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Multimedia messaging service (MMS) is a widely deployed technology that supports photo, video, and long text. It was introduced as a way to revolutionize and enrich mobile messaging by replacing simple text with images and video.

Though many marketers began using MMS instead of SMS, MMS never gained a stronghold due to fundamental limitations. Fortunately, times have changed and there is a more effective solution: rich media messaging (RMM).

By redefining mobile messaging, RMM is already setting higher standards and expectations for success among marketers. Though MMS has enabled us to send and receive multimedia content for more than 10 years at a personal level, MMS fails as a marketing tool.

In contrast, RMM is the next generation of multimedia messaging technology that has been developed to overcome the limitations of MMS.

Here's why MMS fails as a marketing tool.

1. MMS uses a "one size fits all" content approach

The challenge is that with more than 2,500 different devices in use today, attempting to display the same-sized image/video on all devices results in poor experiences for customers. Often, the quality is compromised; pictures and videos are unclear when pixilation occurs or content is resized incorrectly for the device. That leads to multiple device errors, which cause user frustration and opt-outs of the messaging program.

2. MMS was never designed for use as a commercial tool

Due to poor user experience issues and carrier limitations, MMS has a lower success rate than SMS or RMM does, with overall market reach being 20% less than either of the alternatives. Brands cannot consistently rely on that technology to deliver brand messaging, and due to its limited reach, MMS does not have the payoff intended.

RMM's Features

At 97% penetration, RMM is capable of delivering content to virtually all phones in the US. RMM achieves better results than SMS and MMS with an average redemption rate of 35% (almost double that of SMS). These results are due to RMM’s market penetration and enhanced user experience.  With RMM, brands can send picture-perfect content, such as images and video, which is more engaging than plain text or non-optimized content.

RMM also features intelligent handset detection (IHD), advanced content adaptation, and social sharing.

IHD detects the capabilities of subscribers' phones. That information is then used to send the content that works perfectly on the device via RMM. The analytics about users' handsets provide brand insights as to how customers are accessing information and what mobile investments should be made to optimize mobile spending.

Advanced content adaptation ensures the right content is sent to each device, so brands can be confident they are delivering the best possible user experience for subscribers. For example, if your customers have iPhones, IHD recognizes the iOS capabilities and enables you to send links to apps and mobile sites, calendar invites, and alerts and to connect to the Passbook app.

For a typical campaign, RMM has the ability to convert between 10-18% of recipients to app users, further enhancing the brand's mobile initiatives by creating a fluid conversation for customers.

Moreover, advanced content prevents degradation in quality when customers interact with the brand. With brand content, MMS cannot scale the content to different resolutions without impacting its quality. With RMM, there is no scaling issue.

Social sharing enables any content sent via RMM to be shared directly from the message to users' Twitter and Facebook accounts. With that feature, users' contacts and followers can see the post and opt-in to the campaign. Typically between 8-10% of users will share content via social. And social sharing provides a great opportunity to grow opt-in lists and increase campaign impressions.

* * *

Overall, RMM is the better mobile messaging solution. MMS is not effective because it does not have full market penetration as it does not account for individual phone capabilities and resolutions. However, RMM delivers fully optimized rich content to any mobile phone on any network operator with IHD and advanced content adaptation.

Moreover, RMM moves the needle in direct mobile marketing by taking us from 160-character text to a more robust experience that generates twice the results from customers and provides them with a better experience.

RMM is an innovative technology with the potential to revolutionize the mobile messaging marketplace.

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Why Rich Media Messaging Trumps Multimedia Messaging

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image of Cezar Kolodziej

Cezar Kolodziej, PhD, is president, CEO, and co-founder of Iris Mobile. Prior to founding Iris Mobile, Cezar was chief architect for the Motorola messaging business.

LinkedIn: Cezar Kolodziej