3 Questions To Ask When Optimizing Emails For Mobile

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This article is written by Jill Ferris of Response Capture. Jill is the author of an article in our Summer 2012 issue (watch for the publication announcement tomorrow) called “Late To The Party? Best Practices For Mobile Landing Pages.”

Are your outbound emails suffering from high open rates, but no clicks? When was the last time you checked what device opened your emails?

FYI: You could be facing a situation where your emails are less than ideal for mobile.

Let’s look at the facts (full disclosure, I have no affiliation with any companies listed)…

A recent study released by Knotice titled “Mobile Emails Opens Report 2nd Half 2011” notes that in the second half of 2011 27.39% of all emails sent in a study of 974 million emails across 11 industry segments (including retail, consumer products, cable and telecommunications),  were opened via a mobile device. iPhones account for 15.68% of these opened emails;  tablets (including the iPad) 6.54%, and Android devices 4.86%.

Let me repeat: 27.39% of 974 million emails sent in the second half of 2011 were opened via a mobile device.

That is no small number.

Let’s do some math, shall we?

If 974 million emails were studied, that means approximately 267 million emails were opened on a mobile device. Of those 267 million, approximately 153 million were opened on an iPhone, 63.7 million were opened on a tablet (primarily iPad as this accounts for a majority of the market), and 47.3 million opened on Android devices. Give or take a few. And this was all in the second six months of 2011!

So, what is the digital marketer to do?

Three key questions to ask yourself before launching

1.  What is my target demographic? Is this group most likely to be using a smartphone?

According to a survey published by Arbitron and Edison Research, 91% of smartphone owners have their phone only an arm’s length away.

As in, your email may go first to the phone, before your target audience even checks their computer.

2.  Are my emails being opened on a mobile device? If so, what device?

Make sure your emails are enabled for email analytics. This is simply a bit of HTML code to add to an email template.

One option is to use a service like Litmus, which allows you to both test what your emails look like on different devices, and track behavior. http://litmus.com/

3.  If my emails are being opened on a mobile device, under what circumstances is my buyer opening my email?

Are they walking, watching TV, receiving calls and text messages at the same time?

According to a Time Magazine survey, 65% of “Digital Natives”, as in those consumers who grew up with mobile technology as part of their everyday lives, report switching between media platforms 27 times per hour. (i.e., attention spans are short – very short!).

If you are using image heavy emails, make sure they are optimized for the smaller screen, and load quickly.

Final Thoughts

If your email campaigns are experiencing less than stellar results, ask yourself these questions and create a mobile optimized head to head test and see if your open rates improve. If not, it may be an issue of subject line, offer, time of day email was sent, or the design of your mobile landing page, etc.

But that’s another topic.

FYI: The full report by Knotice, including a breakdown of email open rates by industry, is available here.

About the Author

Jill Ferris is the Marketing Programs Manager for Response Capture, a Demand Generation Agency located in Portland, OR. You can read more about creating high converting landing pages and generating more demand for your business with integrated marketing campaigns on the Response Capture Blog.

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2 Comments

  1. Carrie

    This is a great article! Some really good insights here- definitely going to have to take these into account.

  2. Thanks, Carrie! I am glad you found it helpful! If you ever find yourself needing to create mobile optimized landing pages, as well as emails,I would suggest picking up a copy of the Summer issue of the Search Marketing Standard and taking a look at “Late To The Party? Best Practices For Mobile Landing Pages.” The article breaks down the four areas of landing pages (Design, Copy, Personalization, and Testing), and how to optimize for mobile.