Missing a moving target: marketing emails fail to engage across devices

By Abi Jacks

Marketers are failing to capitalise on the growing popularity of mobile devices, according to new research from Pure360, the email and SMS marketing provider.

Almost three quarters (72%) of emails opened are viewed on desktop computers or laptops, with more than a quarter (27%) of these generating click-throughs – significantly higher than for any other device.

Over a quarter (28%) of marketing emails opened are now being viewed on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, but only one in 10 leads to a click-through.

Consumers today are effectively moving targets, constantly switching between their phone, computer and tablet as they go about their day. Marketers need to engage their audiences across devices but many are missing an opportunity to optimise messages to encourage interaction.

The research is based on detailed analysis of 35,000 email campaigns, sent by over 119 companies in 23 sectors. Pure360 examined open and click-through rates for marketing emails by device type, looking at computers and combined mobile devices, as well as smartphones and tablets separately.



Device trends: Taking aim

Smartphones are the second-most effective device for email marketing, accounting for 20% of opens, but only 7% of these go on to achieve a click-through.

The surge in popularity for tablets means that 8% of marketing emails are now being opened on these devices. However, just 3% prompt a click. This suggests that links are not being highlighted effectively and that content needs to be adapted for the more recreational mind-set people are in when using mobile devices compared to computers.

Sector trends: The good, the bad and the ugly

Pure360 analysed performance by device for a range of sectors and found that the finance industry is the strongest mobile performer, with 36% of marketing emails opened being viewed on smartphones or tablets.

The retail sector is another mobile success story, with 32% of opens occurring on these devices – although still lagging behind finance.

The recruitment sector is exploiting the immediacy of smartphones to engage job-hunters with 23% of these emails being opened, and 30% for mobile devices overall.

Estate agents are failing to do the same for house-hunters: the property industry comes in at 16% for opens on smartphones and 25% on mobile devices overall.

B2B is also struggling to adapt with only 16% of opens taking place on smartphones, and 23% on mobile devices overall. Similarly, only 17% of energy opens are on smartphones and 24% on mobile devices.

No need to call in the Sheriff

The research reveals some good news for employers: people are avoiding using their work accounts to read about poker, betting and bingo.

4% of gambling emails are opened on client email platforms (such as Outlook), compared to a massive 70% on browser-based email accounts (like Gmail and Yahoo).

Shooting from the hip

To achieve the same cut-through on tablets and smartphones that is being achieved on computers, marketers need to adapt the content and format of messages to each device’s likely audience.

This is why we are seeing increasing investment in creative content and responsive design – which can achieve uplifts of up to 50% in open and click-through rates.

About the author

Abi Jacks is head of marketing at Pure360.

Pure360 is a direct digital marketing provider, improving customer engagement results via email and SMS marketing campaigns. Pure360 customers are not tied into any contract, but buy services based on their needs, and include leading brands such as Rightmove, Virgin and innocent drinks.

A member of the DMA, Pure360 record a 10% higher open rate for customers than the DMA average, leading to higher clicks and conversions for client email marketing campaigns. It is privately owned having been established in 2001. Pure360 is growing fast and was recently given the ‘one to watch’ company accolade following its impressive growth (by investment bank GP Bullhound).


One thought on “Missing a moving target: marketing emails fail to engage across devices

  1. Nice Infographic!
    As the use of smartphones and tablets are increasing day by day, a website is needed to be responsive.

    Also, as per your research, if around 28% of marketing emails are opened and viewed on mobile devices, then the email marketing providers should definitely look after this.



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