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Leverage real-time marketing to drive mobile email conversions: study

Email

Mobile's wrath on email

With iPhone users spending longer periods of time reading email than Android users, marketers need to step up their real-time content strategy to turn browsing into action, according to a new report from Movable Ink.

Movable Ink’s fourth-quarter 2013 “US Consumer Device Preference” report looks at how mobile email behavior and engagement stacks up across different devices. According to the study, 38 percent of iPhone users spent 15 seconds of more reading an email message compared to the 35 percent of Android users that spent the same amount of time reading a message.

“It’s not just read time, we’re also seeing greater conversion rates on iPhones,” said Vivek Sharma, CEO, cofounder at Movable Ink, New York.

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“Marketers are already focused on mobile optimization, but designing your email template for mobile screens is only the tip of the iceberg," he said.

“This year, we’ll see marketers integrate mobile email to drive engagement on other channels — from launching pre-populated tweets directly into the Twitter mobile app, to pinning content on Pinterest, to showing geo-targeted local maps to drive offline sales."

gmail

A mobile email

Mobile overtakes desktop
Mobile has become the predominant platform for opening and reading email, per the Movable Ink report. Sixty-five percent of emails during the fourth-quarter were opened from either a smartphone or tablet, which is an increase from 61 percent in the third-quarter.

Fifty percent of total email opens came from Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, showing its dominance in the mobile space.

Outside of the 38 percent of iPhone consumers who are spending 15 seconds or more reading an email message, about 23 percent of users spend three to 15 seconds browsing through their messages, and the remaining 38 percent spend three seconds or less reading email.

Twenty-eight percent of iPad users spend more than 15 seconds reading email, and 29 percent spend between three to fifteen seconds with messages. Forty-three percent of iPad owners spend less than three seconds reading email.

Although iOS reigns as the primary focus for marketers with mobile email, Android is gaining steam, too.

The number of Android tablet email opens doubled quarter-over-quarter to represent 1.8 percent of total email opens.

Both Android smartphones and tablets represented 14 percent of total email opens during the fourth-quarter of 2013, representing a 4 percent growth quarter-over-quarter. 

However, these users seem to be far less engaged than iOS owners.

Forty-five percent of Android phone users spend less than three seconds reading email, 20 percent average between three to five seconds on their email and 35 percent spend 15 seconds or more with messages.

On the tablet side, 31 percent of Android owners spent more than 15 seconds with email, followed by 26 percent who spent three to 15 seconds with it and 44 percent spent less than three seconds with email.

Desktop dipped to represent 35 percent of email opens, down from 39 percent in the third-quarter. 

About 35 percent of desktop users spend either more than 15 seconds or less than three seconds with email. The remaining 30 percent of desktop users are grouped into the consumers who spend three to 15 seconds with email.

Less than one percent of email opens during the fourth-quarter came from a Windows Phone, BlackBerry or another operating system besides iOS or Android.

Mobile-heavy days
The report also looks at which specific days during the fourth-quarter were the biggest wins for mobile email.

Sixty percent of emails were opened on a smartphone on Thanksgiving, with an additional 15 percent coming from tablets. The remaining 25 percent of opens took place on desktops.

On Black Friday, a little more than 57 percent of emails were opened on a smartphone, followed by 27 percent from desktops and 16 percent from tablets.

Smartphone and tablet opens dipped slightly on Cyber Monday, when consumers were likely shopping at work while sitting in front of a desktop.

Forty-six percent of email opens on Cyber Monday came from a mobile device and desktop opens generated 40 percent of opens. Cyber Monday was the smallest day for tablet opens, representing 14 percent of opens.

Smartphones brought in 56 percent of email opens on Christmas, and an additional 20 percent of opens came from tablets. Desktops generated about 24 percent of email opens.

With high mobile open rates, marketers can expect for email to boost all other marketing channels this year, too.

“Marketers can use device targeting to display different messages to iPhone users and Android users,” Mr. Sharma said. “The content is decisioned in real-time at the moment of open, based on the recipient's current device. Device targeting is commonly used by marketers to promote app downloads that are specific to a mobile platform. 

“For example, iPhone and Android users are sent to the appropriate store when they click to download a brand's mobile app from within an email," he said. "If the app is already installed in the email recipient's device, it’s possible to deep link the user directly into the app, creating more seamless conversions.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Research, mobile, mobile marketing, Movable Ink, mobile email, Vivek Sharma

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