Share of Emails Opened on Mobile Devices Soars in H2 ’11

knotice-share-of-email-opens-q42010-h22011-april2012.jpgThe share of all email opens occurring on mobile devices continues its ascent, reaching 27.39% in the second half of 2011, representing 35% growth from 20.24% in H1 2011, and more than double the 13.37% share from Q4 2010, according to a report released in April 2012 by Knotice. iOS was the clear leader again in Q3 and Q4: iPhones accounted for 15.68% of all email opens in H2, up from 12.78% in H1, while iPads kept growing their share, up from 3.92% to 6.54% during the same time period.

Android devices also performed well, growing their share of email opens from 3.15% to 4.86%.

Most Users Opening on a Single Device

knotice-email-opens-by-device-in-h2-2011-april2012.jpgInterestingly, the Knotice “Mobile Email Opens Report 2nd Half 2011″ found that almost all users (96.39%) are opening emails on a single device, a finding with strong implications for marketers who have not yet optimized their emails for mobile devices. Indeed, while desktop-only opens accounted for 71.34% of overall opens, phone-only opens held 18.59% share and tablet-only opens 6.46% share. Only 2.39% of opened emails were a case of an individual opening the email on both a desktop and mobile device, with 70% of those users opening the email first on a mobile and then later on a desktop.

Mobile CTO Rates Still Lag Desktop

Although an increasing number of users are opening emails with mobile devices, the proportion who take action by clicking on links within the email is still lower for phones and tablets than for desktops, a finding that Knotice attributes to the low rate of optimized email content for mobile users.

For example, when examining click-to-open (CTO) rates by industry, consumer products ranks best among mobile emails with an 15.61% CTO, though that remains behind desktop’s 23.77% CTO for the same industry. And while financial services takes the top billing for tablets (18.31%), that still does not match the CTO rate for the industry on desktops (21.38%). Other industries show similarly lower CTO rates on phones and tablets compared to desktops: association (6.93% and 8.43% vs. 20.02%, respectively), health care (7.92% and 8.68% vs. 19.53%, respectively), and retail (10.07% and 10.32% vs. 20.06%, respectively) show some of the most significant differences.

Of note, CTO rates are relatively consistent between the phone and tablet platforms studied.

Time of Day Trend Remains Consistent

Mobile open activity still appears to be an early-morning and late-evening behavior, as mobile’s share of all email opens spikes during the evening, late night, and early morning hours, before dropping significantly during work hours. Mobile phone share of opens tends to peak later than tablet share of opens, at 2 AM and 9 PM, respectively.

Overall open volume drops drastically beginning at around 8 PM. Indeed, marketers aiming only for email opens should send their emails early in the morning, finds Informz in a March 2012 report, although those aiming for clicks should target the late afternoon period. Basing its analysis of metrics collected from more than 600 million emails sent by over 700 large and mid-sized associations that used its email marketing platform in 2011, Informz found that morning emails saw an average open rate of 39.2%, ahead of those sent at midday (33.9%), in the late afternoon (32.1%), and at night (32%). However, emails sent in the morning had the lowest click rate (16.5%), behind ones sent at night (18.6%), at midday (19.7%), and in the late afternoon (21%).

Other Findings:

  • Data from the Knotice report indicates that the iPhone is by far the top phone for reading email, representing 69.15% of all email opens occurring on a phone. The iPod touch follows, at 7.44%, ahead of the HTC Evo (3.57%).
  • 96.69% of all email opens occurring on a tablet were on the iPad.

About the Data: The Knotice data is based on a composite cross sampling of approximately 974 million emails sent across 11 industry segments in the last 6 months of 2011.