Getting work done on mobile is increasingly becoming the mainstream as the devices in our pocket are powerful enough to manage most of our productivity. Some tasks might be done better on mobile than on a desktop or laptop, which was unimaginable before the launch of the modern smartphone. According to a new study, one of those things is checking email, and something interesting that was found was that consumers are more likely to open branded emails on mobile devices. Whether this is because of that pesky notification bubble that has to be taken care of to clear your inbox and your anxiety (that's me!), or because going through email on your smartphone is just easier, people are getting more exposure to branded emails! Watch today's Daily Brown Bag to learn about the study, and learn how to optimize your email marketing to fit mobile email standards.


Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today, we’re going to be talking about mobile and email and what you need to do to prepare your business email campaign for the mobile world. I’m Chad Hill and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Yeah, good morning, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. So, we've been talking about mobile a lot and we have a lot of statistics on search and mobile. Today, we’re going to get into the intersection of email marketing and mobile. Specifically, we’re talking about the Movable Ink Second Quarter U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report, and there are some interesting statistics coming out here today. Here’s one for you, Chad. Over 60% of emails sent from brands are viewed on a mobile device--that’s more than half, and that’s pretty high. You've got about 15% opening on a tablet and about 39% opening on the desktop.

So, when it comes to email marketing, things are moving more toward mobile than we even see in search, which should make some sense. People check their emails very frequently from smartphones. Often times when they want to do a Google search, they will do it from a desktop. So, I think this opens the conversation today about how you need to make your email marketing approach ready for mobile, and there are probably some technical challenges there, so how can we help our internet marketers out with this topic?

Yeah, it definitely is an interesting topic, and email is one of those workhorses of online marketing. The big takeaway here is that people are obviously using mobile devices more, and certainly are using them to view their emails. You need to make sure that the emails you’re sending out are going to be friendly and easy to open on a mobile device. The biggest trend that I’ve seen-- we have a template library in our dashboard software tool where people can build their email templates-- is that people love to go towards the really complex layouts with lots of images and lots of special promotion areas. But, building those layouts is sometimes hard, because people don’t know what content to put in there.

But, aside from the building part of it, those emails are absolutely horrible to use on mobile devices because they tend not to be responsive, they tend not to scale down very well on many mobile clients, and so they’re very difficult for people to interact with. They have very small buttons which are hard to get your finger on. So, the big takeaway here is no new news in terms of short, catchy subject lines, compelling information that you’re not bombarding people with, that’s timely, and that people enjoy reading. The big takeaway here is make sure that sometimes less is more, especially as we have more variety in what platforms people are viewing your email messages on.

We just saw this, Adam, just recently when we were redesigning one of our weekly reports, and we started out with grand ambitions of lots of images and wonderful eye candy. But, when we started testing it on various mobile email clients, we realized that we were actually better off going way back to sort of 1997 simple types of table layouts that would automatically scale up or down, depending on the size of the client you’re looking at. So, really interesting stuff here.

Yeah, so what you’re saying, Chad, is that there’s actually a little bit of a gap in technology. While websites have raced to become responsive and ready for the mobile revolution, which is clearly underway, email has not kept up as well because of its restrictions on CSS. It’s harder to be responsive with all of these email clients, so what you’re saying is that at least in our experience, you actually have to dial back and be stuck with these technological limitations of the email clients which we’ve also seen in PDF presentation as well, another technology that maybe hasn’t caught up as quickly as the website and HTML standards.

What’s ironic about that is that these statistics are suggesting that email is the most popular thing to do on a mobile device, even more so than search engines. So there’s this gap that’s happened, and I think some of your prescriptions are right on. You just have to keep your eye on this and go for simple until there are some advancements in email technology, which I haven’t seen coming, but I have to expect will catch up with us until mobile takes over everything. Until then, keep it simple, do cross-testing on lots of different email clients, and recognize that there’s a lot of different people looking at your emails through a smartphone.

We’d be interested in your feedback. Have you had success re-tooling your email marketing to be more readable and get better click-through for smartphone? Do you see those campaigns stronger or weaker in the smartphone mobile world? Do you have ideas for how these can be more responsive than they are today? Please share them with us in the comments. We’re here every day doing the Brown Bag. We hope to see you tomorrow if you subscribe to our YouTube channel.