How Long do Mobile Owners Spend Reading the B2C Emails They Open?

August 16, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Connected Device Comparisons | Digital | Email | Mobile Phone

MovableInk-Email-Read-Length-by-Device-Aug2013Movable Ink has released a “Q2 2013 US Consumer Device Preferences Report” [download page] examining the devices consumers are using to read B2C marketing emails. As part of the study, the researchers take a look at the length of time spent reading these emails in Q2, sorted by device and OEM. According to the results, a majority 53.3% of Android Phone users who open emails on their device spend more than 15 seconds reading them. The corresponding figure for desktop readers is 36.6%.

The researchers speculate that the longer time spent by Android phone users is due to emails not always being automatically reformatted for them, as they are on iOS devices. As a result, Android users may spend more time scrolling in and around images that they load on their devices.

Interestingly, the data shows that iPad users are the least engaged with emails, with only 30.2% reading them for longer than 15 seconds. By contrast, a plurality 41.2% spend just 0-3 seconds reading the emails, suggesting that iPad users are more likely to scan through their emails.

By comparison, 41.9% of Android tablet email readers and 41.5% of iPhone email readers spend more than 15 seconds reading their emails.

The study also looks at email opens by device, with some interesting results. According to the report, 62% of B2C marketing emails in Q2 were opened on a smartphone (48.1%) or tablet (13.8%). That represents a far higher figure than seen in reports from Knotice (the latest showing 41% share in H2 2012), which track a wider array of emails. While the Movable Ink results seem quite high, it’s conceivable that B2C marketing emails are opened more often on mobile devices than B2B emails.  (Also, the latest data from Knotice is from the second half of 2012, but even so, the pace of growth suggests that 62% would be a high number even for the second quarter of this year.) One thing does appear to be true, though: consumers of all ages are opening emails on their mobile devices.

Additionally, the Movable Ink data indicate that around 51% of emails opened in Q2 were on an iPhone (38.5%) or iPad (13%), compared to just 10% for Android phone (9.3%) or tablet (0.7%). However, as the company notes, determining email opens requires images to load, something which automatically occurs on emails opened on Apple devices, but not on Android ones. The researchers suggest that “the percentages for some device-types and platforms might be over or underrepresented,” though it’s unclear to what extent. It appears that the data would be most likely to under-represent Android opens, as Android users need to click to load images – and text-only emails are not counted as opens. The researchers also speculate that because Android phones tend to be sold at a cheaper price point, they may be attracting users who rely on them more so for basic cell phone activities than for more data-intensive tasks such as emailing.

About the Data: The results are based on data collected through Movable Ink’s Agile Email Marketing platform between April 1 – June 30, 2013. They reflect aggregate statistics across Movable Ink’s customer base, which includes more than 100 enterprise B2C marketers from the retail, travel, financial, media, and telecommunications industries.

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