Email on the Third Screen

Dutch HollisHow many of your email recipients opened your last email on an iPhone — or HTC Droid Incredible, Blackberry Storm, Apple iPad, or other mobile device?
If you don’t know, you certainly should. In today’s mobile universe, the “third screen” is an important part of our online experience. But how many of us who focus on email marketing are actually doing anything about it?

Because our platform can capture relevant user data, we’ve noticed a couple things about how people view email on a mobile device.

First observation is that the mobile screen isn’t the only screen on which an email might be viewed. Some users may read an email on their mobile device, then look at it again later on their computer.

Another observation is that many email recipients may use their mobile device for “triage” in the war for space within their inbox – determining which emails will eventually make it to their computer screen, and which are dead on arrival.

These factors have a couple implications. Foremost, you need to make sure the email you send is renders acceptably well in the most popular mobile devices out there.

We normally see open rates from mobile devices ranging from 2% up to 26% and more. (The numbers vary widely depending on target audience, geography and messaging.) Because this is a significant part of your audience, you want to make sure the message that hits their inbox looks as good as it possibly can on both desktop and mobile devices.

Also, you need to be able to see (and understand) open rates specifically to the device. Below is a sample distribution of what we might see for email opens by device. (For simplicity’s sake in this article, we’ve ignored desktop broken out by browser/rendering engine.)

Device

Browser

Percent

Desktop

86.26%

Apple iPhone

Safari

7.36%

Apple iPad

Safari

3.38%

Apple iPod Touch

Safari

1.13%

HTC ADR6300

Safari/Webkit

0.75%

Palm

Safari/Webkit

0.25%

RIM BlackBerry 8330

BlackBerry

0.13%

RIM BlackBerry 9530/Storm

BlackBerry

0.13%

T-Mobile myTouch 3G

Safari/Webkit

0.13%

Samsung Moment

Safari/Webkit

0.08%

HTC

Safari/Webkit

0.04%

HTC Droid Eris

Safari/Webkit

0.04%

HTC S6356/Pure

Opera

0.04%

Motorola Droid

Safari/Webkit

0.04%

Motorola V950

Opera Mini

0.04%

RIM BlackBerry 8130

BlackBerry

0.04%

RIM BlackBerry 8520

BlackBerry

0.04%

RIM BlackBerry 8530/Curve

BlackBerry

0.04%

RIM BlackBerry 9700/Onyx

BlackBerry

0.04%

Samsung

NetFront

0.04%

As you can see, these sample results skew a bit toward Apple devices; however, Android OS devices are coming on strong and may be more typical for your recipient list.

Assuming you’ve tested this email using your campaign-rendering tools of choice (including mobile layouts), then you ought to be in relatively good shape. But in your testing, you will undoubtedly find that, for some of these devices, your emails don’t render well – no matter how hard you try. Your numbers will give you the perspective you need to determine when you should add a link to a mobile version within your emails.

Making sure your marketing communications works well on mobile devices is just one more way to protect the consistency of your brand and the effectiveness of your campaign.

Next month I’ll talk about optimizing mobile email versions, as well as completing the mobile experience by using dynamic mobile landing pages.

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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