Mobile’s Share of Email Opens Rises to 36% in H1

The share of all email opens occurring on mobile devices reached 36% in the first half of 2012, representing almost 80% growth from roughly 20% in H1 2011, details a report [download page] released in September 2012 by Knotice. Mobile phones accounted for 25.9% of opens, up from 20.6% in H2 2011, while tablets accounted for 10.2% share, up from 6.8%.

iPhones continued to dominate among mobiles, holding 19.7% share of total email opens, far ahead of Android’s 5.9% share. Similarly, the iPad’s share of total opens outstripped that of Android tablets (9.6% vs. 0.4%). The share of opens on iPhones and iPads grew by 25.6% and 47.2%, respectively, from H2 2011.

Mobile Email Opens Differ Across Industries

Details from Knotice’s “Mobile Email Opens Report: 1st Half of 2012″ indicate that the share of email opens occurring on mobile devices showed some significant variety when segregated by industry. For example, the consumer services sector saw 42.2% of email opens occurring on a mobile device, while only 16.1% of email opens in the health care industry occurred on a mobile.

The consumer services industry sported the highest share of email opens on mobile phones (34%), followed by the financial services (32.7%), entertainment (26.5%), cable and telco (25.7%), and retail (24.4%) industries. In terms of share of emails opens on a tablet, retail (11.1%) topped the 11 industries, followed by the hospitality (10.2%), cable and telco (10.1%) and education (9.2%) sectors.

Mobile Phone, Tablet Click Rates Continue to Lag Desktop

Further details from the report reveal that click-to-open (CTO) rates for mobile phones and tablets, while relatively on par, continue to trail desktop CTO rates significantly. Examining CTO rates by industry, the study finds the financial services industry had the highest rate on both mobile phones (15%) and tablets (21.8%). Even so, that rate stood at 30.1% on desktops.

Other industries showed similarly lower CTO rates on mobile devices compared to desktop, including: consumer products (12.3% on phones; 13.9% on tablets; 21.3% on desktops); entertainment (6.7% on phones; 7.9% on tablets; 14% on desktops); and retail (7.8% on phones; 8.3% on tablets; 17.2% on desktops).

Knotice suggests that this disparity is due to email marketers still not optimizing email content for mobile users. Indeed, a study released in July 2012 by Pardot found just one-quarter of the more than 100 B2B marketers surveyed saying they optimize their emails for mobile devices. That is reflected in the Knotice report: for the B2B sector, the CTO rate was just 4.1% on mobile phones and 5.1% on tablets, while it was 14.2% on desktops.

Mobile Phone Engagement Higher Soon After Delivery

The “on-the-go” nature of mobile phones enables consumers to be almost constantly connected, and Knotice data finds that consumers are indeed frequently checking their emails on their devices. Looking at the share of opens occurring on mobile devices based on the time following delivery, the report shows finds that engagement in the first 90 minutes post-delivery is much higher on mobile phones than on tablets and desktops. This trend continues until about 5 hours following delivery, at which point the gap disappears.

Of note, though, those emails opened on a mobile phone immediately after delivery aren’t necessarily re-opened on a desktop. Examining the retail industry, the data reveals that 98% of the time, emails were opened on only one device (in just 1.4% of cases were they opened on both a desktop and a mobile phone). This further reinforces the importance of marketers optimizing their emails for mobile devices to address the “only-one-chance” predicament.

About the Data: The Knotice data is based on a composite cross sampling of approximately 807 million emails sent across 11 industry segments in the first 6 months of 2012.