While email marketing lists continue to be critical tools for businesses looking to reach new clients and customers, the way in which these communications are being accessed is changing alongside technology.
More than ever, research is underscoring the importance of optimizing email marketing messages for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers.
Mobile is a key touchpoint for consumers
According to a new study from Yesmail Interactive, nearly half of all marketing emails are opened and read via mobile devices, despite a marked preference for using laptops and PCs to read promotional messages.
This lack of active engagement with mobile manifests itself through click rates. On a mobile device, 11 percent of recipients click on a message after opening it, compared to 23 percent when using a desktop computer, the study revealed.
However, these rates do fluctuate by industry, with consumer services – those businesses that provide a service but not a good, such as Groupon or OpenTable - seeing the highest mobile click-to-open rate at 19 percent, while financial services brought up the rear with 2 percent.
"The discrepancy between click-to-open rates means many consumers are disregarding mobile emails," said Michael Fisher, president of Yesmail Interactive. "Brands need to implement mobile-first strategies that rely on responsive design, customized content and easily clickable calls to action. Otherwise, their messages will be deleted or go unread."
These findings cannot be ignored, despite the devices showing lower engagement. The number of consumers exclusively reading their emails via mobile device stands at 30 percent, while 61 percent of consumers consider these communications on their mobiles at least some of the time.
It's a very small screen
When marketers begin to investigate how to optimize dynamic email communications for mobile devices, one of the most important considerations they will need to keep in mind is the size of the screen, which allows for less content and more dynamic calls to action.
Research from Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey found 75 percent of consumers said they are "highly likely" to delete business emails if they don't load correctly on their smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices.
For companies that cater to a younger target audience, leveraging mobile devices will be key, especially as the study found 88 percent of millennials open email via mobile devices.