Mobile marketing is not just about apps, SMS and geolocated push notifications. Don't forget about good old email, which is increasingly consumed via mobile devices.
Research from email technology provider Return Path
found an 81 percent increase in the amount of email consumers accessed via a mobile device from November to March. Though desktop and webmail views still account for most email viewing, mobile now accounts for 16 percent of all email views.
“It almost doubled in a six-month period,” noted Bryan Deller, senior product manager of Return Path, in a phone interview. “I don’t think we expected that rate of change.”
Return Path, which works with a variety of traditional marketers and publisher clients, examined aggregate data from 90 different customers, tracking which devices email subscribers used to read email. (The study
is available to download with registration.)
Mobile and email marketing
Publishers should pay attention to the changing email habits of consumers; email marketing
strategies can't just take desktop email into account. As the report notes: “If you aren't paying attention to how your email renders on a mobile device you are missing out on big opportunities (and very likely losing customers who can't be bothered to save your email to read later).”
But supporting the new devices requires more than designing for a small screen and optimizing for mobile (e.g. using fewer images). Publishers and other email senders have to take into account the different viewing habits of mobile readers, particularly those in their target audience. For instance, unsurprisingly, mobile email activity is highest on the weekend.
“The senders of the email need to be on top of that and start thinking about how they are going to address the mobile email segment,” Deller said.
Tablets add another layer to the equation: The sophistication of these newer devices, with touch-screen navigation and larger screens, offers more opportunities for innovative email design.
Email viewership on iPads grew 15 percent in the six-month period that Return Path examined. Marketers have to pay attention to how the tablet market will change where and when mobile consumers access email and online content ― an area Return Path will continue to investigate.
“It’s back to the old marketing adage of 'sending the right message at the right time,'” Deller said. “In the mobile case it’s about understanding that mobile readers are interacting with your emails differently. It’s really about refining your targeting strategy and segmentation.”