Mobile is having a profound impact on how we use email marketing. We are truly in a new world of the three-screen, soon to be four-screen, integrated experiences. With the shift from desktop to laptop to tablet to smartphone, it is becoming more and more important to understand the unique user experience, track and optimize it.
Knowing that 39% of your email list opened on a mobile device, is interesting, but not actionable. Knowing that of the 39%, 40% were on a tablet device, is interesting, but not actionable. These trends offer nice stats for presentation sound bites, but what do they really mean? As Mark Twain once said, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” I feel most in the industry are reading more than they are applying. Here are a few keys to success with mobile in 2013.
1. Track and target individual device usage. As the email experience shifts from device to desktop to the tablet, the only way to understand key trends by key segments is to track at the individual level. This offers you very rich targeting opportunities and is the foundation of your testing strategy. As commerce behaviors are shifting, optimizing to the experiences is going to be critical -- and you can’t do that unless you track at the individual level.
2. Adaptive design. There has been a lot of talk about adaptive design for web and email. Some say it’s overkill. Some say it’s not prudent for email. I disagree. Our teams use it, yet it does require you to rethink design and templates and make a commitment to new modes of production. You will never render the perfect “email” on every device, and adaptive design will not solve all your problems, but it makes for a much better email experience. We are seeing dramatic improvements in response metrics based on new designs. The day and age of coding email five years behind web design standards is gone.
3. Preference centers need to be optimized for mobile and adaptive design. While I’ve been a bit conservative on the value of preference centers in the past, I now believe consumers need a central site to organize how they interact with a brand. But we need to go farther than this. Developing adaptive design for preference centers is going to be a key initiative for most in 2013.