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TailoredMail exec: Click-through rates up to 50pc higher for mobile-optimized emails

While the number of mobile users opening emails is quickly growing, the click-through rates for mobile remain low, according to new data from TailoredMail.

The typical email is simply shrunk down for mobile users, making it hard to read from a smartphone and resulting in low engagement levels. However, when emails are optimized for mobile, TailoredMail reports that click through rates increase as much as 50 percent.

?I think everybody realizes they need to be there [with mobile optimized email] because they do see the open rates are ridiculously high,? said Matt Highsmith, CEO of TailoredMail, Bellevue, WA.

?There are those who use their mobile device to eliminate unwanted stuff from their inbox, keeping only what they want to follow up on from a desktop experience,? he said.

?Then there are those who will try to read emails and try to follow up on them from a mobile device, and if it is not mobile optimized, they will delete it.?

Mobile email spikes
When a mobile user reads a typical email today, the type is small, the fonts are skewed, calls to action are difficult to discern and links take users to a non-optimized landing page. This is why few mobile users click through these emails and, in many cases, simply delete them.

However, with mobile becoming an increasingly important platform for reading email, marketers need to focus on understanding the mobile experience and designing emails that can be easily read and are engaging on mobile devices.

TailoredMail took a look at the activity of 2,000 companies and found some interesting results.

A mobile optimized landing page from an email

A year ago, 21 percent of emails were being opened on mobile. By March of 2012, the number had grown to 27 percent and by September of this year, it had grown to 39 percent.

The spike in mobile email opens is being driven by the growing adoption of smartphones as well as the improvement in data availability as networks move to 4G.

Additionally, consumers are becoming more comfortable using their phones for email.

Click throughs are flat
However, while opens have been quickly growing, click through rates have not been keeping pace. A year ago, 9 percent of all click-throughs for emails were coming from mobile devices, and today that number is only at 12 percent.

Other key findings include that iOS represent the vast majority of opens, but a smaller amount of actual clicks. In the consumer world, Apple devices represent 80 to 90 percent of the opens, but only 50 to 60 percent of the clicks.

By mobile operating system, over 75 percent of the total mobile email audience is opening email on an iOS device. Of that 75 percent, 11 percent of the opens are coming from iPod touches, 21 percent from iPads and 45 percent from iPhones.

For Android, the number is 18 to 19 percent and for Kindle Fire, only 2 to 3 percent. All other devices together represent under 2 percent.

The data also shows some differences by sex, with men opening email on mobile 20 percent more than women. However, women click on emails from a mobile device 10 percent more than men.

Improving the experience
TailoredMail also found a growing number of consumers are opening emails on desktop and mobile devices. A year ago, under 1 percent of the audience was opening on both devices while in the past two months, the number is 5.2 percent.

The findings also show a spike in email opens between 4 am and 10 am, during the lunch period and after dinner. As a result, Tailored Mail is recommending that clients send out emails in targeted batches based on the local time of the recipients.

TailoredMail?s results point to the need for marketers to eliminate any unnecessary design elements in emails, put calls to action at the top of an email and make calls to action very easy to act on with a simple touch of the finger.

Marketers also need to make sure any landing pages linked to an email open up to a mobile optimized experience.

?It is worthless if you are sending a better email if the landing page is unoptimized,? Mr. Highsmith said.

TailoredMail?s platform detects when an email is being opened from a mobile device and instantly optimizes email content by isolating certain elements and hiding some will bumping up others. It will also increase the size of the fonts, make calls to action more obvious and stack items instead of showing them side by side.

If the recipient clicks on anything, all of the landing pages that TailoredMail supports will open as an HTML5 instant app, with touch, swipe and pinch and zoom capabilities.

When clients use TailoredMail?s optimization tools, the click through rates increase up to 33 percent and another 50 percent when they use the instant app capability.

?How do we improve the readability and experience when email is first opened and then, when someone clicks on anything, is it an engaging experience when they land? Today, the answer is no,? Mr. Highsmith said.

?This is one of the major challenges we are trying to address,? he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York