Mobile optimised emailsBy Wei Tan
Are you sending mobile optimised emails? Here’s a simple exercise for you marketers. Grab the closest smart phone and load up your company’s last email marketing campaign and answer the following questions:
- Do you need to resize the campaign in order to read the contents?
- Do you have trouble clicking on any of the links?
- Does the email take more than 5 seconds to load?
- Do the email links take you to a non-mobile version of your website?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you’ll want to pay special attention to this article.
Smartphone Usage by the Numbers
According to a recent study by Telstra (July 2011, PDF), of the 22.1 million mobile phone handsets in Australia, 46% are smart phones. As of 2013, the ACMA reports that approximately half of Australians now use a smartphone device.
The popularity of smart phones and in particular Apple’s mobile devices (such as the iPod Touch and iPad) has had a huge impact on email marketing. In fact Apple’s iOS devices are now the second most popular email-reading platform at 16.01%, just behind Outlook at 27.62%. This is surprising given the popularity of email services such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Emails are no longer just being read at the computer, consumers can now check their messages whilst they are out and about.
To put things into further perspective, Campaign Monitor statistics highlight the rapid growth in viewing email on mobile devices, with the mobile email market increasing from 4% to 20% in the last 24 months. From our own experience, we’ve seen clients get up as high as 35% for mobile audiences.
With more and more people checking their emails on their smart phones, the important question to ask is whether they are actually “reading” them. In regards to marketing messages, there are some compelling statistics to suggest that the answer is, “no”.
Email marketing messages have seen a steady decline with open and click throughs in the past few years. Vision6 reported that open rates had declined as much as 11% between 2009 and 2010 with clicks falling by an alarming 14.5% in the same period.
But with email now being more accessible than ever, why would opens and clicks be decreasing?
The reason behind the decline is not so much that people are not interacting with emails on mobile devices, but because they can’t. The truth is most organisations haven’t begun to create mobile optimised emails. This makes the experience in interacting with email an difficult on a mobile device.
What Makes a Mobile Optimised Email?
Given the restricted viewing space on mobile devices, an email is typically scaled down in size. Images and text are shrunk to fit the mobile device’s screen, therefore requiring the recipient to apply zoom gestures to view the email, often reading small sections at a time.
Zooming in and out, panning up and down, left and right proves frustrating to read and even more so to interact with links. The frustration is further compounded if the link within the email takes the recipient to a non-mobile version of your website. Eventually, the recipient simply gives up.
Mobile devices make reading emails more accessible, but they are hardly ideal.
Fortunately, with some clever use of HTML and CSS coding, we can create truly flexible mobile optimised emails that will render on either a mobile or desktop environment.
In order to reverse the trend of decreasing opens and clicks, mobile optimised emails are the answer. Mobile optimised emails allow recipients to easily scan and interact with your content with minimal fuss, providing a more engaging user experience that ultimately results in increased open and click-through rates.
One final tip; to further enhance your email for mobile users, consider creating mobile optimised websites and landing pages. This ensures your newly engaged mobile audience will continue to enjoy the benefits of reading your easy-to-read content once they have “clicked through”.