SMS Broadcast vs. Text Message Broadcasting: What’s the Difference?

When people talk about text message broadcasting, they’re actually almost always talking about sending out a mass number of missives over the simple message service that powers most written cellular communication. Technically, you could also send out mass messages over another proprietary app like Telegram or Kik, but in practice, the terms are usually interchangeable. A majority of text broadcasters use standard SMS or multimedia messages to get the word out.

Mass Communication with SMS & MMS Texts

Chances are that you think of text messaging as a one-on-one activity, but it’s likely that a majority of texts sent in the world are actually sent out via multicasting protocols. Value-added service providers offer the opportunity to send out a single message to literally hundreds of subscribers all at the same time. Unfortunately, MMS becomes extremely inefficient when used this way because it includes so much overhead with each message sent.

Users normally won’t notice this overhead when they’re just sending pictures to someone on their contacts list, but messaging networks will lag noticeably when more than 10-15 people are involved in the process. Text message broadcasting technology leverages the power of traditional SMS texting to reduce this overhead and ensure that everyone on a virtual mailing list gets their messages in a timely fashion.

Standard SMS text messaging technology will probably work in more than 80% of broadcasting situations. When it’s necessary to send out an image or infographic, mass communications specialists will turn to richer text broadcasting techniques to reach potential consumers.

Broadcasting Rich Message Content

When you send a picture as MMS data, your handset encodes it as a series of bytes that are readable as text using the same format defined by the multipurpose Internet mail extensions framework. Though a human wouldn’t normally be able to read the garbled material the encoder feeds as output, it can be transmitted using the same technology that SMS text services rely on.

As soon as the message hits a central office building’s internal network topology, it figures out which wireless carrier it originated on and routes it properly to its destination. Different providers have come up with several different ways of transmitting messages, which is why this additional step is needed. Traditional SMS broadcasting techniques don’t require any further data checks before users can receive their content.

In general, this makes MMS text broadcasting quite a bit more complicated than disseminating mass messages over SMS. Older phones might not support sending images over MMS, and there’s always a chance that someone’s wireless carrier could reject a message because it doesn’t know how to handle it. Fortunately, there are a few advanced technologies that can simplify the process to at least some degree.

Advanced MMS Broadcasting Techniques

Wireless carriers usually only provide the tools for sending out bulk SMS messages, so a cottage industry has developed that supports a number of dedicated messaging platforms designed to support sending messages out to a wide number of people at the same time. These applications usually allow public relations officials to carefully craft a message that will feature personalized bits of information for each intended recipient.

Technologically, this resembles the way that mail merge software works. Customer service representatives can put together a list of everyone that has opted in to receive rich message content from their organization, and the app will then customize each message accordingly. Since spammers and other bad actors seldom use customer details correctly, this can help individual consumers figure out which messages are actually coming to them from a reputable source.

Gateway services allow broadcasters to send out MMS text messages that subsequently get routed to a customer’s email inbox. Those who want to send particularly large images or other rich content to a client can transmit it through one of these gateways and give their clients the freedom to peruse the materials on a laptop at their leisure.

While SMS and text broadcasting usually mean the same thing, there are actually a number of different services that these terms actually refer to. Savvy customer service representatives can leverage the power of all of them in order to reach the largest number of consumers.

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