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Marketers unprepared for mobile?s growing dominance in email

Email opens on smartphones and tablets grew by 82.4 percent in the past year and such mobile devices are on track to become the dominant email platform by the end of the year, according to a new report from Return Path.

As mobile penetration continues to grow, more consumers are using smartphones and tablets to access email and moving away from PCs and desktop. While mobile readership accounted for only 10 percent of email views just a few years ago, it now accounts for nearly 30 percent of all opens, according to the report.

?The big news is that mobile will surpass both Web mail and email desktop clients as the platform of choice to view emails -- and we think this will happen as early as the end of this June, definitely by end of 2012,? said Tom Sather, senior director of email research at Return Path, New York. ?For email marketers the implications are huge.

?Many marketers still are not tracking how many emails are read on mobile devices, and have yet to implement a mobile strategy,? he said. ?For those that are not tracking which device their subscribers are reading their emails on, or if they are not optimizing their emails or Web sites for mobile devices, they are already missing out on opportunities.

?A poor user experience translates into no response, no action, or no ROI.?

Missed opportunities
Despite the significant growth in mobile readership of email, 48 percent of marketers still do not know how many mobile subscribers they have, according to the report, Email in Motion: Mobile is Leading the Email Revolution .

The implications of the findings are significant for email marketers, with those who are not optimizing their emails or Web sites for mobile devices standing to lose out. Mobile users who have a poor experience reading a marketer?s email on a mobile device may end up not responding.

The report found that 63 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Europeans would close or delete an email not optimized for mobile. Additionally, 41 percent of Europeans would delete or forget about the email.

iPad grows quickly
Other key findings include that Apple devices dominate mobile email opens, accounting for 85 percent of email readership.

Additionally, the iPad is quickly becoming a popular device for reading email, with iPad email opens increasing 53.6 percent year over year.

While both the iPhone and iPad are growing quickly, the report found that iPad readership grew by 5 percent in the past six months while iPhone readership shrank by the same amount.

The report also found that the time of day influences which device people read emails on, with mobile being more popular during the weekend while desktop email is the most popular during the weekday.

?Marketers should first figure out the numbers for their program,? Mr. Sather said. ?They should know if their customers/subscribers are reading on mobile before diving head first.

?But the overwhelming data shows that mobile is the way the world is headed, so moving now to get that data and start strategizing is smart,? he said.