Email opens on mobile devices have grown 133 percent over the past five years. In 2011, just 23 percent of consumers used their mobile devices to access their inboxes. At the end of 2016, over 53 percent regularly read email on their mobile devices. Mobile is no longer a consideration; it's dominating the subscriber experience.
Interestingly, not only are subscribers accessing email on their mobile devices, but the way they consume the content is changing. The traditional desktop method of viewing emails is much more conducive to reading, scrolling and absorbing the message. Email creative has been designed for this experience for years, providing a cohesive experience from email to landing page, and ultimately through the purchase process.
Mobile viewing has abbreviated that traditional subscriber experience. Consumers now use their mobile devices as a way to triage their inboxes, skimming each message quickly to preview the content before deleting or reading. This behavior has led to three major changes in email consumption:
1. Reduced attention span:
Distractions have increased dramatically over the last 15 years. The average attention span is now just 8.25 seconds, compared with 12 seconds in 2000. Scientifically, we have a decreased ability to focus and consume information. Therefore, it’s not surprising that email viewers are 25 percent less likely to fully read a message on a mobile device vs. on a desktop or laptop.
- Tip: Keep your email file size under 100K (smaller if possible) for faster rendering on mobile devices. If images take a long time to download, most subscribers will delete the message instead of waiting.
2. Low tolerance for irrelevance:
With our ever-connected environment, consumers have more shopping choices than ever before, and they know it. Expectations are particularly high for retailers, as consumers demand better deals and more shopping benefits at their convenience. Mass promotional campaigns and “blast” style messages don’t resonate, as the relevance of each message sent substantiates or deteriorates brand equity.
- Tip: Pepper your subject lines and content with personalization, loyalty offers and exclusive deals to keep your email interesting to subscribers.
3. Buy or bust:
Consumers now prefer to purchase via mobile website or app. Retailers are expected to provide a mobile-friendly experience to facilitate transactions. Failing to optimize both the email and the landing page may drive consumers away … permanently.
- Tip: Try making a mobile purchase on your own website or app to identify vulnerabilities in the fluidity of the experience.
When viewing email on a mobile device, consumers are typically not taking the time to fully read and understand a message before taking action. It’s the marketer’s responsibility to ensure the email campaign is engaging and relevant to prevent stagnation. Test everything and test often: subject lines, copy, images, teaser copy, calls to action, etc. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, "Change is the only constant in life."
Bonnie Malone leads the consulting, client training, and knowledge and editorial organization of Return Path, an email data solutions provider.
Bonnie is passionate about excellent customer experience. With a background in marketing, merchandise buying and retail management, she helps companies stay relevant amid the changing digital landscape. Bonnie leads the knowledge and consulting teams at Return Path, the global leader in email deliverability. She is an active Email Experience Council committee member, featured speaker for events, and writes monthly for the Return Path blog and Total Retail.