Photo Messaging, Explained [2024]

May 5, 2023 (Updated) | By Sam Pelton
Woman receiving text

Let’s start with the obvious.

You send photo messages to friends and family from your phone.

You receive photo messages too.

You may have even heard the term MMS (which stands for multimedia messaging service, in case you were curious).

But how does photo messaging actually work?

And how could you send photo messages to a large number of people - for example, as part of a marketing campaign?

The answers are right here, so read on!

What Is Photo Messaging / MMS?

First off, we’ll get our terms straight.

When it comes to texting, there’s photo messaging, and there’s MMS.

These concepts are similar but different.

MMS (multimedia messaging service) is the broader term.

It encompasses any text message that contains media. This would include videos, documents, contact cards, and…

Photo messages.

So photo messages are a subset of MMS - and arguably the most common form of MMS.

By the way, one other benefit of MMS (and by extension, photo messaging), is that it allows for longer messages than plain text messages.


With the way the text messaging processes are set up, plain texts can technically only include up to 160 characters.

Any more than that, and your message is split up into 2 or more texts. (Although many phones will concatenate the message so the recipient won’t know the difference.)

MMS, on the other hand, allows up to 1,600 characters.

So photo messaging, and MMS in general, is a powerful means of communication, in more ways than one:

  • It allows for photos (which are worth a thousand words, after all).
  • It allows more flexibility in how much content you can include in a single message.
Difference between MMS and Photo Messaging

“OK, that’s great,” you say.

“But I already know how to send a photo message from my phone. How can I use photo messaging for my business?”

We’re so glad you asked!

Here’s how.

How Do Businesses Send Photo Messages?

You obviously can’t send photo messages from your phone to dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people.

So how do businesses send out texts to their prospects, customers, and employees?

The answer: mass texting platforms like Mobile Text Alerts.

Send Message platform screenshot

These platforms allow you to manage a database of your contacts and send out mass text messages, including photo messages.

And the process is really simple.

All you need to do is…

  1. Add your contacts
  2. Type up your message
  3. Attach your photo
  4. Click “Send”
How Businesses Send Photo Messages

Add Your Contacts

With a mass texting platform, you can either add your contacts manually or automatically.

Manually, you can either:

  1. Add your contacts individually
  2. Import an existing list of contacts from a spreadsheet

Automatically, you can do one of the following:

  1. Tell your contacts to send a text to a particular phone number, and they’ll be automatically subscribed
  2. Tell your contacts to scan a QR code that’s automatically generated for you
  3. Tell your contacts to register using a free web sign-up form that comes with your account
  4. Load in contacts from an existing database via a Zapier connection (What’s Zapier? It’s “an automation platform that connects your work apps and does repetitive tasks for you”)
  5. Load in contacts from an existing database via API (What’s API? It’s a mechanism "that enables two software components to communicate with each other")

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6 ways to add your contacts

Type Up Your Message

Once you have contacts in your texting database, you can then select which recipient(s) you’d like to send a message to.

Then type up your message.

Attach Your Photo

You can find the file you’d like to send from your device and drag it and drop it to attach it to your message.

(Or you can click to select the file directly from your device.)

You’ll be able to see a preview of what the message will look like before you send it.

Click “Send”

Once you’re done setting everything up, all that you need to do is click “Send” and you’ll be good to go.

How and Why Do Businesses Use Photo Messaging?

Businesses recognize that texting is hugely widespread. For example, 2.2 trillion text messages were sent in the United States in the year 2020 alone.

(That’s right - 2.2 TRILLION.)

Another example: in the year 2021, the number of mobile subscriptions worldwide reached 8.6 billion.

(Yep, that’s more than the global population).

And the open rates for text messages are incredible - as high as 98%.

Why do businesses use photo messaging

So it really goes without saying that texting (and relevant to our discussion, photo messaging in particular) is something businesses should try. And many businesses have significant success with it.

What do they actually use it for?

The possibilities are basically limitless. But some of them include…

  • For promotions
  • For branding purposes (i.e. including company branding in your text messages)
  • For pictures of products
  • For event reminders or notices
What do businesses use photo messaging for

Here’s an example workflow of what it might look like…

  1. A store displays SMS sign-up instructions on their website, social media, and physical location.
    • These instructions inform people to send a text into a particular phone number in order to receive exclusive deals and discounts.
    • The instructions further incentivize people to sign up by offering a free $5 credit on their next visit.
  2. The store plans on running a promotion for 50% off a particular product on Labor Day, so the store’s marketers design an attractive graphic and write up an accompanying text message to promote the Labor Day Sale.
  3. The store schedules the message to send out to their text subscribers a few days before the sale.
  4. The store also schedules a follow-up text the day of the sale.
  5. Lastly, the store schedules a final text to send just before the sale ends.

Any business can follow a similar flow for their own market and product.

What is the Easiest Way to Try Out Photo Messaging?

If you’re considering trying out photo messaging for your business, the easiest way is to get a free trial on a text alert platform like Mobile Text Alerts.

With Mobile Text Alerts, the free trial gives you full access and 50 free messages to send for 14 days. Your account can be set up and your first photo message sent in 10 minutes or less, so it’s super easy to try it out.

(And there’s no credit card required either, so no need to worry about forgetting to cancel if you decide it’s not right for you.)

Get a Free 14-Day Trial Account

Start sending mass text alerts to your entire list today!