- Email messages opened on a mobile device have almost doubled in the past five years, according to a study by Return Path. The company found that 55% of emails were opened on a mobile device during a 12-month period ending in April, compared with only 29% five years ago.
- Almost 80% of mobile email opens happen on iOS, 4x the number of mobile opens on Android devices, per the study. Mobile opens typically rise to 60% during the weekend as many people are away from work and have more leisure time to browse messages.
- By contrast, the percentage of email opens on a web browser like Gmail or Yahoo dropped 26% since 2012 from 37% to 28%. Desktop email opens, including software like Outlook or Apple Mail, had the lowest share of opens with just 16%, down from 34% in 2012.
Instant messaging has grown alongside the popularity of smartphones in the past 10 years, but almost everyone has at least one email account for business or personal communications. This year, email usage is projected to grow from over 3.7 billion in 2017 to over 4.1 billion by 2021 — more than half the world's population — according to market researcher Radicati Group. That growth, combined with the shift away from desktop, reinforces that marketers must be tailoring their campaigns and messaging to accommodate smaller screens, both in terms of formatting and content.
Return Path has several suggestions for optimizing mobile email campaigns, such as ensuring that graphics and text render correctly on different makes of smartphones in addition to fitting seamlessly in webmail and desktop email programs. The company also recommends testing campaigns to see how well they work on various devices, as well as adjusting to people's mobile viewing habits by tightening up content for a quicker read.
Return Path's new study follows one from May that analyzed how emoji characters affect email campaigns. Subject lines containing emojis had a higher read rate than comparable text-only subject lines in some cases, the report found. While emojis helped some emails to achieve a higher read rate, others languished. For example, a campaign for Halloween costumes got a 23% percent open rate with a spider emoji in the subject line, but only 14% when a skull icon was used.