According to a study by ReturnPath, email opens on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) grew 82.4 percent in the past year, and that figure is currently on track to surpass both webmail and desktop email views by as early as this summer. With half of all Americans now owning a smartphone and tablet ownership skyrocketing, it is imperative that advertisers adapt their email marketing campaigns and strategies to accommodate these new habits.
The rise of mobile device users poses email senders with a design quandary. Should you design your creative for the mobile opener or for the desktop user? Fortunately, advertisers are no longer forced to decide before executing an email campaign. Advertisers now have the ability to send one email out to recipients when they work with a mobile decision engine program. When the recipient opens the email, the mobile decision engine detects the device the recipient is using and then displays the appropriate creative. By utilizing this new technology, advertisers can deliver emails that are targeted and optimized for the recipient's environment, thereby greatly boosting response and conversion rates.
Timing of emails is another major factor that determines the success of an email marketing campaign. Previously, many advertisers timed their emails so the email would arrive and be at the top of the inbox as subscribers were arriving at work. But timing of emails has now changed because of mobile devices. Users are now checking their emails as soon as they wake up, while at work, on their commute home, or via a tablet while lounging on their couch in front of the TV.
Similarly, studies have determined that time of day influences which device people read their emails on. Users are more likely to be reading their emails on a desktop during the weekday, while users are more likely to be using their webmail or mobile devices on the weekend. With more variables than ever before, advertisers need to do more analysis of their opens, clicks, and conversion rates to optimize send times.
Additional opportunities are also available to advertisers looking to connect with consumers. While previously advertisers might have utilized an email to create awareness, encourage a sign-up, or drive a sale, advertisers now have the ability to take advantage of mobile devices to drive different user behavior from email marketing. For example, email campaigns aimed at mobile devices can encourage users to "click to call," create a calendar reminder, or even direct users to download an app. By incorporating the new features that mobile marketing provides, advertisers can redefine the goals of an email marketing campaign.
The growth of mobile devices is profoundly changing the way consumers access information and communicate with one another. Consequently, marketers must think about how they execute email marketing campaigns and be prepared to adapt. By targeting and optimizing email campaigns toward the mobile user, advertisers will better be able to capitalize on the benefits that this change in technology is bringing.
Josh Boaz is managing director and co-founder of Direct Agents.
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