55% of business emails read on mobile phones

Email marketing experience in B2B

Email messages opened on a mobile device have nearly doubled over the past five years.

A recent report by Return Path, a specialist in email deliverability, analyzed more than 27bn email opens between May 2016 and April 2017 while 55% of emails analyzed during the study period were opened on a mobile device. This is an increase from 29% identified in a similar study in 2012. Additionally, almost 80% of mobile email opens occur on iOS, quadruple the number of mobile opens on Android devices.

“In just five years, we’ve seen dramatic shifts in the email space – and there’s no doubt that more changes are coming,” said Tom Sather, senior director of research at Return Path.

“Knowing how, when, and where your emails are being opened – and how those things have changed over time – can help to inform critical decisions about the direction of your email program,” he added.

As mobile email has increased, only 26% of those emails opened on an internet browser over the past five years. Whereas webmail accounted for 37% of email opens in 2012, only 28% of emails are now opened on an internet browser.

Further, almost six out of every 10 webmail opens occur on Gmail, a significant increase from six per cent in 2012. Further, Gmail’s growth has come at the expense of Yahoo, according to Return Path, as Yahoo webmail opens have declined from 37% in 2012 to just five per cent during the study period.

Desktop email opens have also declined as mobile engagement has increased, dropping from 34% in 2012 to 16% today. Additionally, both desktop and webmail email opens increase slightly during the workweek. Similarly, mobile opens rise to 60% of all email opens during the weekend.

Mobile technology has transformed the way consumers engage with their email accounts, so it is imperative that email marketers consider this when developing their email strategy. Mobile optimization is critical to ensure messages display correctly on any screen they’re opened on, as is A/B testing.

Email marketers may also want to consider tightening up their email content so that it is shorter, more precise, and easier to read on a handheld device.

Email and mobile are still viewed as separate digital marketing channels, but email marketers need to increasingly begin thinking about mobile, as the majority of Americans now engage with their inbox via smartphones.

Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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