What Are the 4 Types of Messages?

Angela Shaffield Picture

by Angela Shaffield | Last Updated: Mar 31, 2023

In SMS marketing, you use mobile messaging to communicate with your customers, and there are multiple message type options to choose from based on your communication needs. Brands often use mobile messaging because of its high engagement rates. Mobile messaging has these high engagement rates because in the U.S. 47 percent of people say that they are addicted to their cell phones. This propensity for consumers to be attached to their mobile devices leads to 95 percent open rates and 45 percent reply rates for text messages which are stats that any marketer would love to have. There also is a ton of flexibility in how mobile messaging can be used by a brand ranging from loyalty programs to promotions to product launches and more. 

What Are the 4 Types of Messages?

The most commonly used mobile message types are SMS, MMS, RCS, and chat. Each one has different advantages, so it's important to choose the correct message type in order to get the highest ROI for your mobile messaging campaign. SMS was developed in the 1980s using some of the oldest texting technologies. SMS stands for short message service and is used to send text messages to a mobile device. SMS messages can be up to 160 characters long before the message is split into multiple segments or messages. Brands often use SMS messages in their mobile messaging campaigns because it’s a cost-effective channel and accessible to anyone with a mobile device.  MMS is an acronym for multimedia messages service. Think of MMS messages as a premium type of text message where you can also send pictures, videos, and other media to a consumer’s mobile device. The character limit for MMS messages is 1,600 which is 10x times the length of a single SMS.  MMS messages typically require more resources to be sent and received and have a higher cost per message compared to SMS. RCS messages are used by very few brands due to their limited device support. RCS stands for rich communication service. RCS messages are like MMS messages because they can both send multimedia content to mobile devices. The difference is that, unlike MMS and SMS messages, RCS messages have a file limit that spans into megabytes not kilobytes. Not many people or brands use RCS messages because it is not supported by Apple, the leading phone brand in the United States. Using chat messages or often referred to as instant messages are just like text messaging except online. In order to instant message someone you have to have an internet connection. Some instant message applications you may have heard of are What’s App, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Skype. You can also use instant messaging on different company websites and social media. Instant messaging has become very popular since the 1990s and will continue to do so since it drives efficiency when communicating.

What Are Examples of a Message?

As you know there are five types of messaging we can use to communicate with each other Here are some examples of these messages:

Types of Messaging in Marketing

When developing your SMS marketing strategy, you need to consider the type of content you plan to send. For most brands, the primary content types used in mobile messaging are promotional and transactional.   Promotional messages alert customers to deals and sales and work to build brand loyalty. When launching a promotional marketing campaign, brands may use messaging that persuades customers to make a purchase tied to product recommendations, new product launches, limited-time promotional offers, etc.  Transactional messages are designed to communicate information related to the brand’s ongoing relationship with the customer. The most common types of transactional messages are order confirmations, shipping confirmations, delivery confirmations, product recall notices, maintenance reminders, etc.  Some brands may also choose to implement text messaging between their customers and the customer support team. This allows customers to text customer support rather than call or email them. 

What Is the Difference Between SMS, MMS, and Chat?

SMS, MMS, and chat messages are all ways brands and consumers can communicate with each other. SMS messages and MMS messages are sent using a cellular network to a person’s mobile device. Chat messages are sent over the internet using an instant messaging application or website. Brands often use chat messaging and SMS messaging together to create an omnichannel experience for their customers. Customers can use instant messaging to communicate with brands via chat messages on brand’s website and social media pages. Brands can also send SMS and MMS messages to customers in order to alert customers of potential offerings.

Should I Use SMS or MMS?

When using SMS and MMS messages in mobile messaging campaigns, brands don't have to choose to use one or the other. SMS messages are more cost-effective to use than MMS messages, but MMS messages allow you to share multimedia content with your subscribers. It is very common for brands to use a mix of both in order to balance cost and engagement. That's why it is important to measure the analytics of different mobile messaging campaigns that use different mixes of SMS and MMS messages, so you can find the best of both worlds for your brand. If you are interested in learning more about how Lumavate can help you use the right mix of message types to give your mobile messaging campaign the best results, you can schedule a 30-minute meeting with one of our experts who can show how Lumavate’s Messaging functionality can solve your biggest business challenges. 

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