Mobile enable your email newsletters

It’s no secret that over the past couple of years there’s been a very obvious upward trend in the use of mobile devices to visit websites. Only this week Google suggested that by December 2014, 50% of web searches will be conducted on mobile.

The trend for accessing websites on mobile, which we currently see account for around 20% of traffic, is already outstripped by people reading emails on mobile. Across our client-base, we’re seeing in excess of 30% of email newsletters opened on a mobile device. If newsletters are sent out of usual office hours, we see this rise to typically over 60%.

However, coupled with the increasing use of mobile to read emails, we generally see a reduction in click-throughs. For non-mobile optimised newsletters, we’re seeing around 50% fewer click-throughs on newsletter campaigns when the newsletter is opened on a mobile. For a channel that still typically drives 3x the conversion rate of social, we see this as a problem, and a problem that’s likely to increase as mobile adoption for email reading further increases.

If you’re going to the effort of sending out an email newsletter, you need to ensure the newsletter works well for customers who open and interact with that email on a small-screen mobile device.

The techniques that are used to mobile optimise a website, particularly responsive web design, can also be applied to newsletter templates, meaning the same email will appear optimised for large screens when opened on a desktop client and optimised for small screens when opened on a mobile.

While this technique will work well for most of the popular email clients (if your audience is US or Europe based, probably over 80%), there are unfortunately a number of popular email providers such as Gmail and Yahoo! Mail who don’t yet support responsive layouts for newsletter templates. While we expect this to change over the next twelve months or so as we see more newsletter senders adopt responsive email templates, there is still a current need to ensure desktop newsletter templates can be easily read on mobile devices.

We’ve started to roll out responsive newsletter templates for a number of our clients. When coupled with concise copywriting and high-engagement subject lines, we’re seeing these optimised newsletters drive in the region of 30% more click-throughs when compared to non-mobile optimised newsletters.

About the Author

Chris Blackburn

Director and Partner at Made Tech. Borderline compulsion for automating, measuring and testing everything.

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