The share of all email opens occurring on mobile devices reached 20.24% in the first half of 2011, representing 51% growth from 13.36% in Q4 2010, according to a report released in November 2011 by Knotice. Data from the “Mobile Email Opens Report First Half 2011” indicates that iOS and Android were the clear leaders again in Q1 and Q2: iPhones accounted for 12.78% of all email opens in H1, up from 8.74% in Q4 2010, while iPads nearly doubled their share, up from 2% to 3.92% during the same time period.
Android devices also performed well, growing their share of email opens from 1.92% to 3.15%.
Mobile Click Rates Lag Behind Desktop
Although more and more users are opening emails with mobile devices, the proportion of users who take action by clicking on links within the email is far lower more mobile devices than for desktops. For example, when examining click-to-open (CTO) rates by industry, consumer products ranks best among mobile emails with an 18.99% CTO, though that remains far behind desktop’s 29.17% CTO for the same industry. Other industries show similarly lower CTO rates on mobile compared to desktop: health care (11.57% vs. 27.86%), retail (11% vs. 21.17%) and consumer services (10.83% vs. 24.52%) show some of the most significant differences, with only financial services (14.32% vs. 14.89%) approaching parity among the 11 industries studied.
According to Knotice insight, although more marketers are optimizing email for mobile viewing, those experiences remain few and far between: even if a mobile user is interested in taking action, an email designed only with desktop users in mind may make it extremely challenging to do so.
Mobile Opens Peak Late, But Activity Wavers
Mobile open activity appears to be an early-morning and late-evening behavior, as mobile’s share of all email opens rises consistently from lunchtime until 5am, before dropping significantly in the morning hours. According to the report, this crystallizes two archetypal mobile email use cases: checking email on the device shortly after waking up, and using the devices to check email in parallel to other evening activities such as watching TV. Indeed, results from an April 2011 iPass report indicate that 35% of global mobile workers check their email first thing in the morning before they do anything else.
According to Knotice, mobile email clicks show far less pronounced time-of-day trends: mobile CTO rates are lowest in some of the hours of the day when open rates are highest, suggesting that while mobile users are opening emails at high rates during the morning and evening hours, they are not necessarily taking action at those times.
Tablet and Smartphone Open Times Differ
Comparing smartphones and tablets (specifically iPads), the report finds some differences in email opens by time-of-day: the iPad use case is more similar to a desktop or laptop, with clear spikes in the morning but most usage during primetime evening hours. Nielsen Q1 2011 data confirms this evening trend: according to the research, 70% of tablet owners use their devices while watching TV. However, while Nielsen found 57% of tablet owners use them while lying in bed, according to Knotice, iPad email open activity peaks at 9pm, tapering off during the later hours of the evening.
- CTO rates for iPads compared to all other mobile device appear to be almost identical throughout the day.
- CTO rates are consistently higher across industry segments on Android devices than on iPads and iPhones. For example, the retail industry CTO rate for Android is 19.49%, ahead of iPad (11.18%) and iPhone (7.75%).
- Higher mobile open rates seem to coincide with larger metropolitan markets in states like CA, GA, IL, NJ, NY and TX.
About the Data: The Knotice data is based on a composite cross sampling of approximately 701 million emails sent across 11 industry segments in the first 6 months of 2011.