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When Email is Viewed Heavily Effects Where: Study

12/6/11

By Ken Magill

Though mobile email viewership is steadily rising on a month-to-month basis, it plummets on Mondays, according to a study released today by email security and deliverability firm Return Path.

The drop apparently coincides with people getting back to work and interacting with email at their desks.

Likewise, mobile email viewership peaks on Saturdays and Sundays when people are opening messages at home, according to the study.

“Things are changing rapidly and marketers need to pay attention to where people are reading their messages,” said Tom Sather, director, professional services, Return Path.

Mobile email viewership increased 34 percent from April to September, Return Path reported.

Moreover, viewership of email on iPads shot up 73 percent between April and September, Return Path determined. However, email marketers shouldn’t start designing primarily for the iPad just yet. The device accounts for just 4 percent of email views, according to Return Path.

And though mobile’s overall email viewership is heading steadily upward, webmail is still king and desktop applications are No. 2, according to the study.

As of September, 44 percent of email was viewed through webmail accounts such as Yahoo! and Gmail.

By comparison, 33 percent was opened on desktop applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail, and 23 percent was opened on mobile devices, the study determined.

“People are reading their messages on multiple devices now,” said Sather. “You need to make sure your message translates clearly across them.”

Sather said the variety of devices on which people view their email should make marketers rethink their email design approaches.

“Every marketer puts in ‘If you’re reading this on a mobile device, click here,’” he said. “And that’s the only thing you can see on the iPad and the iPhone. That’s your preview. Marketers should rethink that because if that’s all they’re seeing, it says nothing about the contents of the email. That’s kind of a legacy from Blackberries.”

Sather added that the percentage of email readership on the various devices will vary from marketer to marketer so it’s important for individual senders to try and determine how their subscribers are accessing their messages.

Says the study: “As many automobile industry pundits like to say, ‘your mileage may vary.’ A company with a heavy teen audience, for example, might see a pattern very different from this chart [showing industry benchmarks]. Gather the campaign data specific to your audience, then design your sending strategy accordingly.”

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