Approaching the Tipping Point with Mobile Email

Dave LawsonEmail is one of those table-stakes channels that nearly every successful enterprise has leveraged in an above-average way. While it may have been dead for years according to some experts, it still reliably turns a dollar invested into revenue in return. When you factor in the impact of mobile usage within email programs, it’s a great example of how the right data can deliver program enhancement, while at the same time justifying the investment.
As a mobile-minded professional, I’m lucky to have unique insight into mobility and its impact on other channels. And if you’ve been keeping up with our mobile email opens reports, you already know that mobile is having quite an impact on the email channel.

Recent data from Nielsen indicates that over 50% of mobile subscribers are now carrying smartphones. Trends indicate that 2 out of 3 future subscriptions/purchases will be smartphones. Given that cellular plans average a new device every 18 months, it’s a very realistic bet that well over 66% of mobile subscribers will level up for faster, easy-to-operate devices.

Of course such adoption rates matter to marketers. That’s because one of the most popular activities to do with smartphones is to check email (keep an eye out for our next mobile email opens report coming soon). It’s no surprise that we’re seeing some brands pass the tipping point, with more emails opened on mobile devices than on desktop. These brands may be in the minority for now, but we anticipate that may soon change.

Even if your brand hasn’t reached the tipping point (51% of emails opened on a mobile device), you may still be wondering how to get clear on adjusting to the impact of email campaigns viewed on mobile. There are lots of ways to approach mobile email. Let’s look the lowest common denominator: the need to simply deliver a mobile-friendly email design.

One way to design for mobile is to make use of rules within your delivery platform. More advanced systems use rules to send device-specific designs to your subscriber base or to leverage adaptive (not responsive) design. I like these options because they tap into the “smartness” that should define digital marketing today. If the capabilities are there, marketers need to figure out how to use them and vendors need to reinvest in their offering to include them.

An alternative option to the above is to use your data to illustrate the existing “mobileness” of your customers. Check your campaign send reporting for the percentage of emails opened via mobile device, and by what type of device used. This will help justify the investment in improvements to your approach. If you can do this, many of the buy-in barriers will end up dissolving and you’ll be confident when you invest in the necessary modifications mentioned above.

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