Mobile Email Opens are Up, But Activity is Lagging

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 30 Nov, 2011

Digital marketing software and services provider Knotice has released new data on the percentage of email opens and click activity via mobile device across 11 industry segments for the first half of 2011.

The Mobile Email Opens Report offers a comprehensive look at overall mobile usage as it pertains to email, including percentages of mobile opens and click-to-open (CTO) rates of permission-based email (CTO is a measure of action taken within an email once it has been opened).

The report includes specific mobile devices or operating systems (including Android, iPhone and iPad); industry segments such as retail, hospitality, telecommunications, healthcare and more; time of day (including smartphone versus iPad usage), and geography (mobile penetration percentage by state).

Key insights include the following:

Mobile email opens rise 51 percent - The number of emails opened on a mobile device (smartphone, iPad, etc.) rose 51 percent the first half of 2011 over the last quarter of 2010. This lends further proof to the fact that smartphone adoption rates, as well as the comfort level of mobile users, are on the rise.

People are not saving emails to view later on a different device - Despite the rise in mobile email open activity, only 3.09 percent of the sample of 701 million emails were opened on both mobile device and desktop . Of that 3.09 percent, only one-third were opened on mobile device first, then viewed on a desktop device later. While some marketers resist optimizing email for mobile, rationalizing that a poor mobile email experience can be reopened once the recipient is at their desk, the data clearly shows that is not happening.

Best time of the day can differ for opening email versus taking action - Mobile open rates and CTO rates by time of day do not always correspond. Understanding the demographics of each send segment remains important.

Mobile email open rates rise, while mobile click-through activity lags behind - Even if a person opens the email, the real measure is what they do once it's open. The lower rates of CTO activity may reflect the growing need for optimization, as it may be difficult for mobile users to take action on emails that have limited functionality when viewed via a mobile device.

Other findings include:

-    Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems remain the clear market leaders.

-    The B2B, cable and telecommunications, consumer services and entertainment industries saw significantly increased mobile email open activity from Q4 2010.

-    The email CTO rate on mobile devices is far lower than the CTO rate on desktop devices. This data reinforces the need for a mobile optimized email experience.