Almost 10% of consumers use a smartphone or tablet as the primary device for checking email, according to a new survey by the DMA.

This suggests that desktop clients should still be the most important focus for marketers, however it doesn’t take into account the number of people who check or prioritise their emails on mobile.

Stats published in May shows that more than a third of consumers (36%) read marketing emails on mobile, rising to 55% among 18-34 year olds. 

A separate study found that 33% of respondents said that they use their mobile to screen emails before reading them later on a desktop.

Data from the DMA’s survey also shows that 39% of respondents open emails from trusted brands using their mobile, while 36% would save it to read later on their desktop, so it’s important that brands are optimising email content and subject lines for mobile.

However, in our Email Marketing Census 2012, sponsored by Adestra, 39% of companies said their mobile email strategy was “non-existent” and 37% said their strategy was “basic”.

Almost half (48%) said they didn’t know what proportion of emails they send are read on mobile devices.

For tips on how to optimise your email campaigns, check out our blog posts on best practices for mobile email design and a few words of advice from dotMailer’s Tink Taylor.

Email signups

The DMA report shows that around half (49%) of respondents are signed up to receive emails from between one and 10 brands. 

Therefore the main challenge for email marketers isn’t trying to be heard among competing brands, but getting into the inbox in the first place.

There are several tactics that brands can use to encourage consumers to signup to email alerts, including explicitly highlighting the value of the emails through testimonials or a clear statement of subscription benefits, and using a clear signup process.

However there are also underlying factors that the signup process alone cannot overcome.

For example, although the main reasons consumers signup for emails are for offers/sales (61%) and discounts (59%), other important factors include being a regular customer (42%) and liking the brand (40%). 

To take advantage of the loyalty factors, brands should consider adding email opt-in forms during the checkout process on their websites or on blogs posts or videos that generally require strong visitor engagement.

Relevancy and segmentation

Email relevancy has stayed consistent with the results from 2011 and tracks well above the dark days of 2010.

The number of recipients finding more than half of marketing emails relevant or interesting was 29% in 2012 and 30% last year, whereas in 2010 around 50% of respondents said that fewer than 20% of emails were relevant. 

The increase in relevancy may be in part due to brands improving their segmentation methods. Our Email Marketing Census shows that 67% of companies carry out basic segmentation, although only 19% said they used advanced segmentation.

Also, lack of segmentation (45%) and the quality of the email database (53%) were cited as two of the main barriers to effective email marketing.

So there is still room for improvement, which should also further improve the relevancy of consumer emails. For more information on this topic, read our blog post on the dos and don’ts of email segmentation.

Data from the DMA’s report came from a consumer survey of 1,043 UK respondents. Results were reweighted by age and gender to give a statistical confidence level of +/- 2.45%.