4 in 10 Email Opens Occurred on a Mobile Device in H2 2012

February 20, 2013

Knotice-Mobile-Share-of-Email-Opens-Feb2013The share of email opens occurring on a mobile device keeps growing, climbing to 41% in the second half (H2) of 2012 from 36% in H1, per the latest report [pdf] from Knotice. Mobile phones accounted for 29% of all opens, up from 26% in H1, while 12% of opens occurred on a tablet, up from slightly less than 11%. Given the rapid growth in mobile email opens, Knotice projects that more than half of total opens will occur on a mobile device by year-end.

The iPhone continued to dominate email opens among mobiles in H2, accounting for 21.5% share of total email opens, far ahead of Android phones’ 6% share. What’s more, the iPhone’s growth in email open share appears to be outpacing Android’s.

As seen in prior reports, the iPad’s share of total opens far outstripped that of Android tablets (11.5% vs. 0.6%). The share of opens on iPhones and iPads grew by 9.2% and 19%, respectively, from H1 2012.

Consumer Services Industry Cracks Majority Threshold

Details from Knotice’s “Mobile Email Opens Report: 2nd Half of 2012” show the variety in mobile engagement across different industries, with consumer services being the first to cross the “tipping point.” That is, just over half of email opens in this industry occurred on a mobile device in H2 2012. Other industries where mobile is a keen influence include: hospitality (44.2% of opens on a mobile); cable and telco (40.4%); and retail (38.7%). On the other end of the spectrum, far fewer opens occur on a mobile in the B2B (17.3%) and healthcare (19.1%) sectors.

Most Clicks Still Come From Desktops

While click-to-open (CTO) rates for mobile phones and tablets are improving, and remain somewhat on par (with tablets now slightly higher), they both continue to trail desktop CTO rates. Examining CTO rates by industry, the study finds that even the financial services industry, which had the highest rate on both mobile phones (14.1%) and tablets (20.7%), saw a higher CTO rate on desktops (22.7%). The gap was even larger in other industries such as healthcare (5.8% phone; 9.2% tablet; 26.5% tablet) and consumer services (9% phone; 7.7% tablet; 16.3% desktop).

Generally, desktops represent an outsized proportion of email clicks relative to opens. For example, in the retail industry, desktops accounted for 61.3% of total opens, but a larger 77.3% of total clicks. Desktop click share was highest in the healthcare (94.7%) and B2B (92.8%) sectors, and lowest in the consumer services (64.9%) and financial services (71.7%) sectors.

Knotice suggests that this disparity is due to email marketers still not optimizing email content for mobile users.

Other Findings:

  • Looking at the share of opens occurring on mobile devices based on the time following delivery, the study finds that engagement in the first 90 minutes post-delivery is much higher on mobile phones than on tablets and desktops. This trend continues until about 5 hours following delivery, at which point the gap disappears.
  • The share of mobile email opens tends to be highest in the evening, late night, and early morning, a result that aligns with prior research from TailoredMail.
  • Examining the retail industry, the Knotice report finds that close to 98% of email opens occurred on only one device in H2, indicating that “they myth of multiple opens continues.”
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