Report: Mobile Now Driving 36 Percent Of All Email Opens

Reading email is one of the primary activities of smartphone owners. Indeed, several reports over the past year have indicated that more and more email interaction is happening on mobile devices. Adding to that narrative Knotice today released its latest Email Opens report covering the first half of 2012.

Since 2010 the company has documented the rise of mobile email, which obviously corresponds to increasing smartphone penetration in the US.

Source: Knotice (9/12)

The report benchmarks everything to PC open rates and related email marketing data. The PC still dominates most email interaction and sees 64 percent of opens overall. However, mobile (tablet + smartphones) sees the other 36 percent. That’s up from 27 percent at the end of last year.

If the current pace of mobile email growth continues nearly 45 percent of “on the go” consumers will be reading email on their smartphones or tablets by this time next year. Indeed, Knotice recommends that email marketers “begin planning for a point in time when mobile users will be the majority audience.”

Email Open Rates:

Source: Knotice (9/12)

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear or explained iOS devices dominate Android when it comes to open rates.

Source: Knotice (9/12)

Knotice says that iOS and Android, in the US, “account for 99.19 percent of all mobile email opens.” Financial services and consumer services (whatever that means precisely) were the two categories that saw the highest percentage of mobile opens.

Source: Knotice (9/12)

Knotice added that “the distribution of [email] opens occurring on phones is more heavily concentrated within the first 3 hours following email delivery . . . Knotice data [also] reveal email engagement by phone is significantly higher in the first 90 minutes, with negligible differences between phone, tablet and desktop email engagement after approximately 5 hours.”

Accordingly the Knotice report had some basic “best practices” recommendations:

  • Embrace a “mobile first” mindset
  • Recognize that now, by default, email marketers are effectively mobile marketers
  • Know your mobile audience (via data and analytics)

Finally Knotice tries to explode the “myth of multiple opens” where multiple devices are allegedly used to look at or revisit the same emails. In a retail case study, Knotice found that very few emails were revisited on a separate device.

The implications of all this are fairly straightforward: take mobile seriously and be ready to optimize email campaigns for an increasingly large mobile user base. For marketers that are complacent or skeptical of mobile, there’s a chance that email campaigns not optimized for mobile will simply no longer be seen.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing | Statistics: Email Marketing | Statistics: Mobile Marketing | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Giacomo Pelagatti

    The big difference between iOS and Android “open rates” in the report is due to the fact that inline images are displayed by default in the iOS email client, while in the Android email client (and Gmail) user action is required. Since email campaigns typically use images for tracking, that explains the radically different numbers (big thanks to +Martino Mosna for pointing this out).

    The Knotice report actually aknowledges this on page 2: “As you review the data, it’s important to note 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 for every operating system (including some Android devices) or mobile email client. This means the reported number of opens may be lower than the actual number of users viewing or reading the email. Data collected over time allows for benchmarks for comparison.”
    http://www.knotice.com/reports/Knotice_Mobile_Email_Opens_Report_FirstHalf2012.pdf

  • Martino Mosna

    Email open rates are such a fickle metric… because are heavily influenced by the client…

    In fact I suspect that open rates are substantially the same across platforms and are rather more influenced by objective metrics such as screen resolution.

  • Meistro

    This is only in the US,in South Africa and not only SA blackberry still is the best smartphone when it comes to email and cost effectiveness…! I see blackberry is not mentioned but as i say thats only in the US!

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