Shock Study Reveals 69 Percent Email Opens On Mobile
By Ken Magill
Almost 70 percent of emails in a March study of big-brand, business-to-consumer messages were opened on smart phones or tablets, according to just-released figures by Movable Ink.
Close to 60 percent of big-brand emails were opened on smart phones, according to Movable Ink.
Just as stunning, the study of 100 brand marketers’ messages found that less than a third of their emails sent in March were opened on desktops.
Movable Ink’s study would seem to contradict every other study in the marketplace.
For example, a recent study by digital messaging solutions provider Knotice found that 41 percent of emails were opened on mobile devices in the second half of 2012. The company predicted more than half of all commercial emails will be opened on mobile devices by the end of 2013.
According to Jordan Cohen, vice president of marketing for dynamic content enabler Movable Ink, the difference between his company’s study and the others is its sole focus on enterprise business-to-consumer messages.
“Other vendors who have reported on these types of numbers like Litmus and Knotice haven't been breaking out enterprise vs. small businesses and B2C versus B2B,” he said. “Nobody has reported numbers this skewed toward smart phones and tablets before. The difference is the data set. Movable Ink works exclusively with enterprise B2C brands.”
It should be noted that Movable Ink isn’t privy to its clients open rates. An “open” is recorded when the receiving machine calls for graphics from the sender. Industry average open rates tend to be around 20 percent.
Movable Ink’s study found that 58.12 percent of the emails that recorded an open were opened on smart phones, 30.83 percent were opened on desktops and 11.05 percent were opened on tablets.
iPhones led the smart phone category, accounting for 34.19 percent of all opens in March. Android phones accounted 23.75 percent.
iPads led the tablet category, accounting for 10.52 percent of overall opens. Android tablets accounted for 0.42 percent. The Kindle Fire accounted for 0.11 percent. Windows phones accounted for 0.14 percent.
BlackBerries accounted for 0.03 percent.
If this study is an accurate portrayal of big-brand email marketing, it means that most consumers aren’t sitting at home in front of their computers when they open commercial messages.
“They’re on the road, they might be in your store, they might be in bed,” said Cohen. “They could be anywhere. The urgency around having a multi-screen strategy has never been greater and what marketers need to realize is that most of their email is being opened on the small screen.”
This development calls for what Cohen calls “next click optimization.”
Designing email with mobile devices in mind “doesn’t just mean just having bigger buttons,” he said. “It means leading a user to a mobile website or a mobile app if you have one.”
Cohen also recommends “deep linking or taking someone to a specific page or environment right away.”
If a marketer has an app and can detect that a certain user has the app installed and is interacting with their message on that mobile device, “the preferable next step is launching that app as opposed to taking them to a website,” said Cohen.
The reason: The app will already contain the consumer’s information.
“You want to eliminate as many clicks as possible,” Cohen said. “The more clicks you put in between a user and what you want them to do, the less likely they are to do it.”
Cohen said he also believes the prevalence of mobile opens presents an email-related social-marketing opportunity.
“If you have good engagement with a particular user, there’s a decent chance they’ll have your app on their phone,” he said. “But there are really two or three apps beyond Angry Birds that everybody has on their phone. They’re Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.”
As a result, he said, one big opportunity in mobile is to make the primary call to action in email marketing messages social-interaction related.
“When the customer clicks on that call to action, it launches Twitter or Facebook, which in all likelihood is already on their phone, and prepopulates the status field with the message the marketer wants to promote,” he said. You could do all that. No one’s doing it, but you could do all those things and the smart phone environment allows it. The key is to have a call to action that is truly sharable, isn’t cheesy and provides real value.”