How Mobile’s Share of Email Opens Varies Throughout the Day

June 17, 2014

Knotice-Mobile-Email-by-Time-of-Day-in-H2-2013-June2014Mobile’s share of email opens continues to increase, with various sources reporting that share to be 50% or higher. A new report [download page] from Knotice pegs mobile’s share of commercial email opens at 48% during the second half of 2013, and goes into further detail by analyzing how that share varies throughout the day. As might be expected, mobile’s role tends to be greater in the pre-workday morning hours and in the evening, with tablets in particular coming out at night.

While the share of opens occurring on mobile phones was more than twice the share occurring on tablets between 9AM and 2PM, that wasn’t the case for the afternoon and evening hours. In fact, the tablet share of opens rose throughout the afternoon hours, reaching a peak at 9PM (25.5% share). At that hour, phones’ share of opens was only about 11% higher than for tablets.

Overall, the share of email opens occurring on a mobile device (phone and tablet) showed two peaks. The first was at 5AM, when they reached 52.8% share of opens, and the second was at 9PM, when they accounted for 54% share. When limiting the analysis to mobile phones, though, there were 3 mini-peaks: at 5AM (33.4% share); at 11AM (31%); and at 5PM and 6PM (31.1% share each).

The results suggest that mobile email opens trends haven’t changed too much over the past couple of years; back in October 2012, a study from TailoredMail found that mobile email opens tended to peak in the hours immediately preceding and following the traditional workday.

However, the Knotice report also reveals some other interesting trends: for example, despite their mini-peaks, mobile phones’ share of opens tends to stay quite constant throughout the day, ranging from a low of 27.4% share at 8AM to a high of 33.4% share at 5AM. There’s much more variance in tablet opens, which ranged from a low of 12.2% share at 10AM to a high of 25.5% share at 9PM. In other words, the mobile peaks tend to be driven more by tablet use than mobile phone use.

The report also illustrates that the tablet share of opens was notably higher in the second half (H2) of the year compared to the first half (H1).

For data on when B2B buyers and decision-makers access email on their mobile devices throughout the day, see the recent MarketingCharts Debrief, “Reaching and Influencing B2B Buyers and Decision-Makers” [download page].

Other Findings:

  • The iPhone (25.6%) and iPad (15.7%) combined for more than 41% share of email opens in the second half of the year, compared to just 6% share for Android devices. As the Knotice analysts note, this “can be attributed to the manner in which a mobile open is recorded based on images downloaded… It also could be impacted by email app preview panes.” Image download is not a default setting for all smartphones (particularly Android ones).
  • The 48% share of email opens attributed to mobile devices in H2 was up from 41% share in H2 2012.
  • Mobile’s share of email opens was highest in the consumer services (54.8%) industry in H2 2013, with consumer products (38.1%) on the lower end. Retail (49.2%) saw a high share of opens and B2B (37.6%) a relatively low share, consistent with recent data from Experian Marketing Services.
  • Mobile phone and tablet click-to-open (CTO) rates were highest for the financial services and consumer products industries, but continue to lag desktop. That aligns with findings from Yesmail Interactive, which indicate higher CTO rates on desktop than mobile.

About the Data: The report is based on a composite cross sampling of approximately 500 million emails sent across 11 industry segments in each half of 2013 in North America.

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