Mobile email optimization might seem intimidating, but, as the smartphone market continues to grow, so will the need for emails tailored to mobile screens. Since 2010, the number of smartphone owners using mobile Internet has grown 45%, and it’s showing no signs of stopping now.
Smartphones take over
Not only are smartphone users becoming more prevalent, usership registers at 40% and higher among age groups under 55. One in four people over 55 years of age are also smartphone owners. In the U.S., three of every four people use their smartphones for email.
Email design can be challenging enough, but the changeover from desktop caught a lot of people off-guard. The technology is there, so customers expect the market to keep up.
Tech-savvy businesses have met this challenge by using mobile optimization and communication software to engage their customers. Just as they’ve used traditional email marketing, they’ve now included mobile-optimized email marketing in their campaigns.
With the swell in smartphone use and ownership, an automated email campaign that isn’t optimized for mobile could hamper any initiative.
Mobile opens on the rise
According to data we collected in the nine months between June of 2012 and March of 2013:
- mobile email opens increased more than 30%
- iPhone and iPad email opens grew from 3.88% and 2.99% to 17.50% and 8.93%, respectively
- Android opens swelled from 5.04% to 8.46%
- BlackBerry email opens went from 0.01% to 0.24%, (which doesn’t look like much, but is a huge leap, and indicates just how important mobile email marketing optimization is).
Mobile design tips
The first step to mobile optimization is keeping it simple. From the subject line to email content, follow the rule of the shorter it is, the sweeter the return will be.
Clear up any clutter that may bury links. Which is worse: the customer missing the link, or the customer having a hard time clicking the link? Fingertips are much fatter than cursors. Apple® interface guidelines recommend at least 44×44 pixels as a minimum for a target area.
For design, simple things like font size can be tricky. Again, this can differ across platforms. Apple automatically increases font size to 13 pixels, and anything between 16-18 pixels is rendered as either medium or large on Android™ devices. The rule of thumb from designers is: 14 pixels for text, and 22 for headlines.
When focusing on Android and non-iOS® platforms, you do need to watch your dimensions (Apple will automatically resize). On Android and Kindle devices, that means keeping the calls to action visible at about 320px for smartphones (the limit for Kindle Fire is about 600).
Test, test, test
The best practice of all is to test, not only on desktops, but on a variety of devices. Make sure your content is easy to read on any screen. Make sure you catch any differences between platforms—Android and iOS might be making the same function happen, but not in the same way.
Examine the email. What does the subject line say? Limit subject lines to 60 characters. Are there symbols that don’t show up correctly? Adjust accordingly.
Don’t forget your landing page!
Once you’ve optimized your email marketing campaign, don’t forget the next important step—optimizing your landing page. You don’t want to send subscribers to a page that takes forever to load; they won’t hang around. Replace heavy data codes like Flash with HTML5 or CSS.
Time to get mobile
Understand that mobile devices are just that: mobile. Ensure the messages you send are concise, and get right to the point. If customers are reading on a tablet or smartphone, they’re most likely multitasking, or on the move. Use analytics data to determine when the majority of people check their email, and schedule blasts with tools like GetResponse autoresponder programs to catch your customers at the best time—and with the right content.
Above all, email optimization for mobile platforms depends on your understanding of the recipient’s habits. Mobile users spend only 5.3% of their time on email or instant messaging. That means you only have seconds (or even part of a second) to grab attention with a subject line or a header.
With nearly half of the mobile market dominated by smartphones, effective mobile email marketing is essential for companies looking to create a successful presence in today’s information-driven marketplace.
Are you optimizing your emails for mobile?