How Mobile is Transforming the Way Emails Are Viewed

Association of Strategic Marketing
September 20, 2013 — 1,627 views  
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Though smartphone usage was gradually increasing prior to the launch of Apple's iPhone in 2007, the adoption rate of these devices has accelerated in exponential ways during the past half-decade. Whereas the device was once reserved for a small subset of the population, generally limited to serious business owners and other professionals who needed on-the-go email services, today the smartphone is used by people in virtually all professions, at all experience levels, for any number of diverse reasons. Proliferation of these devices has become the thing of headlines: As of 2013, 40 percent of all people under the age of 55 own a smartphone. That number jumps to a staggering 75 percent of the population when the age group is limited to those under 35 years of age. Even older individuals, those over 55, stand a one in four chance of owning a smartphone device of some sort.

This type of widespread adoption, across all demographic groups, has major ramifications for businesses. One of the biggest impacts can be seen in the way businesses market their products and services to their targeted niche groups and demographics. Today, communications must be formatted so that they can not only inform the audience, but also adapt to the unique type of device that each member of the audience happens to be using. Whether it's the small screen of an iPhone 4 or the relatively large screens of tablet devices like the iPad and Galaxy Tab, marketing messages must adapt.

Email has been around for decades, easily existing as one of the oldest consumer uses of the Internet that has not yet been met with extinction. That's largely because email has been able to adapt over time, extending beyond the walls of large corporations at first, and then adopting desktop receipt protocols and HTML as it sought to become friendlier for the average user. Today, businesses are being forced to reconsider email as not only a mainstay in digital communication, but as a force for mobile marketing that can reach customers wherever they happen to be taking care of business. That's due to a few notable statistics concerning email and the mobile economy:

- The number of emails opened on a mobile device of any kind increased 30 percent between 2012 and 2013

- Devices based on Apple's iOS opened just 6.87 percent of emails in 2012, while that number in 2013 has already increased to 26.43 percent

- Android-based smartphones and devices, which once accounted for just 5.04 percent of email opens, now account for a significantly larger 8.46 percent

- Blackberry email opens increased by more than 240-fold between 2012 and 2013

With changes like this taking place at an alarming rate among all demographic groups, businesses owe it to themselves to take a close look at their existing email marketing strategy and evaluate whether or not it needs to evolve to meet the demands of a shifting high-tech world. The most likely conclusion is that most businesses will be forced with a few key changes that need to be made. Whether it’s the email's subject line, its written content, or its use of HTML and graphics, new considerations emerge when a significant number of recipients have cut the cord, left the desk behind, and embraced their mobile device as their primary way of sending and receiving email communications.

Association of Strategic Marketing