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Reading Email On The Go

The high increase of smartphones this year has caused surprising results in email viewership on mobile devices. Email open rates on mobile devices have grown by 34% compared with the previous six month period!

The world’s leading email certification and reputation monitoring company, ReturnPath, released this compelling report just a few days ago. This is their second global report on the impact mobile is having on email viewership, which examined data in US from April 2011 through September 2011.

In light of this data, we think it’s important to get started with on-the-go strategies for the next year!

Mobile explosion half a year ago

At the end of the summer, in our blog about mobile email, we discussed the first study conducted by ReturnPath. That study looked at US data from October 2010 through March 2011, revealing an 81% growth in mobile email viewership in last 6 months. Summer results showed webmail was the leading platform for viewing email with 48% of the total. Desktop use was a little more than 36% of views. While mobile was coming in around 16% that was more than revolutionary comparing with the last year.

Mobile era is outpacing its previous efforts

Since then the proliferation of smartphones has increased, resulting in a dramatic boost to the mobile era. The latest results demonstrate the same: first place for webmail, second for desktop and third for mobile. But the proportions have changed, respectively 44%, 33% and 23% according to ReturnPath. Even though mobile still represents the smallest piece, it has increased by 34% in just a few months and is growing rapidly. The other two, webmail and desktop, decreased by 11% and nearly 9.5%.

So, what’s your plan?

Firstly, figure out if the trend applies to your business. Not all audiences are geared for mobile. If yours isn’t then don’t force it.

Survey your target audience and find out where they read their emails. Send an online survey to your contact list or include an additional field in your sign-up form for new subscribers. If results show the same trends as in the US, segment your audience and treat them differently. With Mailigen online surveys you can automatically segment your audience by survey response.

Your existing email template most likely will not fit mobile device sizes. So, it’s time to consider your mobile design strategy and create a fresh mobile email template for next year’s campaigns! Read more how to make email design mobile friendly.

iPad email viewership up in the air

Consumption of email on the go is not only increasing because of smartphones. With the launch of the iPad 2, email views on the iPad have jumped dramatically by 73% between April and September of 2011. In comparison – during the previous six month period, there was a 15% increase in email opens on tablets.

So, what’s the point?

If you feel your subscribers are new technology adopters, survey them more precisely and include questions about tablets. If a significant part of your audience reads email on tablets, it’s worth adapting your email designs for them. Even though the bigger screen of a tablet offers more options than the small one of a smartphone, there is still a difference from desktop and webmail. If you are not creating a special design for tablets, at least test your design on them and all the other devices used by your subscribers.

Time when reading email matters

One of the main factors affecting where email is read is time when it is read. During weekdays working hours, of course, desktop mail is our primary source for viewing email. In the morning, after work and on weekends, we read our emails in webmail. And – now on mobiles too. Today we are shifting to reading more mobile email. We simply love the ease to check email on the go. We can do it at lunch or on the train without waiting until we get home. Desktop mail is unlikely to go away due to mobile but mobile could affect slightly less webmail use in the future.

So, how to proceed?

After segmenting your target audience, pay attention to the day of week and time of day sent. Some mobile email campaigns are more effective on weekends when people tend to enjoy their leisure time. When conducting mobile campaigns, avoid sending on Mondays as it seems to be preferred for webmail and desktop but not for mobile.

Last Thoughts

One thing is for sure – 2012 will be challenging time in email marketing, yet creative and dynamic. Be wherever your client is or… even a little bit ahead. We’ve talked a lot about sending relevant emails in our blog, meaning relevant content to each receiver. Email format is also a big factor of relevancy. Let it be on your To-Do list for the new year – find out where your subscribers are viewing email and perform a relevant on-the-go sending strategy.

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