May 10, 2016

Email Marketing Chart: ROI from optimizing email for mobile devices

SUMMARY: "Mobile" is the buzzword, opportunity, and challenge du jour for marketers. But, as with any other channel or tactic, mobile success requires an investment.

In this MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week, we'll take a closer look at data from 560 marketers, compiled exclusively for MarketingSherpa readers by Econsultancy and Adestra.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

For its Email Marketing Industry Census 2016, published in association with Adestra, Econsultancy surveyed 1,150 client-side and agency marketers located primarily in the UK, but also in North America, Europe, and other parts of the world.

At our request, they created this exclusive chart from their data for MarketingSherpa's Chart of the Week. Below you'll see a cross-tabulation of the 560 respondents who answered questions about optimizing email marketing for mobile, and email marketing ROI.

View Chart Online

Click to see a larger, printable version of the chart

"Econsultancy published the first Email Census in association with Adestra in 2007 and while a lot has changed since then, the channel's reputation for generating return on investment has remained undiminished," said Monica Savut, Senior Research Manager, Econsultancy.

While email marketing has a reputation for an impressive return on investment, what effect has the rise of mobile had on ROI? Specifically, which mobile optimization tactics are the most impactful?

We asked for the specific cross-tabulation of the responses in the above chart to see if we could discover the most effective mobile email marketing optimization tactics by seeing how specific tactics affected email marketing ROI.

Mobile first…

The data could provide some direction if you're on the fence about any of these tactics. For example, thinking "mobile first" may produce marginally better ROI than focusing on mobile-optimized landing pages.

As you can see in the chart, 35% of "mobile first" marketers reported an excellent email marketing ROI, and 83% reported an excellent or average ROI. Slightly fewer (31%) marketers focused on mobile-optimized landing pages reported an excellent ROI, and 77% reported an excellent or average ROI.

[Please note: Respondents could choose more than one mobile optimization option, so some may have fallen in both buckets.]

…but really, any mobile optimization at all

The bigger takeaway is this — engaging in any of these email marketing mobile optimization tactics will help with your email marketing ROI. Only 10% who engage in "none of the above" reported an excellent email marketing ROI, and only 33% of that cohort reported a good email marketing ROI — a big drop from all of the marketers engaged in any of the surveyed mobile optimization tactics.

It makes sense that mobile email marketing optimization would have such a pronounced impact on email marketing ROI. After all, much of what we call "email" occurs on mobile devices.

According to MovableInk's US Consumer Device Preference Report from 2015, "69% of all opens were on mobile devices [in Q4], but retail mobile opens spiked as high as 90% during the weeks leading up to Christmas."

Litmus has found a smaller number of mobile opens, but shows a trend that is moving ever upward — this data was cited by Aaron Pearson, Product Manager, Listrak, when I interviewed him.

"The most common misconception has to be that it's not important to have a mobile strategy. From 2011 to 2012, mobile email opens jumped from a mere 8% to 34%," Pearson said. "Year over year that line continues to increase. In 2016, mobile accounts for 55% of email opens."

If you're among the dwindling number of marketers who would select "none of the above" — only 14% of marketers in 2016, down from 25% in 2014, according to data elsewhere in Econsultancy's Industry Census — the best use of the chart above is justification for the budget, resources, and buy-in necessary to move out of the 14% and into the 86% of marketers improving the mobile customer experience.

Even if your company or clients are already optimizing email for mobile, you may want to use the above chart to get justification for a deeper investment. As Savut told me, "Nearly two-thirds (65%) of marketers claim to have only a ‘moderate' to ‘basic' strategy for optimizing email for mobile."

Once you get the budget for mobile email marketing optimization — what do you do? Or perhaps you've already been optimizing your email marketing for mobile and are looking for the next big idea? Read our accompanying MarketingSherpa blog post — Mobile Email Marketing Optimization: Tips for beginner and advanced marketers from four experts — to get some ideas.

You might also like

2016 Email Marketing Industry Census [From Adestra and Econsultancy]

Subscribe to MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week to get more data-driven articles like this delivered to your inbox

Mobile Marketing: Optimizing the evolving landscape of mobile email marketing

Email Marketing Chart: Mobile versus desktop conversions

Email Research Chart: Email opens on mobile devices in 2015

US Consumer Device Preference Report, 2015 Year in Review [via Movable Ink]

Email Marketing: Ideas and inspiration from 11 years of award-winning campaigns

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