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Broadcast vs MMS: What’s the Difference

Discover the similarities and differences between these two forms of text message marketing.

Illustration of a head-to-head comparison of a broadcast message vs an MMS message
November 2, 2023
Chloe Mulliner
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Reading time about 9 min

If you’re familiar with the world of text message marketing, you probably already know about SMS messaging, but what about broadcast and MMS messaging?

Broadcast and MMS messaging involve different methods of text marketing that can help enhance your marketing campaigns. However, they both have unique features and serve different purposes, so in our broadcast vs. MMS message guide, we’ll compare and contrast the two so you have a better understanding of how and when to implement them in your marketing campaigns.

Broadcast vs. MMS: What's the Difference?

Both broadcast and MMS messages offer powerful ways of communicating with your audience, but there are some differences you should be aware of so you know which one to use and when to best align with your marketing goals.

Follow along to discover the similarities and differences between MMS and broadcast messaging to employ the most effective text campaigns.


Broadcast Messages

What is a broadcast message? A broadcast message is a mass text that a business or organization sends to many recipients simultaneously. It’s a one-to-many form of communication because the sender can text a big group of recipients, but its recipients can’t respond to the group text, nor can they see others included in the mass message besides the sender. The recipient can start a new thread one-on-one if they want to communicate privately with that business or organization.

Now, when should you use a broadcast message? There are a lot of times when you could use a broadcast message, like when you need to reach a large audience and announce something important and possibly urgent. For instance, a business might send a broadcast promotional message to its customers announcing a big summer blow-out sale. Meanwhile, a university may use a broadcast message to alert its students and faculty of a school closure due to inclement weather.

All in all, broadcast messaging is intended to provide automated messages with important information that doesn’t require follow-up from its recipients.


MMS Messages

That brings us to MMS marketing. What is an MMS message? An MMS message stands for multimedia messaging service, which is a text message that can include text but also images, videos, animation, emojis, and audio features. And, unlike SMS messages, MMS texts have no character limits.

Using MMS marketing, a business or organization can send a bulk text message to various recipients who can respond, creating a group chat, sometimes called MMS group messaging. This means not only will the recipient see their own response, but they can also see everyone else's responses in the text thread. This messaging is best when the sender wants to elicit responses and encourage engagement.

So, when should you use MMS messaging? You should use MMS messaging if you want to send interactive messages within a group chat that entice your audience to engage with the content. For instance, if you run a business, you might include a promotional video for your new product launch in your MMS message and ask for your customers’ feedback.

It’s worth noting that before the MMS message came along, there was something called the enhanced messaging service or EMS. At the time, this novel text lets users include photos, alternative text, and icons within the message. However, as technology evolved, the MMS message encompassed many of those features and then some, making EMS somewhat obsolete.


The Difference Between a Broadcast Message and an MMS Message

What is the difference between MMS group and broadcast messages? The main differences between MMS groups and broadcast messages are the number of recipients involved and how those recipients can or cannot reply to the sender.

When comparing MMS group vs. broadcast messaging, it’s important to consider the intent behind each kind of message.

Broadcast messaging is designed to deliver an announcement to a large group of people, whether that’s customers, clients, students, or volunteers, and it’s not meant for having one-on-one or group conversations. Therefore, broadcast messaging is best for sending bulk text messages without further communication with the recipients. Think of it like a notification sent through the mail or an announcement over a loudspeaker.

On the other hand, MMS messaging is all about encouraging interaction. Typically, these messages have all the bells and whistles, from photos to emojis, along with a call to action to get the recipients engaged and involved with the message. But unlike broadcast messaging, hundreds of recipients don’t need to be involved. An MMS message could be used for a small group chat with just a few recipients—and this is perhaps the biggest difference between MMS and broadcast messaging.

Now, if you’re curious about comparing MMS vs. enhanced vs. broadcast messages, we can lump MMS and enhanced messaging into the same bucket because MMS messaging encompasses all the same features enhanced messaging offers.

Of course, when looking at MMS vs. broadcast messages, there are some similarities and overlaps between the two. For example, you can use both methods to reach your audience and communicate your message. Whether you want to promote a big sale, send a reminder, or announce something urgent, both forms of messaging can help you achieve that goal.

Benefits of Using Broadcast Messages

What are the benefits of using broadcast messages? There are several benefits of using broadcast messages, including the fact that it’s a cost-effective method that’s quick and easy to reach a large audience.


A Cost-Effective Way to Reach a Large Number of People

Compared to other forms of marketing, such as video ads or TV commercials, broadcast marketing offers a much more affordable way of reaching a wide audience. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s also extremely targeted. Because you can only send broadcast text messages to those who have subscribed and agreed to receive your messages, you have an already receptive audience to your communication. Therefore, you can expect higher ROIs when using broadcasting messaging to connect with your audience.

Quick and Easy Way to Send out Important Information

Another benefit of using broadcasting messaging is that you can disseminate important or urgent alerts and notifications in a quick and easy way. Instead of individually contacting each person or writing multiple messages, you can do it all in one fell swoop. This is especially helpful if you’re dealing with an emergency situation, like a lockdown or weather event, requiring you to get the word out fast.


Benefits of Using MMS Messages

With a better understanding of some of the pros of broadcast messaging, you probably want to know the benefits of using MMS messages. The benefits of using MMS messages include sending more than just text and personalizing the message content.

Ability to Send More than Just Text

Since MMS marketing allows you to include more than just words in your texts, you can use other visual or audio elements to help convey your message. For instance, you could include a video tutorial to explain a process or a photo to showcase your latest product. These elements can help pique your audience’s interest and enhance engagement.

More Personal Than Broadcast Messages

The personalization aspect of MMS messaging is another perk. Unlike broadcast messaging, which is usually reserved for mass texting hundreds or even thousands of people at once, MMS messaging is often geared more toward smaller, niche groups. And because it allows all the recipients to communicate with one another in the group chat, it supports a closer-knit, more individualized environment. Therefore, you can use MMS marketing to include more personalized components, like names, purchasing behavior, or locations, in the messages to help resonate with your audience.


Limitations of Broadcast Messages

When comparing broadcast vs. MMS, looking at their limitations is important. So, let’s start with broadcast messaging. What are some limitations of broadcast messages? Some limitations of broadcast messages are that they may sometimes appear spammy and can only include text.

May Appear Spammy

Because broadcast messaging is often used for alerts or notifications, they can sometimes appear spammy. They’re trying to convey an urgent message, often including capital letters and exclamation points, which we typically associate with spam messages. You’ll need to learn to convey urgency without sounding spammy when writing broadcast messages. Otherwise, you may annoy or even deter your audience.

Limited to Text Content

Unlike MMS messages that can include everything, from images to audio clips, most broadcast messaging is limited to text content. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it just means that broadcast messages are simple and direct with just text—no interactive multimedia capabilities.


Limitations of MMS Messages

Like broadcast messaging, MMS marketing has its drawbacks, too. What are some limitations of MMS messages? Some limitations of MMS messages are that they can be more expensive and are not always supported by all devices.

Can be More Expensive

If you recall, MMS messages include multimedia features, meaning they require data, which makes each cost more than a standard text-only message. While the difference between a MMS and broadcast text might only be one or two cents per message, it could be costly depending on how many MMS messages you send as part of your marketing campaign.

Not Supported by All Devices

Another drawback of this kind of messaging is that not everyone’s devices will support multimedia messages, particularly those with older mobile phones. In some cases, their devices may not pick up the data elements, like embedded images, but they might not receive the MMS message in other cases. Depending on the kind of text campaign you’re running, these limitations could wrench your marketing strategy.

MMS vs. Broadcast Messages: Can I Use Both?

Last but not least, you might wonder, can you use both broadcast and MMS messages? Yes, you can use both broadcast and MMS messages in your marketing strategy! As you can see, both of these marketing messages serve unique purposes and have their own pros and cons, meaning there’s a time and place to use each one.

For instance, if you oversee a business, you might want to send everyone on your subscriber list an automated message announcing your holiday hours, which would be a great opportunity for broadcast messaging. This can be a straightforward, text-only notification that doesn’t require a response.

However, if your business is hosting a special in-store holiday event at one of your locations, you might want to send a text invitation only to your customers who live in the zip codes surrounding that store. In this case, your invitations might include emojis, RSVP links, and even animations or videos to create excitement around your event. Within the group chat, your recipients could express their interest in the event, ask questions, and encourage others to attend, meaning an MMS group message would be the best avenue for this kind of communication.

There are many opportunities to incorporate broadcast and MMS messaging into your marketing campaigns. To discover how these marketing messages can help improve your business, try our free 14-day trial today!

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