September 03, 2013

Marketing Research Chart: Average percentage of subscribers reading email on mobile devices

SUMMARY: Are you reading this on an iPhone? A Galaxy? An iPad? An HTC One?

If so, you're like 25% of email subscribers. Read the latest edition of the MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week to take a closer look at mobile email habits.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

"Engagement level and experience for recipients can be a lot different on mobile as opposed to traditional email clients. So we have to create our content differently and format it differently than we have been for the last 10 years."

That quote comes from the benchmark survey for the MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, where we asked marketers …

Q: Approximately what percentage of email subscribers read your organization's emails on mobile phones?

View Chart Online

Click here to see a printable version of this chart

As you can see, roughly a quarter of email subscribers are reading email on mobile devices. Mobile is slightly more popular with B2C audiences, where 27% of email subscribers read email on mobile devices.

It should be noted that this data is meant to be more directional than focused around a specific, highly accurate number due to the low response rate for this particular question in the benchmark survey.

Of course, that response rate may be telling in itself. Other data from the Benchmark Report suggests this low response rate may be an indication of email marketers focus, or lack thereof, on mobile.

Mobile is more of a future than current consideration

When we asked email marketers about their goals for the next 12 months, 60% chose "integrate email with other marketing tactics (e.g., mobile, social)." The pervasiveness of mobile smartphones and tablets was viewed as the new development that will most affect email marketing programs in the next 12 months.

Yet when we asked about their current practices, only 21% indicated mobile was integrated into their email program.

When it comes to mobile email design, a majority of marketers do not currently design email to render differently on mobile devices. However, if we want to look at the glass as (almost) half full, 42% of marketers currently optimize emails for mobile.

Mobile-optimized emails are just the beginning

Of course, the email itself is just one step in truly integrating mobile, which is likely why twice as many marketers have mobile-friendly emails as have a truly integrated email marketing program.

For example, as REI discussed at Email Summit 2013, if mobile customers click through an email with responsive design and reach a category page with an overwhelming number of products that was not mobile-friendly, that email itself is of limited effectiveness for your conversion goals.

This can be a difficult challenge which requires cross-departmental collaboration in larger organizations where some marketers only control email and not the landing pages themselves. As one respondent to the benchmark survey lamented, "All of the content on our website needs to be available for us on smartphones and tablets if we're to truly promote it in email."

Do you have a successful mobile email marketing campaign? If so, enter it in MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2014 before September 8, 2013 for a chance to win a trip to Email Summit at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. There is no entry fee.

Related Resources

Mobile Marketing: Optimizing the evolving landscape of mobile email marketing [SherpaWebinar replay]

Mobile Email Marketing: 50% more app downloads from device-targeted ads

Mobile Marketing: 31% of marketers don't know their mobile email open rate

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