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Mobile Email Optimization and What to Consider

Stephanie Colleton, Director, Response Consulting, ReturnPath

On May 2, 2012, Return Path released an infographic on mobile email viewership.The infographic is full of interesting stats so I thought we'd talk about what they mean for your email program. It's clear that mobile email viewing is skyrocketing. Remember the saying "You only get one chance to make a first impression?" Well, that is the case with email on mobile. Eighty-eight percent of people check their email on a mobile phone daily. Wow. But, 63 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Europeans would either close or delete an email not optimized for mobile. And of all mobile openers, only 2 percent would open an email on both their phone and on a desktop. That's a scary stat for anyone sending out email that doesn't look good or work well on mobile.If your email is not optimized for mobile viewing, you are likely missing your chance to connect with and convert your subscribers and your segment of non-responders will start to grow.

Here are some initial steps to take to optimize your program:

  1. First, find out how many of your subscribers are viewing your email on mobile. Marketers have different audiences so it's important to know how your subscribers are accessing your messages. Almost half of U.S. marketers don't know how many mobile subscribers they have. How do you figure this out? Return Path clients can use Campaign Insight to measure their mobile viewership.

  2. Which devices do you need to focus on? Keep in mind that your email will look different on the iPhone or iPad versus Android.Now, the infographic tells us that 85 percent of all mobile email is read on an Apple device. However, images are not automatically downloaded on Android as they are on the Apple devices, so fewer opens are tracked. And since market share is about 50/50, it's likely that the percentage of mobile email views on non-Apple devices is higher than 15 percent. So, this means that you do need to spend time optimizing for Android.

Optimize your email for mobile viewing and tapping:

  1. Make sure you have a "View on mobile link" in your pre-header and that it can be seen without scrolling horizontally.

  2. Reduce or eliminate horizontal scrolling as much as possible.This is likely not an issue for the Apple products, but may be for Android.

  3. Reduce dependence on images since they may be defaulted to off and may make it difficult to locate the offer and call to action itself. The correct balance of images to text becomes only that much more important in the smaller mobile interface.

  4. Target product merchandising by leveraging behavioral data.

  5. Limit long paragraphs of copy.

  6. Since people are using their finger and not a mouse, make sure there is enough space between links to deal with "fat-finger" syndrome.

  7. Before sending a campaign, use Return Path's Campaign Preview to see how your email looks on mobile devices.

  8. Test, test, test. Don't make changes in a vacuum.Make modifications one at a time and closely watch the impact on your metrics.

  9. Don't forget to optimize your landing pages for mobile.The email itself is just the beginning of the process. Once your subscribers tap through, make sure they can easily locate the information they are looking for.


This article originally appeared on the ReturnPath blog and is used with permission.