As businesses seek to contact customers in the most dependable way, many are turning to SMS and MMS messaging. These forms of communication have significantly higher open rates than other ways of sending messages: 83% for SMS versus 20% for email. The average response time is a mere 90 seconds. When building out a unified communications platform for your company or client, it makes sense to consider MMS messaging as an option.
Thankfully there are API providers that make it easy for developers to integrate messaging into the applications they develop. In this article, we’ll learn about MMS APIs, including how they work, how they benefit businesses, and some useful tips for how implementing them.
Understanding MMS APIs
SMS messaging enjoys a very high open rate compared to the alternatives, but what can be sent is limited. The messages must be short, and they must be made up only of text characters. MMS APIs, on the other hand, allow developers to take the high open rate of SMS and extend it with the multimedia power of MMS. With the ability to send various multimedia file formats and lengthier texts to customers, the communication possibilities are expanded greatly.
Of course, this extra flexibility does come at a cost. MMS messages are larger in size, so they’ll take longer to download. They also tend to be more expensive than SMS messages. In addition, not every device supports MMS, so an SMS backup should be ready for those cases. This means businesses will need to be careful when choosing between SMS or MMS. However, as we’ll see, the drawbacks are usually outweighed by the benefits.
Benefits of MMS APIs for Businesses
With an MMS API, your company can both send and receive multimedia messages. In addition to the benefits provided by the base SMS technology, this combines to make a pretty powerful messaging solution. We’ve outlined some of the benefits your company or client can expect from integrating an MMS platform below:
Enhanced customer engagement and communication
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and with a media channel like MMS, that’s important. You can’t fit many words into a 140-character SMS message, yet the ability to quickly consume the communication is a big draw for SMS over email and other messaging solutions. By adding pictures and video, businesses can add greater detail without needing the also increased character limit.
Better customer targeting and segmentation
Using an MMS API allows you to fully integrate MMS messaging into your communications systems. This means that all the personalization information you have at your disposal can be included in the MMS messages being sent. Not only can the recipient’s name be personalized, but the content can be targeted precisely at the specific user or their buyer persona.
Improved ROI and cost efficiency
We’ve discussed the high open rate of SMS and MMS, but there’s another big benefit as well. Not everyone has a social media account or regularly checks their email. But nearly everyone has a mobile phone, and the notifications for an SMS/MMS message are prominent. This no doubt aids with the higher open rate but also means you can reach more people and get more returns from your campaigns.
Improved customer experience
SMS messaging has become one of the primary ways people communicate over a mobile device. There’s a reason for that: convenience. It’s well integrated into the phone experience, and reading and sending SMS/MMS messages is quick and easy. Bringing this popular messaging option to customers also brings that convenience to interactions with your company.
The text-only nature of SMS means that it misses out on an important feature that email provides: the ability to send branded messaging. Marketers understand the importance of branding. With MMS, your company logo and colors can be just as prominently displayed in your messages as they would be with email.
Use Cases of MMS APIs
Regardless of the industry you’re in, there’s likely a use case for MMS. Some of the common ways companies incorporate MMS into their communications strategy include:
The response time of SMS text messaging make it theoretically ideal for customer support. However, the 140-character limit cuts down on that utility greatly. MMS messages can be much longer, giving customers ample room to explain their issues and your company’s staff the space they need to address those concerns properly.
A text message isn’t very eye-catching. Yet, catching the eye of a potential customer is an important aspect of making a sale. With MMS, marketing teams can send product images or short demonstration videos along with the product announcement. Combined with the ability to personalize these messages to the customers most likely to be interested in a given product, this makes MMS messaging a powerful upgrade for increasing conversions.
Abandoned cart notifications
Here again, the increased character limit of MMS comes into play. Abandoned cart notifications can remind customers of a purchase they wanted to make, and save an otherwise lost sale. With the additional length allowed by MMS, the exact items in the cart can be sent along with the message, serving as a more effective reminder.
This is what the whole ability to attach multimedia to a message is all about. Insurance companies can receive photos of a car accident from customers through MMS messaging. Support staff can send images that demonstrate the process they’re trying to walk the customer through. Restaurants can send their menu to interested customers. For most of the times information needs to be shared, the personalization and multimedia capabilities of an MMS API make it possible.
Integrating MMS APIs into Software and Platforms
For most MMS APIs, integration into your company or client’s new or existing software is easy. Nearly every provider will give you two ways to make use of their APIs. The most basic is the REST API. With it, you can integrate the technology into any program with any programming language that’s capable of sending and receiving HTML requests.
Many providers have also created higher-level SDKs for the most commonly used programming languages. These SDKs do some of the heavy lifting of communicating with the REST API for you, allowing for an even smoother integration.
Related: Are Free SMS APIs Worth It?
Considerations for Choosing an MMS API
When choosing an MMS API provider and implementing their API into your systems, there are a few things to keep in mind. Consider the items below as you plan your development project, and you will limit the number of surprises that potentially delay the completion date.
- Supported file types: Although MMS supports a wide range of media types, it doesn’t support everything. Knowing the supported file types of the technology itself and what your provider allows for will help prevent surprises when it comes to sending your first few test messages.
- Message size limitations: The whole benefit of MMS is that it’s quick to consume. You can’t send entire feature-length films through the service. Again, knowing the limitations of the technology and the provider will help you design your communications around the capabilities of your own platform on the first try.
- Scalability: There are two aspects of scalability that must be considered. The first is whether your chosen provider can handle the volume of messages you’ll be sending right now. The second is how well they’ll scale as your company, and its messaging needs, grow. In addition, be sure that your own code is written to allow for future scalability. Create efficient and flexible functions that can easily adapt to any changing needs the future brings.
- Error handling: It’s important that you understand and properly implement all of the error handling functionality provided by the MMS API. Otherwise, you may find that customers aren’t getting the messages intended for them and you had no idea.
- Security features: Like most APIs that connect to external servers, MMS APIs have several security measures in place. This includes encryption, but it also includes authentication and access control. Your code should take these into account as well. Be careful of storing plain text versions of your authentication information. Even if you can trust every current developer on staff, this might not be the case as the business grows.
Get Started with an MMS API That Works for Developers
Flowroute’s API allows has been built on the foundation of our powerful HyperNetwork. It’s designed to intelligently respond to changing conditions to ensure that your messages always get their intended destination. Our messaging API supports both SMS and MMS out of the box, and you’ll find a variety of other APIs to handle all your telephony needs, including voice SIP and phone number provisioning. To put Flowroute to work on your company’s communication systems, get started today.