April 11, 2012, 3:17 PM

27% of marketing e-mails are opened on mobile devices

As a result, optimizing e-mail content is critical, a Knotice report finds.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

A new study of 974 million marketing e-mails across 11 industries shows that use of smartphones and tablets is growing by leaps and bounds as more consumers shift typical computing activities from the desktop to mobile devices in ways that affect m-commerce marketers.

27.39% of marketing e-mails were opened on smartphones and tablets in the last half of 2011, according to mobile marketing firm Knotice. 72.61% were opened on desktops and laptops. In the first half of 2011, 20.24% were opened on mobile devices and 79.76% on desktops and laptops.

“This is an increase of 36%, which shows the steady, strong increase in mobile open rates continues, which lends further evidence to the accelerating rate of mobile adoption,” Knotice says.

During the third and fourth quarters of 2011 in the retail industry, 20.80% of marketing e-mails were opened on smartphones, the study finds. 7.32% of e-mails were opened on a tablet. In total, 28.12% of retail marketing e-mails were opened on mobile devices in the last half of 2011, up from 20.07% in the first half.

In the last half of 2011 across all 11 industries, including retail, travel, financial services, b2b and others, 20.63% of marketing e-mails were opened on smartphones, the study finds. That includes 15.69% being opened on iPhones, 4.69% on Android smartphones, 0.12% on Palm smartphones, 0.02% on BlackBerrys, 0.02% on Windows Phone smartphones, and 0.09% on other smartphones.

During the same period, 6.76% of marketing e-mails were opened on tablet computers, Knotice says: 6.54% on iPads, 0.17% on Android tablets and 0.05% on other tablets.

“E-mail may be one of the largest sources, if not the largest, of mobile impressions and leads that any organization sees,” Knotice says. “The traditionally disparate roles of e-mail and mobile marketing within the organization need to come together, understanding that e-mail is very much a mobile marketing channel.”

If a consumer is viewing an e-mail first on a smartphone, this is likely the only chance a marketer has to get his attention and prompt a response, Knotice adds.

“In this light, optimization of e-mail content for mobile devices is extremely important,” the firm says. “Marketers cannot afford to labor under the false assumption that users return to the same e-mail later on a desktop or tablet device when they have more time. The data indicates this use case is extremely rare. Optimization of the e-mail content for the first—and most likely only—touch on mobile is imperative to success.”

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