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JC Lupis | Marketing Charts | Thu, 10 Mar 2016 14:30:11 +0000

Email 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.Yesmail-Email-CTO-Rates-Desktop-v-Mobile-Q22013-Q42015-Mar2016

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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