Optimize your Marketing Content for Mobile, or Get Left Behind
Although email marketing has long been a pillar of digital marketing strategy, it’s primarily been focused on one medium – the personal computer. However, with the advent of smartphones, tablets, and mobile data, marketers must expand their target. Mobile opens are increasing at an unprecedented rate, more than doubling in only a year and a half. To provide a sense of just how great a foothold mobile email opens have attained, Email Client Market Share tracks email opens across platforms. As the metrics show, iPhone, iPad, and Android opens represent 40% of the market share at 23%, 10%, and 7% respectively. With these numbers presented so clearly, it’s obvious that you can’t ignore 40% of your targeted market.
These statistics are nice and all, but the issue at hand is that email marketers are not, for the most part, keeping up with the market surge. Instead of focusing on developing a mobile medium, many email marketers are still only designing emails targeted at desktop/laptop users. If a marketer is still sending creative only optimized for the desktop, they are essentially disregarding 40% of their audience, every time they advertise via email. Many times the mobile user can then attempt to interact with the email, but un-optimized emails can range from rather frustrating, to completely worthless, on mobile devices. Often, the screen must be zoomed in and panned around to distinguish distinct links on which to click. Additionally, email images that are downloaded quickly on computers become cumbersome affairs when an email is opened on a mobile device.
Users interact with mobile devices in a completely different manner than with computers. As such, email marketers should expand their email designs to gain versatility and encompass every type of inbox to improve the end-user’s experience. Research has discovered that discovered that only 2% of email subscribers view an email on multiple devices; desktop subscribers comprise 56% of email viewers, while mobile users make up the remaining 42%.
Another important factor is that mobile optimization must be implemented from the start, it’s usually too troublesome to convert existing creatives into mobile friendly versions. Responsive email design refers to the use of two separate designs, while the one being rendered is determined by the use of CSS3 @media queries to determine screen size. This allows you to change the layout, content, and text size depending on the screen size. However, not all mobile environments support media queries, so this is not an end all solution. Another solution would be scalable email design, where one design is made that uses a grid system, or single column design to make sure the email renders correctly on ALL screen sizes. This may be a bit trickier to design, but you can be assured that it will render correctly without the use of CSS3.
With 42 percent of users viewing emails exclusively on mobile devices, a sense of mobile awareness would greatly behoove email marketers. If an email is designed for just over half of an audience, then that email runs the risk of alienating, or being ignored by the remaining viewers. As research shows, an email is rarely re-viewed on an alternate platform, so if a user deems a desktop-designed email unreadable on his or her mobile device, the odds of it being read on the intended platform at a later point in time are slim. Therefore, being aware that 40% of your subscribers won’t be able to engage your message the first time they view it should be enough motivation to begin optimizing creative content. And these figures are only the current statistics in such an explosively growing industry–the sooner mobile awareness is adopted, the sooner a company can reach more prospective consumers.