As we kick off 2015, it is looking like this year is going to be all about visual marketing and brand recall. Brands will be sponsoring messages in applications like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with interesting pictures in order to increase a metric called ‘brand recall’ which is used to measure their success. Brands who have built up SMS lists will be sending MMS messages to their lists for that same reason.

The question we are often asked is what the best image size is for delivering an MMS message. Each year, screen dimensions change as popularity shifts to larger, taller screens. Over 96% of consumer devices on the market have phones with screens that are in portrait mode (tall). If you check out the Tier 1 US carrier’s websites even the old school flip phones are all portrait mode nowadays. The only phone being sold by the Tier 1 US carriers that is still landscape(wide) is the Blackberry 9930. Even the Blackberry Z10 and Q10 are not landscape. The Z10 is portrait and the Q10 is square at 720×720. Therefore you should focus your effort on delivering a beautiful portrait image that is compelling to your audience.

We’ve created a number of different images and delivered them as an MMS to a number of popular phones on the market today of various sizes. Here are our results.

device previews of recommended mms dimensions

After completing these tests we found that an aspect ratio of 9:16 worked best across all devices. We suggest using images that are 640px by 1138px, or 1080px by 1920px if you want a larger version.

When you upload an image above 640px by 1138px and over 100Kb the Skycore platform will transcode and optimize your image and adapt the markup to fit the screen width. Images 640px by 1138px and below may have higher file sizes but will still be transcoded on delivery if required.

When we tested the different devices we found that the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 would first open up to a preview screen and then would display a full screen version of the image if you tapped again. In that preview screen there is a border on both the top and the bottom that cuts off some pixels. We did some research and were able to find the exact number of pixels for the suggested screen sizes that are being cut off for both the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6. We suggest that when creating your MMS images that you refrain from putting any logos, barcodes or important information in these temporarily covered areas. You can see in the image below the red area that represents the covered area. Due to the popularity of the iPhone 5 and 5s that you keep important information far enough from the bottom and top edge.

iphone 5s and 6 preview for size optimizations

We went on to test the 640×1138 and 1080×1920 files sizes on the Blackberry Bold 9900 to see how the image would be viewed on their landscape screens. Here you can see our results of how the image normally looks as well as how it would appear if you zoom in. Both looked exactly the same and the zoom was no issue at all for an everyday blackberry user. Just pinch the screen outwards similar to how an iPhone works.

blackberry bold screen previews of file size conversions

Go To Market Recommendation

Create an  image that is 640px by 1138px or 1080px by 1920px at any file size up to 500Kb . For 640px by 1138px do not put any “content of interest” in the top 129px and the bottom 89px, and for 1080px by 1920px do not put any “content of interest” in the top 218px and the bottom 150px. The Skycore platform will transcode your content to the appropriate file sizes for each carrier and device.

You are set for 2015!