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Further proof of the importance of mobile for email marketers is provided by new stats showing that more than a quarter of emails are opened on phones and tablets.

Knotice conducted a study of 974m emails sent in the second half of 2011, and found that mobile open rates had grown from 20.24% in the first half of the year to 27.39% in the second.

The research also provides a useful breakdown of open rates between tablets and mobiles.

Email open rates on mobile

20.63% of emails were opened on smartphones, with 6.76% on tablets, mainly the iPad (6.54% of emails were opened on this device). 

The iPhone and iPad together represented over 22% of all email opens in Q3 and Q4 2011.

 

Mobile email CTR by industry

The chart shows the ratio of clicks across various industry sectors, as well as showing CTO (click to open rate), the ratio of unique clicks as a percentage of opens.

CTO for both mobile and tablets is best for the consumer products, hospitality and retail sectors, but all tablet and mobile CTOs lag behind that of desktop email.

There is an obvious reason for this: most brands are not yet optimising their email marketing for mobiles, and so the recipient has less reason to click through, and that’s before we consider whether landing pages have also been optimised for mobile.

Stats from our Email Marketing Census 2012 suggest that many need to realise  the opportunity offered by mobile email.

The stats show that a large number of companies do not have any strategy in place for optimising emails for mobile, with 39% reporting this as “non-existent”, and 37% saying their strategy was “basic”.

How well would you describe the extent to which your company has (or clients have) a strategy for optimising email marketing for mobile devices?


In addition, 48% of agency and company respondents were unaware what proportion of emails are opened on mobile devices, which is the first step in deciding whether or not to optimise for emails.

When are people opening emails on mobiles? 

As you might expect open rates for mobile emails are highest during evening, late night and early morning. However, the overall volume of email opens drops around 8PM. 


Three lessons for email marketers

1. Mobile email will continue to grow

The growth of email means that brands without a strategy for optimising emails (and landing pages) for mobile users will be missing an opportunity.

This is more apparent in some sectors. For example, the stats found that 28% of emails from retailers are opened exclusively on mobile.

2. Very few users open emails on multiple devices

The theory that users opening (non-optimised) emails on mobile will simply save them for desktop reading later is not supported by these stats.

In more than 95% of the cases the email open is occurring on only one type of device, which removes one excuse not to optimise for mobile.

3. You need to optimise the whole journey

It’s not just about creating an email which is easy to read on a mobile, you need to make it easy for recipients to act upon the email.

This may be something simple like a voucher code to redeem at a local restaurant, but if you want people to buy something, register etc, then you need a mobile landing page, otherwise optimising the email will have been a waste of time. 

Graham Charlton

Published 13 April, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (17)

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Katie Corcoran

Agreed, but this percentage is a little surprising given the advancement and migration towards everything mobile, I thought it would be higher! In saying this, It will only be a matter of time before all internet activity is carried out on smart phones. By the end of last year there was more than 550 million people communicating through their social networks using their phones and this number will soar over the next few years! Recruitment is new to mobile but it too will leave traditional online job application processes in the dark! Its exciting to see the road ahead!

over 4 years ago

Tudor Davies

Tudor Davies, Head of Research at www.onlineventuresgroup.co.uk

I just find it easier to check emails on a mobile because there is so much spam. Then if a good email pops up I just jump on my computer. It's also the fact that checking on a mobile makes emails more accessible, i.e. you don't have to sit at your desk, turn on your computer and sign in to your email account to read them.

over 4 years ago

Tudor Davies

Tudor Davies, Head of Research at www.onlineventuresgroup.co.uk

I just find it easier to check emails on a mobile because there is so much spam. Then if a good email pops up I just jump on my computer. It's also the fact that checking on a mobile makes emails more accessible, i.e. you don't have to sit at your desk, turn on your computer and sign in to your email account to read them.

over 4 years ago

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KS - Web Designer, London

Another study on small businesses has recently found that over 60% of the respondents had not bothered to create a mobile site as yet.The above report on email is yet another indication of why it has become essential for every business to start focusing on mobile marketing and m-commerce.

over 4 years ago

Elliot Ross

Elliot Ross, Email marketing design at actionrocket.co

Katie - the stats here are likely lower than the full picture, as they're measured by a tracking image download. Many devices, especially Blackberrys and some Android phones, don't download images (at least by default) and therefore won't be tracked.

The figure obviously also varies depending on your brand, the audience and their demographic.

It's exciting to see marketers start to take this seriously - IMO designing campaigns that work properly on all platforms is the big challenge for email right now.

over 4 years ago

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Nir Sever

great content
mobile is obviously here to stay

over 4 years ago

Ryan Hickling

Ryan Hickling, Head of Email at Tullo Marshall WarrenEnterprise

It's also worth noting that % use of Android is likely higher than that quoted above.

Due to the way the platform is fragmented and the vast amount of email apps available it's incredibly hard to accurately id every Android via Open's alone.

over 4 years ago

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Russell O'Sullivan

Totally agree with point three above. All too often there is discussion around having a mobile optimised site or an app, but the whole journey needs to be optimised at every customer touch point. We need to be looking at it more holistically and marrying all the elements together, mobile SEO, Content, Email, m.commerce, landing pages etc etc.

Would have been nice to see is some figures based around m.commerce increase and conversions too in relation to people opening and then converting from emails. Great and insightful piece as always though

over 4 years ago

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Gianfranco Cuzziol, CRM Consultant at everywhere CRM

Optimising for the whole journey means understanding the journey and what the recipient actually needs at those touchpoints

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Russell - Totally agree about the need for a joined up mobile experience.

I haven't seen any decent stats on m-commerce and conversions from mobile emails, but I'll publish them here if I spot any.

over 4 years ago

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Russell O'Sullivan

@Graham.. thanks for that, will come back to check.

I was talking to Maxymiser a few weeks ago and discussing the use of multiple devices for opening emails and then using a site and coming back to it later on another device, as the "cookie" for personalisation or testing is not in place. We chatted about growth and I agree that OR and CTR in email for mobile devices has shot up, but just cant seem to find anyone who can link the whole journey or provide stats on it all... i suppose will have to wait until the medium matures more!?

over 4 years ago

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Grant Sidwell, Mobile Director, Experian CheetahMail

Great piece Graham, 100% agree. Despite the Knotice report being based on US data we can confirm that this closely mirrors the UK data we track across all Experian CheetahMail clients.

Over the past 6 months many of our clients have started taking mobile seriously when planning their email communications with many considering it a 'best practise' exercise rather than initially pushing for results.

The results (i.e. CTO/CTR) will inevitably come and more and more clients are realising that they need to learn how best to tailor their emails, and the whole journey, for mobile.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Thanks Grant - if you have some similar UK data I'd love to see it.

over 4 years ago

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Martin

I find I use the mobile to access emails to fill dead time, arrived at an appointment too early, waiting in a queque for something, during time out if I have twenty mins break when two events are about to synchronise, that sort of thing.

My eyes/preference would be to use the full screen, however convenience or necessity will win out in the end, for sure.

dont forget to use email for your own benefit, and as a tool rather than a life style - there are other things to do as well !! Stay focused!

about 4 years ago

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Dave

It's interesting to hear from Grant that companies are only really starting to take this seriously.

How long have mobiles be around for?

How are marketers getting away with this?!?

Surely mobile would be priority as these stats clearly show it's not an emerging trend, it's here today and surely any business with any sense would be making it a priority.

I hate it when I can't open an email on my mobile and I'm sure most people feel the same.

about 4 years ago

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Ry Steven Yu

Wow, thanks great research! Even my uncle, he is checking his email using his mobile phone. The good thing with this is that he we can do it even outside the house as long as we have a good internet connection and signals.

over 3 years ago

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Asif hussain

I have made email account in yahoo,but I don't know how to open it if you know about it pleas p p I'd love to learn it.

over 3 years ago

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