By now, email marketers know they need to adapt to mobile to keep pace with the competition, as the contacts on their email marketing lists increasingly go to their smartphones not only to read email, but also to check social media, surf the Web and scope out new brands and products.
Of course, smartphones aren't the only mobile devices on the market: The acclaim and attention that Apple's recent release of the iPad Air garnered demonstrates just how popular tablets have become in recent years. Since these bigger devices resemble small laptops arguably more than their smartphone cousins, many users are going to tablets to perform many of the activities that were previously reserved for desktop computers – and email is no exception.
iPads lead the tablet trend for email
There's no denying the impressive rate at which consumers are turning to their tablets when it comes time to read emails. Movable Ink's recent U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report found more than 15 percent of all email opens occurred on a tablet in the third quarter of 2013, a marked quarter-over-quarter increase from Q2, when tablets made up less than 13 percent of total email reading.
The device that has seen the greatest portion of the growth of tablet-based email reading is the iPad. Apple's popular devices accounted for a stunning 14.29 percent of all email opens, leaving just 0.9 percent to Android tablets, the Movable Ink study found. That dominance stands to reason: iPad use alone grew by 10 percent between the second and third quarters of 2013.
With these statistics in mind, marketers can better focus their efforts. One of the difficulties of crafting mobile-friendly email campaigns is creating layouts that will look good across operating systems. When designing with the tablet in mind, however, prioritizing iOS over Android and other platforms may be an effective strategy.
Emails read on tablets create more conversions
Furthermore, considering how your emails will look on tablets offers rewards that are too great to overlook, as return on investment is particularly high among tablet-based email reads.
Email marketing solutions provider Yesmail Interactive recently performed a study that revealed 56 percent of all mobile Web-based sales initiated by a marketing email were carried out on an iPad. Compare that to the iPhone's 26 percent and Android's 18 percent of mobile email-driven purchases, and the need for greater focus on how emails look on tablets becomes even clearer. Furthermore, iPads accounted for 25 percent of all mobile click-throughs and email opens, the study found, suggesting that customers may be much more responsive on tablets.
As such, marketers must begin to consider how they are going to take advantage of the convenience and pleasure the devices offer consumers.
"Emails opened on mobile have a better chance of reaching consumers at the right place and right time during the busy holiday shopping season," Yesmail President Michael Fisher noted. "Marketers should recognize that 'mobile' doesn't always equal 'smartphone.'"
Using tablets to increase your exposure
In a post for Tab Times, Softweb Solutions Senior SEO Executive Jagadish Thaker highlighted how marketers can take advantage of tablet technology to generate customers.
"The increased use of tablet devices has greatly transformed the way businesses interact with their customers and with each other. It is necessary to know how consumers leverage their devices in order to deliver a better customer experience," he wrote.
Thaker recommended firms strengthen their mobile presence to make themselves more visible, engaging social media and creating apps. He also pointed out that it's essential for firms to make sure their websites look good on mobile.
Given the high click-through rate among users who read email on tablets, it's particularly important to make sure that the landing pages to which your emails link are mobile-ready.