If you want to ensure your next MMS campaign has the best chance of being an absolute success then read on!
So you may know which parts you need to create an engaging MMS marketing campaign. But ultimately, MMS is all about the image. So it’s vital to create MMS imagery that really shines.
We asked our graphics department, who are all over some of the tricks designers use to get attention and drive action, to give us their hot tips. From selecting the right creative to what design rules to follow and elements to add, read on to find out how to optimise your MMS images for maximum impact 💥
In this post:
- The basics: files, sizes, best practices and more.
- 3 design rules to live by: more than just optimising MMS images.
- Design elements: the best ways to get more out of your images.
Let’s dive in.
First, the basics
Most mobile handsets send and receive MMS easily, but screen dimensions vary between each model. It’s important to consider, as you want your MMS message to look polished and professional on all devices. Optimising the size of your images will give you the highest and the fastest delivery rate. The smaller the file, the better the delivery rate.
- GIF (static or moving)
- MP4 (video or audio)
- MPEG video
PNG, TIF, BMP and PDF files are also supported, if sending via MMS gateway API.
For more info, check out our image file size and dimensions guide.
- one file per message
- maximum file size: 250kB
- if sending a GIF, try to keep the image size below 100kB
If your multimedia file is too big…
Try these tips to reduce its size:
- Reduce the number of colours used in your design (especially gradients).
- Try reducing the image quality when exporting the design file. Reducing from 100 to about 70 should reduce file size without visibly losing image quality.
💡 Best to test this to ensure that your image doesn’t become blurry.
- Use an image compression tool like tiny png.
- Reduce the dimensions of your design, while keeping the same aspect ratio. e.g. 1000x1000px to 500x500px.
And for GIFs and videos:
- minimise moving objects.
- reduce the frame rate (frames per second). Lowering the frame rate will mean the animation isn’t as smooth; however, it will reduce the file size. (Try a frame rate between 12-24fps and don’t forget to test!).
When using our MMS gateway, images are automatically resized (except for GIFs). We do recommend keeping the aspect ratio as close to 1:1 as possible, to avoid strange resizing results.
Three design rules to live by
So there are design principles that can be applied to more than just optimising MMS messages. These 3 key design rules guide almost all visual design. Designs should:
- be engaging,
- follow a hierarchy that is satisfying to the eyes,
- create a balance that allows certain design elements to stand out.
‘Be engaging’. Yeah, but how?
In short: don’t be boring.
Don't assume any old image will work. Choose imagery that is relevant to your message, is immediately eye-catching and is on brand. It should be aligned with any other regular communications or marketing you do.
Here is an example of an eye-catching MMS message:
Nova, a skincare brand specialising in SPF products, use their brand colouring to get attention. The bright yellow and the dark blue manages to capture the recipient's eye immediately and is on-brand with the products represented in the image.
Follow a hierarchy
Before designing your creative, identify the main focal points of the design and what you want recipients to look at first.
The eye will naturally be drawn to elements, based on their:
- Colour and contrast
- Spacing and proximity
- Typography and fonts
Typically, the brightest/boldest colour and the element that takes pride of place (dead-centre or top left) will gain the most attention. Failing to create an obvious hierarchy can result in the eye being drawn to several elements at once, confusing the recipient and failing to deliver your message.
Here, a successful pizza chain sends a very effective half-price Tuesday campaign. It’s an excellent example of using hierarchy in MMS design. The pizza is the primary design element on the graphic, closely followed by the bold yellow headline. Thanks to the designer, the MMS image easy to read and quickly digestible.
White or negative space can be the strongest visual tool you utilise when designing your MMS. Negative space around an element can make it more engaging by allowing this element to stand out. It can also dramatically improve hierarchy by pulling focus on a critical factor. Negative space also helps keep the image clean and straightforward, which will go a long way to ensure your marketing message is delivered quickly.
Above, Ripple Coffee uses white space beautifully to represent their brand. They avoid overcomplicating the design, with white space used to make the main features of the image to pop.
Use these elements to optimise MMS images
Now that you have your guiding principles down, it's time to look at the actual design elements that make up your campaign. These 3 elements are deemed especially important in successful MMS campaigns.
- Choose a font that’s easy to read, especially on smaller mobile screens. A bold sans-serif typeface will be your best bet as your primary font.
- Try to stick to 1-2 different fonts within a design; too many fonts can ruin the hierarchy and balance. fonts.google.com is an excellent resource for free, web-friendly fonts.
- Use each font quality appropriately to convey your message. Each font holds its personality; some fonts are loud and proud, while others are quiet and tame.
Sammie’s Sandwiches MMS message above is an excellent example of how you should use fonts. They’ve chosen a font that is large and easy to read on any smartphone device.
Picking a colour palette for your MMS creative can be tricky. Try to stick to colours that align with your brand. Branding is a powerful tool for MMS marketing and always be used in marketing and customer communications, as customers often focus more on brands than the product themselves.
Also, try not to use more than 2-3 colours in any one design. Sometimes using only one bold colour can help a design stand out more and engage the audience. You could even try using a photo and video editor to enhance your images and short videos.
When using multiple colours in your design, make sure they complement each other. This is a great rule of thumb:
one primary dominant colour + one supporting accent colour + one neutral tertiary colour
Tip: coolors.co is a great tool to help create colour palettes.
Brands also use colours in their marketing strategy to represent a special occasions such as holidays or events. For example, red is associated with love, passion and warmth, while green is often associated with the environment, good luck and wealth.
In this MMS campaign from Rural Decay, a high-end makeup brand, dark red and pink are used for branding. Dark red often perceived as mysterious and deep colours associated with love, passion and luxury. The different shades of red used within the MMS campaign complement each other and help to position Rural Decay as a luxury brand.
When using photos within a design, make sure they’re relevant to your message. When using a photo, it will most likely become the central element of the design, so keep this in mind. Avoid images that are too busy or complicated, as your message may get lost.
Tip: if you’re looking for pictures online, make sure you’re using royalty-free photos. pexels.com and unsplash.com are two great image resources.
Here, Whitesands Resort have chosen a great image for their MMS campaign promoting holidays in the Maldives. The picture represents Maldive's sunny warm weather and crystal clear water. It’s highly relevant and simple to understand.
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