Blog entry: How to stimulate MMS usage

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a powerful tool that facilitates communication between people. With MMS, people can embed and “present” multimedia contents of any type delivering a stronger message.

However, using the “if you build it, they will come” strategy to market MMS services is simply not enough.  This blog entry is the first in a series of articles outlining the marketing do’s and don’ts for MMS.

Although it may not be the newest messaging technology on the market, MMS can still be a powerful revenue generator for a mobile operator.  The forecasts for MMS are positive, according to Portio Research, as you can see in the chart below:

MMS traffic worldwide – Source Portio Research

Too expensive?

MMS incorporates multiple cost items like data connection and a higher payload in the final MMS price.  But this does not justify cases where MMS prices are far higher than SMS prices or other cases where it is complex for people to understand the final price. This often suggests to the user that is better to avoid using MMS in order to avoid exorbitant charges.

SMS has been very successful because the user does not perceive the price, only the value of the service.  MMS should be no different!

To make the MMS value perception closer to the SMS value perception, MMS prices shall be not higher than 3-3,5 times than the SMS price and the MMS price has to be unique and clear. A common mistake is to associate a different price for different message sizes. In this way the user will never know how much money he will pay for sending a message because he does not know the final size of the message he’s going to send.

Assuming that operators have made the right moves to introduce the MMS into the local market and that they have defined the appropriate pricing, some corrective actions can be taken in order to fine tune the market proposition and stimulate the MMS usage:

  • Bundles have proved to be very successful with SMS but rarely are implemented with MMS. Bundles are good practice for stimulating MMS traffic.
  • Designing and launching effective marketing campaigns to revive market interest and eventually bundling some promotions is something that should be done periodically to increase MMS usage.
  • Another opportunity is to partner with Media companies like TV broadcasters trying to engage users through competitions using MMS as the return channel.
  • Rewards programmes can be used to drive service usage, and that can be tuned to drive up the consumption of specific services – such as MMS.

All these tools can help drive up MMS traffic assuming that MMS-enabled mobile handsets in the market area at a sufficient level of penetration.

A well-balanced marketing mix, adapted to the local market and revised periodically will help operators to succeed with their multimedia messaging service increasing traffic and revenues.

Author: Flavio Muscetra, Jinny Senior Product Manager