Surprising Email CTR by OS

Patti RennerOn Thursday, we released our latest Mobile Email Opens Report for H1 2012. The report is chockfull of valuable data and tips on mobile email activity, open rates, popular devices and more. In the process of creating the report, our team slices and dices loads of data to compile the information within. With our focus on email opens, we don’t always include every data nugget that’s available.
So, when someone on Facebook wanted to know about CTO rates by operating system, I thought it was an interesting question. We historically have looked at open rates by OS, but the clicks offer another important consideration for email marketers. And when we pulled the data to answer his question, the results were surprising.

Historically, email open rates on the iPhone are always higher than those on Android devices. Considering there are more Android-based devices in market, that statistic always bothered me. It comes down to how an email open is recorded as “mobile,” which is based on downloading email images. Image download (i.e., “show images”) is not always a default setting some Android devices. This means the reported number of opens is often lower than the actual number of users viewing or reading the email. That’s why iPhone seems to take a huge lead.

But that lead dries up once we look at CTO rates on each operating system. Considering the email is already opened, this number levels the playing field between the two and offers a more balanced view engagement by OS.

Our definition, excerpted from report: “For those unfamiliar with the concepts of CTOs… the CTO rate is expressed as a percentage of unique click-thrus on links within an email to the total number of unique opens of that email. This helps marketers measure the relative effectiveness of the content of an email message in driving targeted traffic to the brand’s website or landing page.”

When you look at the numbers from across 11 industry segments, Android more than overtakes the iPhone in click-to-open (CTO) rates – the rate of click-thru activity on Android phones is more than twice that of iPhones. Interesting.

Great information, but what this really tells us is that looking at email open rates alone is not enough. Strong email open rates on iOS may lead you to believe the only mobile OS that matters for email optimization is the iPhone when, in fact, actual activity on email content – once that email is opened – is far stronger on Android. You need to know what metrics really matter.

Every audience is different. See what data you’re getting from your email service provider to see what your open rates and CTOs are by device type and/or operating system, then optimize accordingly. You may be surprised. For marketers, better data can mean bigger wins. While this level of reporting comes standard when you use Knotice for email, not every platform has DMP capabilities to support Big Data and a truly unified approach to customer-focused messaging. Be sure to make the most out of what data you have available to you, or find a partner to help with stronger data intake to drive more actionable analytics.

We’ll include more on CTOs by OS in future reports. Until then, if there’s anything you’re curious about, or a perspective you’d like to see us dig into, please shoot us an email with your suggestion or via Facebook

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