It’s not just that more people are consuming email on mobile devices, it’s that email is performing better on mobile devices.
According to a March 2012 study by ReturnPath (which we learned of in a MailChimp mobile email report), open rates for mobile email increased 34% in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2011. Over the same period, desktop and webmail open rates dropped 9.5% and 11%, respectively.
The overwhelming majority of people – 87% – are also getting their email streams together – work and personal – and checking both simultaneously.
To me, that means that not paying attention to how your email newsletter looks on mobile devices is suicidal, and that thinking you’re easily going to break through the clutter is misguided.
Subject lines matter, appropriate headlines and header images matter, formatting for screen size matters. So does content. Why?
Because a lot of email gets deleted. Avoiding that fate means paying attention to the usability issues that still plague small screens, and being very, very careful about giving people what they want. Nothing replaces relevance and establishing yourself as a trusted source when it comes to avoiding the delete button.
Some best practices to keep in mind:
Limit all scrolling – left to right scrolling is an absolute no-no but even north/south scrolling should be limited whenever possible.
Multi-column formats can make it easier to resize text handily. Play around with your template on your phone – and anyone else’s you can.
Test Test Test – the huge range of screen sizes and resolutions means that you can’t be sure about any design/layout until until you’ve seen it on as many screens as possible. iPhones are a big part of the market, but there are a lot of Android users out there, too.
Other interesting factoids from the study:
- 72% of people in the MailChimp report (which went above and beyond the ReturnPath study mentioned above) checked emails in bed. Calling Dr. Ruth …
- That’s better than the 77% who admit to checking email “obsessively.”
- When it comes to sharing, Twitter is king and Facebook is avoided. Respondents felt that the Facebook “like” link doesn’t always make clear clear what will wind up on your Facebook wall/timeline. That uncertainty makes those links less popular.
- The top places for email checking: While on public transportation, while out to eat, and waiting in line. At least bed and bath didn’t make that list …