Email Marketing in a Mobile World

Marketers are investing more into their email campaigns than ever before. But, with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, email marketing does not look the same as it did five years ago.  In 2011, only 8% of users were receiving emails on mobile/tablet devices.  By 2014, that number had jumped to 48%, and by 2016 it had risen even further to 55%. 

Assuming a large percentage of emails will be opened on mobile devices, it is imperative that email creative be optimized for mobile.  Why?  Simple fact: 72% of users delete emails on mobile devices before they read them if they are “ugly”.  If your email creative is not rendering properly on mobile devices, you are short-changing your campaigns!

So, how should creative be optimized for mobile?

  1. Subject lines should be shorter. With mobile devices, there is less real estate and longer subject lines will be truncated.  Best practice: keep it under 30 characters.
  2. Write interesting preheader text. Before a user opens an email on mobile, they can see a “teaser” for the full email message called the preheader.  If the preheader text doesn’t look interesting, your message will be deleted before it’s even seen.  Best practice: 40-50 characters.
  3. Buttons should be easily tapable. Make sure links are spaced out and large enough to be tapped by an index finger.
  4. Images should be able to scale properly for a smaller screen, especially if those images contain text. Consider responsive design that adjusts creative to the screen size.
  5. Promotions should include offers that can be received on mobile devices. Even if the primary offer is best for desktops, consider a second cross-sell offer that promotes a mobile-friendly experience.
  6. All landing pages should be mobile-friendly.


What does this mean for performance tracking?

Traditional email campaign metrics include opens, clicks, landings, bounce rates, and registrations/conversions.  These metrics are still available for mobile, but, if you are using an adserver for performance tracking, you are probably under-reporting post-click metrics (mobile cookies aren’t as reliable as desktop cookies).  Cross-reference your adserver data with Google Analytics data to get a more comprehensive view of mobile performance.

And what kind of performance can I expect from mobile vs. desktop?

Users are less likely to click on an email if they open that email on a mobile device.  According to Experian, while 56% of all opens happen on mobile/tablet device, only 46% of clicks are coming from those same sources.

This means your content MUST be compelling.  The days of over-saturating your database are over.  You must offer convincing content in order to engage your users.  Otherwise, you risk very low click rates, or even worse… opt outs.

The trend continues.

By 2020, an estimated 6.1 billion smartphones will be used around the world.  Mobile email consumption follows suit, and is expected to continue growing year-over-year.  If you aren’t making your email campaigns mobile friendly… what are you waiting for?

Katie Frick Hauff
Just Media, Inc.

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