Smartphone Penetration Contributes To Growth In Mobile Email Marketing

As consumers continue to gravitate to the always-on, multimedia benefits of smartphone technology, email marketing is coming to the forefront as a key way to increase click-through rates and purchases via mobile. Overall email opens via smartphones have increased from 13.36% in Q4 2010 to 20.24% during Q1 and Q2 2011, according to research from Knotice, a targeting marketing communications solution provider. Email open rates via desktop decreased from 86.64% in Q4 2010 to 79.76% during Q1 and Q2 2011.

Knotice’s “Mobile Email Opens Report” defines mobile email open rates as the number of opens occurring via all mobile devices, including tablets. Results are compared to email opens occurring on desktop computers and laptops to highlight the growing importance of streamlining email design for mobile users. According to Patti Renner, Director of Marketing of Knotice, mobile open rates will surge as smartphone usage becomes more prevalent.

“The convergence of email and mobile will continue at a rapid pace, with percentages of emails being opened via mobile devices growing,” Renner told Retail TouchPoints. “Email remains at the heart of many direct digital marketing campaigns; as more mobile devices find their way into consumers’ hands, those mobile email open rates will continue to climb.”


The study also investigated mobile click-to-open (CTO) rates to reveal how smartphone subscribers interact and engage with email messaging. This metric compares the number of email clicks occurring on mobile devices versus email opens on mobile devices. 

Overall email open rates via mobile differed significantly among mobile brands and devices. Among retailers, Knotice reported that Android devices experienced a 2.67% open rate and a 19.49% CTO rate; iPhones acquired a 13.31% open rate and a 7.75% CTO rate; and iPads accumulated a 3.72% open rate and a 11.18% CTO rate. Open rates among these devices have increased sufficiently, from 1.62%, 9.90% and 1.62% respectively.

Consumers will continue to gravitate to smartphones as devices become more affordable and accessible across telecom carriers. As a result, retailers must develop an optimal strategy to engage with mobile users, noted Renner.

“More people with cell phones are trading up and adopting smartphones and/or tablets to help them more efficiently manage their daily tasks, such as checking their inboxes,” Renner said. “This trend will continue to grow into 2012 and beyond, creating an opportunity for retailers to stand out and connect with consumers on a more personal level.”

Renner shared several tips for improving mobile email open and click rates, including:

  • Treat email as a mobile marketing tactic: Email is a foundational component of any mobile marketing strategy. Retailers need to recognize this truth then plan accordingly.
  • Recognize room for improvement: Lagging mobile click rates suggest consumers aren’t having ideal experiences when they open an email on their mobile devices. Poor rendering, web pages not optimized for mobile, “desktop-oriented” content, and ineffective calls-to-action all are causes of consumer dissatisfaction. Compelling email content turns mobile opens into mobile actions.
  • Adapt to the needs of mobile users: When translating email and web content for mobile users, it’s important to optimize the entire experience. Mobile users are on the go and eager to complete tasks. In turn, marketers need to determine how messages are rendered and how users can take action in a convenient way. By recognizing the needs of mobile users, retailers can adapt and appeal to these shoppers.

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