Responsive Design Seen Key As Mobile and Desktop Email CTO Rates Converge

March 10, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Connected Device Comparisons | Digital | Email | Mobile Phone | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Tablet

Yesmail-Email-CTO-Rates-Desktop-v-Mobile-Q22013-Q42015-Mar2016Email click-to-open (CTO) rates on mobile devices are continuing to close the gap with desktop rates, reports Yesmail in its latest quarterly report [download page] on email behavior. This convergence appears to be more the result of declining desktop rates than a recent boost in comparative mobile rates, though the latter have increased on a year-over-year basis for several quarters now.

Improved mobile CTO rates are important for email marketers given that mobile devices have accounted for the majority of email opens for some time. As a result of the convergence in click-to-open rates, mobile devices accounted for almost half (49.2%) of all email clicks in Q4, up from 40.6% a year earlier, per Yesmail’s data. Additionally, mobile devices comprised more than one-quarter of all email-driven revenue and more than 30% of all email-driven orders, with these figures representing 13% and 9% year-over-year growth, respectively. This is an interesting trend, particularly as email marketing is one of the largest purchase influencers for US consumers.

A key driver of mobile engagement is responsive design, according to Yesmail’s report. Indeed, research shows that a sizable share of consumers will simply delete an email they’ve opened on a mobile device that doesn’t display correctly.

To contextualize the impact of responsive design on mobile email engagement, Yesmail compared response rates for brands using responsive design in all emails (17% of the brands) with those not using responsive design in any of their emails (26.7% of the sample). The results certainly support the argument for responsive design, as those it in all their emails had:

  • A much higher share of opens occurring on mobiles (57.2% vs. 51.7%);
  • An even greater difference in the share of clicks occurring on mobiles (58% vs. 46.7%); and
  • A much stronger mobile click-to-open rate (16.2% vs. 10.4%).


Also of note: emails sent with responsive design also had a higher click-to-open rate on desktops than those without responsive design.

Finally, other results from the study suggest a counterintuitive trend in email volume: more messages don’t necessarily mean less engagement. In Q4, for example, active subscribers (those that opened or clicked within the prior 90 days) received 10% more email than the year earlier, and 15% more than in Q4 2013. However, over those past 2 years, the number of opens per opener steadily increased from 48 (Q4 2013) to 55 (Q4 2015), while the number of clicks per clicker also grew, by 17%. As Yesmail argues, “higher volume doesn’t necessarily lead to attrition.”


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