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The mobile channel has produced a culture of information on-demand. We can now view our emails as and when they come through on our smart phones. The question is though has this necessarily made us more responsive as an audience? In truth it seems the opposite. We view an email as it arrives on our smart phone, think about it for a second and then move onto the next one.

But what about the publishing sector in particular? What should publishers do to increase email engagement and responsiveness?

Following a presentation by our Account Director, Parry Malm, at Publishing & Media Expo last week, we have taken an in-depth look at our email client reporting statistics to show you how mobile email has affected the way recipients are opening emails using data from our Email Client Detection Reporting. This data is aggregated across our whole publishing client base from 1st April 2012 up to 28th January 2013, and presents a true picture across the publishing sector.

Email client breakdown for publishers”¦

Outlook still remains the email client upon which the most emails are being opened, followed by iPhone, Apple Mail and iPad which make up the next largest proportion. The webmail clients come next. This shows that even though mobile optimisation is most definitely important, your email must look good on all devices to ensure a good recipient experience.

This graph shows a breakdown of email clients upon which emails are being opened


Clicks are more important”¦

It’s all very well that your emails are being read on different devices, but what about the call to action? Are people actually clicking on the emails that they receive on a mobile or are they more likely to click on an email they receive to their desktop Outlook?

What is interesting is the correlation between opens and click through –  39% of emails that register an open are read via Outlook and the same percentage of clicks happen in Outlook. Understandable. However for an iPhone, 18% of emails that register an open are read on an iPhone, however only 12% of clicks happen on an iPhone. So one third of iPhone readers simply stop at the opening stage. Interesting stats, especially if you are tracking ROI.

What does this tell us?

When should publishers push email to this audience?

There is lots of research out there on the best send times, some useful, some not.

Some say that peak times are commute times when they have nothing else to do – this is where mobile is obviously especially prevalent. Another peak time is lunch when consumers are likely to catch up on news and magazine alerts in their lunch break.

To determine what works best for publishers, we are now going to look at 2 Adestra client campaigns for leading publishing titles: the mobile open rate seems to be consistent across both, ranging from 25-35%. The above is quite significant as it shows Desktop, Webmail and Mobile having quite an even spread.

mobile email share

mobile email opens clicks


The majority of the people have opened when they have received the email. The other peaks do seem to happen in the morning, at commute times, lunch and evening downtime.

Does this tell us that it doesn’t matter what time you send? That recipients will open whenever you send? I don’t think this is the right way to approach this. Recipients may open immediately on their mobiles but might not take action immediately. Analyse your results and try to build send times around when people are clicking or spending time on your website rather than when they are opening your emails.

email time slots

How publishers can push email to boost response?

Enticing them to open

The same applies here as with desktop best practice. Except in the case of mobile you have the pre-header text visible in your inbox. Use your from name, subject and pre-header text together to give them the information they need to entice them to open the email.

From name: Make sure it is recognisable. Company or brand name is best and in some B2B cases you could test using an employee’s name. You just need to be careful if they leave.

Subject line: Use this to tell them what is inside; demonstrate the benefit – what’s in it for me? Remember though that you will only see the first 30-40 characters before you open so ensure your most important information is at the start.

Pre-header text: The first bit of rich text in your email will display here. Make sure you clearly state your call to action here to entice them to open.

Once they’ve opened”¦

mobile email subject lines

“make sure the email is readable

Best practice email marketing states that short and punchy copy is best. While this is definitely the way to go, publishers’ emails can be longer editorial emails. This is fine for mobile. People may be enjoying reading your copy on their commute but is your template readable? Make sure your HTML scales your email so that copy can be viewed by scrolling vertically. Far too often we get emails where we have to scroll inconsistently horizontally and vertically and the email becomes unreadable.

“make clicking easy

Tap is the new click and you need to ensure that it is easy to click your links with fat fingers. Make sure there is enough space around your buttons and links. Putting them too close together means it is easy to accidentally tap the wrong one.

Ideal button size: The average width of the index finger is 1.6 – 2cm which converts to 45-57 pixels.

…and after they’ve clicked

It’s really important to think about the post-click experience. Responsive design emails will give you an uplift in results when they are easy to use on a mobile AND the rest of the web experience is mobile friendly.

“tips for rich media:

Images: Mobile devices tend to have more restricted bandwidth so keep images small and optimised for web.

Video: Video is a great way to engage people on the move. Watching a 60 second video when you are on the move may be much easier than reading copy. However you need to think about mobile bandwidth – the recipient may be in a low range area and not able to load your video. Ensure you have short snappy rich text to accompany videos so no one misses out.

Animated GIFs: Remember animated gifs work nicely on mobile as opposed to some desktop email clients so take advantage of this. Keep the most important information on the first frame though to ensure it is seen by those who don’t support animated gifs. As always, be careful of file size as animated gifs will increase the size of your email and they will take longer to download.

By taking the above into consideration you should help your audience interact with your email on their mobile a little easier. Coupled with finding your optimum time for your audience this should hopefully boost the responsiveness of this audience. The next step however is to ensure that their destination or landing page is also optimised for the mobile environment!

To find out more, get in touch by emailing