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SMS Vs. Text: What Is the Difference?

Jan 31, 2022

If you’re new to marketing or not familiar with text message lingo, you may be puzzled by the term “SMS.” What is SMS, and what’s the difference between SMS vs. text?

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of SMS, debunk the common misconceptions about SMS vs. text messaging and whether SMS or MMS is better for your text marketing campaigns.

What's the Difference Between SMS and Text?

In a word, nothing.

“Texting” is slang for SMS (Short Message Service). 

SMS and texting are the same thing: Sending personal or business messages to and from mobile devices. 

Over 3.85 billion people around the worldwide own smart phones and can send and receive SMS messages. Mobile users in the United States sent 2.2 trillion SMS or MMS messages during 2020.

Most people use SMS to communicate with friends and family. Many may even use it to confirm appointments or redeem a coupon from their favorite retailer. However, in the mobile age, many people prefer to text in both personal and professional settings as a means of quick and effective communication.

What Is SMS?

SMS texts are text messages of up to 160 characters. 98% of all SMS messages are opened by the recipient. This makes SMS an attractive marketing channel over email, as only 16.9% of email messages are opened.

SMS messages are often used for small talk or short, personal conversations. From a business standpoint, SMS is becoming a popular tool for communicating important information, marketing campaigns and mass texting messages to customers. SMS enables businesses to communicate with customers quickly and effectively from anywhere in the world. 

Send 300-character messages with Textedly!

What Does a Business Text Message Look Like?

A business text message can be formal or informal, long or short, simple or complicated. However, all text messages should contain information that is relevant to both the sender and receiver. 

SMS text messages from businesses are typically short and to the point, easy to read, informative and persuasive. A business may send out a text message to customers that contains information, such as:

  • Sales, discounts or promotions
  • Order delivery notifications or status updates
  • Account notifications

For example, a local Italian restaurant may send a discount like this to its customer loyalty program list:

what does a text message look like

Check out our SMS Marketing Guide for more tips. 

However, businesses can also send MMS messages. What’s the difference between a SMS and MMS messages, and when would you use them?


While “texting” is a slang term, there are two types of texts: SMS and MMS. While texting and SMS are one and the same, SMS and MMS messages are very different.

As we’ve discussed, SMS is a text-only message. In contrast, MMS, which stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, allowing users to send and receive pictures, videos and audio files. 

With MMS, you can communicate across a wider variety of mediums compared to SMS. Let’s compare the capabilities of SMS vs. MMS:



160-character limit; up to 300 with Textedly

Up to 1,600 characters and 500 kB of data

Supports text and links

Supports rich media (images, GIFs, video)


More expensive


Get Powerful SMS Campaigns Up and Running With Textedly

Texting is a powerful business tool. 97% of companies found they communicated with consumers more efficiently after launching texting initiatives, and 85% of customers prefer receiving text messages over a phone call or email.

Ready to add SMS to your company’s marketing arsenal? Textedly can help your business design creative text message campaigns that inspire trust and confidence. 

Sign up for a free Textedly trial today!