Email Click-to-Open Rates Still Lag on Mobile

August 19, 2014

Yesmail-Email-CTO-by-Industry-and-Device-in-Q2-Aug2014Mobile devices accounted for 64.5% of all email opens during the second quarter of this year, says Yesmail Interactive in its latest quarterly report [download page] covering Q2 email activity. The study – which uses a new adjusted figure for Android opens to account for those devices’ frequent default “images off” setting – indicates that while mobile devices lead in email opens, they trail in several other important measures.

When taking clicks into account, for example, mobile devices fall to 53% share of email events (opens and clicks) in Q2, as they comprised just 35% of all clicks.

Indeed, as Yesmail has observed in several past reports, mobile click-to-open (CTO) rates continue to lag comparable desktop rates by a sizable margin. Despite registering a year-over-year uptick, the CTO rate on mobile devices during Q2 was just 9.3%, significantly behind the desktop CTO rate of 22.6%. That result leads Yesmail to declare that “conversion in the form of a click is the biggest challenge for mobile email marketing,” attributing the lag to “screen size, divided attention span while on-the-go, and varied user experience.”

Indeed, mobile trailed desktop CTO rates in each of the 12 industries tracked during Q2. The gap was most pronounced in the technology industry, where the CTO rate on desktops was 7.5 times higher than on mobile devices (30% vs. 4%). Even in the insurance industry, where the gap was narrowest, desktop CTO rates were roughly 50% higher than on mobile (32% vs. 21%). In fact, insurance was 1 of only 2 industries analyzed in which desktop CTO rates weren’t at least twice as high as mobile CTO rates.

Separately, mobile continues to trail desktops in purchase behavior, too. Despite accounting for 22% of email-driven purchases, mobiles only comprised 16% of total email-driven revenues, as average order values (AOVs) on mobile devices were approximately one-third lower than on desktops ($55 and $83, respectively).

On a more encouraging note, the report indicates that mobile conversion rates are catching up to desktops. This past quarter, desktop conversion rates were 50% higher than on mobile (2.7% vs. 1.8%), after being almost 3 times higher in Q3 2013 (3.7% vs. 1.3%).

But back to the worrisome data… in Q2, mobile repeat purchasers were 40% less likely than desktop repeat purchasers to complete multiple orders on their devices. Coupled with the increased conversion rates on mobile, the report’s authors posit that poor user experiences may be to blame, suggesting that “even if a subscriber has previously purchased on mobile, they are reluctant to go back and buy again.”

To combat these trends, Yesmail offers the following best practices:

  • “Optimize customer experience along the entire mobile path-to-purchase;”
  • “Incorporate cookies that store customer information and enable quick order check-out both as an existing user and as a guest;”
  • “Send out discount codes that prompt in-store redemption to better integrate online and offline customer experience;” and
  • “Simplify the check-out process by offering alternative payment methods that only require the use of an already set up app.”
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