly 10% of the 3,000 students attending the game texted in within a few minutes and another 5% did so by the end of the night, resulting in nearly 600 opt-ins. By the end of the semester, the Facebook group had amassed nearly 2,000 fans, and more than 850 students enrolled in the franchise's SMS marketing list.

For more information, visit Domino's Pizza SMS Marketing Case Study.

What is a Text Message?

We know that SMS and text messages are virtually synonymous. However, "text message" can also include Multimedia Messaging (MMS). MMS messages allow users to send multimedia content including images, video, and audio files. MMS messages can contain text messages greater than 160 characters in length. Most MMS messages can contain up to 500 kb of data or enough for a 30-second audio or video file. Moreover, the amount of images users can attach to an MMS message is dependent on file size. Many brands leverage the power of MMS to distribute video content to prospects and customers. This form of marketing is so effective, in fact, that 64% of users are more likely to buy a product after watching a video.

The important thing to know about MMS is that messages count against both the sender's and recipient's monthly data limits. However, with a paid plan, EZ Texting customers can send both SMS and MMS messages without worrying about data limits — it's that easy!

Achieve SMS Messaging Mastery

Now that we've officially debunked all misconceptions between SMS vs. text, it's time to launch your very own text message marketing program. Backed by an industry-leading business text messaging software solution, your business will be well-equipped to deliver targeted and high-powered messages to prospects and customers. Thousands of businesses have already unlocked the power of text message marketing to inspire meaningful and personalized communications with target audiences.

Achieve SMS messaging mastery with our free guide: Strategies for Successful Text Marketing. In the guide, you'll learn how to effectively promotes goods and services, increase engagement with customers, send text alerts to subscribers, automate appointment reminders, and more.


Text Communication Report and Text Marketing Statistics

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Join the 210,000 customers who have used SMS marketing to connect with their audiences.