MMS Best Practices for images and video

Recomendations on sending and transcoding multimedia messages.

MMS content deliverability properties

File size

MMS messages are routed through Carrier Gateways (MMSC) to reach mobile subscribers. Each gateway has a maximum message size, which varies across carriers. The file size depends on the destination mobile device and the carrier network. To optimize MMS content size, we offer an MMS content transcoding service. This service automatically resizes content based on mobile device and carrier gateway limitations, reducing deliverability issues when sending content that is too large for the recipient's network.

Dimensions

Most mobile display content in a portrait orientation, making it essential to optimize content for a vertical layout. MMS images should be sized in portrait or square dimensions, as many users are not used to viewing full-screen images. MMS videos may be formatted in a widescreen or portrait format, depending on the content. Widescreen mode is standard for television or movie clips, while portrait mode effectively uses space, and shows a larger video area, in message threads, making it easier to watch and add readable text.

Content of interest area

MMS messages are sent to the destination mobile device's messaging app and displayed in a preview bubble. The preview bubble may cut off parts of the image or video content, and some apps may overlay controls. To maintain interest, position relevant content in the areas displayed in the preview bubble that is displayed prior to opening the message and displaying the content on a full screen.

Best Practices for Sending Static MMS Images

Recommended File Size for Static MMS Images

In MMS messaging, it's crucial to consider image file size and image dimensions to improve deliverability rate. A smaller file size, such as 500Kb, can increase the rate of delivery. MMS image dimensions are typically measured by pixels, which are small dots or squares that affect resolution on a screen. It’s important to consider the trade-off between file size, quality, and delivery speed when sending multimedia content via MMS.

Our recommendations for file size depend on whether or not you plan to use transcoding:

  • No Transcoding : We recommend keeping static MMS images files under 500Kb, and no larger than 740Kb
  • Sinch Transcoding : We recommend keeping static MMS images files under 1Mb
Note:

If you are sending to a large subscriber base (that is, a base that is anywhere from hundreds of thousands to more than a million subscribers), we recommend uploaded file size of 300k or smaller. This will avoid slower batch delivery from the database.

Recommended Images Dimension for Static MMS Images

The optimal image size across all devices has an aspect ratio of 9:16. We recommend 1080px by 1920px.

Image Design Considerations for Static MMS Images

When an MMS image is delivered to a phone there are typically two ways the content is displayed. The content is displayed in the message conversation thread within a message bubble and then when the image bubble is tapped, the content is displayed in a full screen view. When when the image is displayed within a message bubble, there are portions of the image cut off from view. It's therefore important that any image be designed with the “content of interest” within a more restricted areas of the image so that it's readable from within the conversation view.

  • For Images 480 by 480 : Avoid adding content of interest in the top 39px, right 39px, bottom 39px, and left 44px of the gif
  • For Images 1080px by 1920px : Avoid adding content of interest on the top 250px and the bottom 250px

Additional best practices for Static MMS Images

  • Image files are best in a .jpg format. This format tends to render faster and are supported on more devices than .png files.
  • If you use a .png file, exclude transparency. Transparency will be filled in with color outside of your control by the recipient’s device.
  • On current iOS devices, when a static image is opened in a preview mode, it shows a top and bottom navigation bar, which covers a small portion of the top and bottom of the image. When a user touches the image in a preview mode, the top and bottom navigation bars are removed, allowing the user to see the full image. Take the content of interest areas mentioned above into consideration.
  • It’s important to consider the trade-off between file size, quality, and delivery speed when sending multimedia content via MMS. Before sending a message, we recommend you send a test MMS to yourself to ensure the quality of the image.

Best Practices for Sending Animated Gif Images

An animated gif is a .gif image file composed of multiple images that play on a loop. Unlike videos, animated gifs files don't include sound and don't require the viewer to press play.

Recommended File Size Animated Gifs

Our recommendations for file size depend on whether or not you plan to use transcoding:

  • No Transcoding : We recommend keeping animated MMS image files under 500 KB
  • Sinch Transcoding : We recommend keeping animated MMS images files under 740KB
Note:

If you are sending to a large subscriber base (that is, a base that is anywhere from hundreds of thousands to more than a million subscribers), we recommend uploaded file size of 300k or smaller. This will avoid slower batch delivery from the database.

When transcoding an animated gif, we will reduce the dimensions of the animated gif by 25% and 50%. We will also apply compression to the animated gif. The results of this compression will vary based on the number of colors and compression you have already applied to your source animated gif.

Recommended File Dimensions Animated Gifs

Recommended Dimensions (Portrait/Vertical) 480px wide by 720px tall (a little animation) 480px wide by 640px tall (a lot of animation)

Recommended Dimensions (Square) 640px wide by 640px tall (a little animation) 480px wide by 480px tall (a lot of animation)

Animated GIFs are displayed too large on iOS v13–13.4 unless the width is 320px or less. This issue is fixed in 13.5

Image Design Considerations for Animated Gifs

480px by 720px: Avoid placing content of interest in the 39px at the top, right, and bottom of the gif. Also avoid the adding such content in the 44px on the left side of the gif.

480px by 640px: Avoid placing content of interest in the 65px at the top, and the 58px at the bottom of the gif. Also avoid the 39px to each side of the gif.

640px by 640px: Avoid placing content of interest in the 52px at the top, right, and bottom of the gif. Also avoid the adding content in the 58px on the left side of the gif.

480px by 480px: Avoid placing content of interest in the 39px at the top, right, and bottom of the gif. Also avoid the adding such content in the 43px on the left side of the gif.

Tips for decreasing animated gif file size

  • Keep the animation short and repeat it.
  • Lower your Frames Per Second (FPS). A higher frame speed means that you are adding more content to each second which will increase the file size. While a video may have 24–30 FPS, we recommend keeping animated gifs in the 2–4 range depending on the length of the content.
  • Limit the number of colors used in your file.

Additional best practices for animated gifs

  • Animated images should always be saved and uploaded as .gif files.
  • Don't include any transparent aspects in your file. Transparency will be filled in with another color by the phone.
  • When transcoding an animated gif, we will reduce the dimensions of the animated gif by 25% and 50%. Also, we will apply compression to the animated gif. The results of this compression will vary based on the number of colors and compression you have already applied to your source animated gif.
  • It’s important to consider the trade-off between file size, quality, and delivery speed when sending multimedia content via MMS. Before sending a message, we recommend you send a test MMS to yourself to ensure high video quality.

MMS Best Practices for Sending Videos

Recommended File Size of MMS Videos

Our recommendations for file size depend on whether or not you plan to use transcoding:

  • No Transcoding : We recommend keeping MMS video files under 500Kb and no more than 740Kb.
  • Sinch Transcoding : We recommend keeping MMS video files under 10MB. This will result in Video files from 300Kb to 1.5Mb.
Note:

If you are sending to a large subscriber base (that is, a base that is anywhere from hundreds of thousands to more than a million subscribers), we recommend uploaded file size of 300k or smaller. This will avoid slower batch delivery from the database.

Recommended Video Dimensions for MMS Videos

Landscape Video Format (Horizontal) 1280px by 720px

Portrait Video Format (Vertical) 720px by 1280px

Additional best practices for MMS Videos

Duration:

The duration of a video will have the most dramatic effect on the quality, and resulting file size, of the MMS message.

  • Videos 15 seconds and under will be delivered in HD quality to nearly all carriers and most mobile devices.
  • Videos under 20 seconds will be delivered in HD quality to most carriers and most mobile devices.
  • Videos over 20 seconds will vary in quality depending on the network and mobile device.

The characteristics of your video will also impact the video's quality. For example, the inclusion of music and fast movements in the video may reduce video quality.

Frame Rate: 30 FPS.

Further Advice for Videos

You can improve the quality of your video by using the following techniques:

  • Use spoken audio instead of music.
  • Use slower movements in the video.
  • Use solid colors.
  • Video source files are best in .mp4 formats.
  • Different carriers have different requirements when it comes to the file size of a video. Carriers may decrease the size of the video if it's too large. This could affect the quality that's provided.
  • It’s important to consider the trade-off between file size, quality, and delivery speed when sending multimedia content via MMS. Before sending a message, we recommend you send a test MMS to yourself to ensure high video quality.
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