Smoothing Out the Mobile Email Journey
The increase in the number of emails being read on mobile devices is creating significant challenges for subscribers as they make the journey from receiving an email to interacting with content on email landing pages. Retailers have not only been slow to embrace mobile email design, their move to a mobile mind-set for their emails and websites are significantly out of sync, creating instances when subscribers go from a mobile-friendly environment to an mobile-unfriendly one, and vice versa.
In early June, the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud conducted observational research that looked at how mobile friendly the emails and email landing pages were for approximately 160 B-to-C brands using anonymous email accounts. We found many opportunities for brands to provide a more consistent experience for their subscribers — and some of these findings were truly surprising.
Forty-one percent of brands send mobile-friendly emails, using either responsive or mobile-aware design techniques. That's up from just 22 percent in October 2013, but still a long way to go to catch up with consumers, who are reading the majority of emails on mobile devices at this point.
There's also a long way to go to catch up with brands’ websites, which are doing a much better job of adapting to consumers’ mobile habits. We found that 75 percent of brands use mobile-friendly landing pages for the primary calls to action in their emails. I previously thought that website development might have been holding back investments in creating mobile-friendly emails, but that's not the case.
Another surprising finding was that 40 percent of brands using mobile-friendly landing pages send mobile-friendly emails — a percentage that's actually slightly less than the overall adoption rate of 41 percent. So while you'd expect that brands with mobile-friendly landing pages should be more likely to send mobile-friendly emails, they're not.
Chad S. White is the author of "Email Marketing Rules" and research director at Litmus, which provides email teams with powerful tools for email creation, testing, analytics, and collaboration. He has written more than 3,000 posts and articles about email marketing trends and best practices. A former journalist, Chad previously served as lead email marketing researcher at Salesforce.com, ExactTarget, Responsys, and the Direct Marketing Association.