Marketers Are Still Ignoring the Shift Toward Mobile Email

Despite the shifting email habits of consumers, many marketers fail to optimize for mobile, and ultimately end up leaving money on the table.


With the increase in mobile messaging app use and social networks becoming a destination for communication, you’d think that no one is using email anymore. But that’s not even close to the truth. Like so many other things in the digital landscape, email habits are simply going mobile.

Marketing Consultant Jordie Van Rijn collected over 100 data points to compile an very thorough analysis of email usage. His conclusion: “Mobile email will account for 15 to 70 percent of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type.“ But there’s a huge breakdown between those numbers, from email reading patterns by time, to how likely users are to make purchases from mobile.

The biggest overall trend Van Rijn found is that email views are shifting from desktop and webmail to mobile. From January to December 2013, mobile email views increased from 42 to 51 percent. During the same period, desktop views dropped from 33 to 29 percent, and webmail was down five percent. According to email analytics firm Litmus, specific email providers are seeing even bigger gains. 68 percent of Gmail and Yahoo users open their email on smartphone or tablet.

For many, email has become like texting, phone calls or even the old school answering machine, and users check it frequently. Nielsen’s data indicates that 68 percent of smartphone users in the U.K. check their email at least monthly; 43 percent of mobile email users surveyed by Merkle checked their email four times or more per day.

Fifty-four percent of users view their email on mobile right before bed, and 49 percent viewed email right as they woke up, either sometimes or often, according to the data. The data also indicated that the best time to catch users reading their email throughout the week, but the weekend is when people check email from their smartphones the most.

Once you have a user’s attention, which you often do with mobile email, there are great gains to be made. Revenue from a mobile click is almost double that of a desktop click: $7.14 for mobile, $3.26 for a desktop click, according to YesMail. Adobe’s data says that more than 70 percent of mobile purchase decisions are informed by company email, second only to the advice of friends at nearly 90 percent.

Despite the increase in mobile use, lots of companies still have poor email strategies. According to Equinux, about 12 percent of email newsletters are optimized for mobile and 24 percent of companies aren’t doing anything to help mobile users, according to Experian. That kind of poor loading causes nearly 70 percent of users to delete an email immediately, says BlueHornet.

Email may be a little old fashioned in the eyes of some, but it’s as important a marketing tool, maybe even more important than your social media pages combined. The bottom line is that if you’re not optimizing for mobile viewers, you’re leaving money on the table, even if it is email.

Image credit: Atos International