Mobile Email Opens Hit 50%, iPad Drives Most Mobile Email Transactions [Report]

The Q2 Email Benchmark Study released by Experian Marketing Services this week is yet another indicator of consumers’ shifting their email consumption habits to mobile. The study shows that half of all unique opens happen on mobile devices (which include smartphones and tablets).

That puts Mobile-only opens ahead of all other individual platforms, and even outpaces the combination of Desktop-only and Webmail-only.

The Experian study breaks out Desktop and Webmail platforms, but both are typically desktop-based. Webmail encompasses subscribers who opened via a webmail service “typically through a desktop” like Gmail or Yahoo Mail. Desktop covers email clients like Outlook. Mobile-combo includes subscribers who opened an email on both mobile and desktop/webmail (more on the importance of this segment below), while Other covers those who opened an email on webmail and on desktop.

When it comes to unique clicks, Mobile-only dips a bit to 40 percent. Together, Webmail and Desktop account for 54 percent of unique clicks. Mobile-combo makes up a slim 6 percent of clicks, yet that is still double its percentage of total opens.

Desktop-based platforms still drive the large majority of transactions. Webmail dominates with 48 percent of all email transactions, with desktop following up with 25 percent of the total. Mobile-only accounts for just 13%.

Why Mobile-Combo Matters

However, there is an interesting story here: Mobile-combo (users who opened an email on both a mobile device and desktop/webmail) accounts for 12 percent of transactions. That’s right, while Mobile-combo accounts for just 3 percent of opens and 6 percent of clicks, those users, who likely opened the email first on mobile and then moved to desktop, drove 12 percent of all transactions.

“With half of all emails opened on mobile devices in Q2 2013, we noticed that people who open email on more than one device, two or more times, have a greater propensity to buy or buy more,” says Peter DeNunzio, general manager for cross-channel marketing at Experian Marketing Services.

Here’s another way to look at this Mobile-combo phenomenon:

Experian then looked at revenue per opener. At $1.28, the mobile-combo group also generated the most revenue per opener than all other platform groups. Mobile-only revenue per opener was lowest  at $0.10 and Other was closest to the mobile-combo at $0.97.

As Experian notes, while the Mobile-only revenue per opener was the lowest of the groups, it was still responsible for the highest number of openers and accounted for a “sizable amount of overall revenue”.

Devices: iPad Leads In Mobile Email Transactions

At a device level, iPhone users made up a whopping 68 percent of mobile unique opens and 57 percent of clicks. The iPhone also accounted for 40 percent of mobile email transactions. The iPad led in total transactions at 48 percent even though it lagged far behind the iPhone in both opens (19 percent) and clicks (15 percent). Android devices still lagged behind iOS, coming in third across all metrics (shown below). It’s not clear which devices are most heavily represented in the Mobile-combo group. It may be that Android users are driving revenue from desktop, but again, that’s not made clear.

In light of these findings, Experian encourages companies to analyze the platform and device preferences of their email subscribers regularly and to be sure all email creative is designed for mobile devices, particularly for the growing tablet market. The Mobile-combo numbers also highlight the importance of not simply relying on last-click transaction data to tell the whole story of your users’ conversion paths.

About The Author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media's Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.