Commentary

Early Morning Email Readers Use Mobile

Based on a composite cross sampling of 155.3 million emails sent across 12 industry segments in the 4th quarter of 2010, a new Knotice study finds that 13.36% of emails are opened by a mobile operating system or device, and the balance on a desktop.

The report suggests that the most intuitive and useful way to look at mobile data for summary purposes is technically blending devices (iPhone and iPad) with operating systems (Android), OS and browsers. The table of "opens" by device, mapped in that fashion, looks like this:

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Emails Opened by Device (% of Total)

 

% of Total Opens

Mobile

   iPhone

8.74%

   iPad

2.00

   Android

1.92

   Windows

0.31

   Blackberry

0.15

   Palm

0.25

   Total

13.36

Desktop

   Windows

70.27%

    Mac

16.19

   Linux

0.18

   Total

86.64

Source: Knotice, January 2011

The report shows that the iPhone clearly dominates in terms of email interaction, even as the number of Android devices in-market surpasses iPhones in the latter part of 2010. With the recent Verizon announcement bringing iPhone 4 to their network, it will be interesting to see if this domination continues, or grows, says the report writer.

The level of email interaction from Android devices isn't tracking with its overall market penetration. The very low email interaction rate for BlackBerry devices, surprising considering their market share and legions of enterprise users, may be a result of the default text-only email rendering BlackBerry is known for, observes the report. Like traditional email open reporting, mobile opens are recorded when images are downloaded, so viewing text-only email may mask the true interaction levels.

The report concludes that, though the iPad already shows the second-highest level of email interaction, tablet users may be a different animal altogether, who may be accessing email as a replacement for, not a supplement to, a desktop experience.

Breaking down the summary by specific industry segment, it's important to note how much customer behavior and the brand relationship influences the penetration of mobile in the email channel by industry segment. A much smaller percentage of people read business-to-business emails from their mobile device as compared to emails from retailers, or information from financial services where there is a deeper, more personal brand relationship.

Mobile Email Opens by Industry Segments

Industry

% of Total Opens

Association

9.05%

B2B

3.03%

Cable & Telco

12.03%

Consumer Product

14.11%

Consumer Service

15.61%

Education

10.21%

Entertainment

7.63%

Financial Services

19.38%

Health Care

10.81%

Hospitality

15.74%

Other

10.01%

Retail

20.08%

Source: Knotice, January 2011

The ratio of mobile activity spikes noticeably in the early-morning hours, between 5 and 8am, as mobile phone users are waking up and checking email before starting their day.

Mobile email opening activity drops during the traditional working hours where consumers are more engaged with a desktop device, with a slight peak in activity between 4pm and 5pm. Activity dips during the traditional dinner and early prime-time hours, with a final spike from 10pm to midnight.

The report opines that sending email in the very early morning, as many marketers do, may determine an increase in the ratio of mobile interactions as consumers scan their inbox first thing in the morning, in contrast to an email delivered mid-day where more consumers are more likely to view the email in a traditional desktop setting.

The study finds, says the report, that the percent of all email opens occurring on mobile devices by state yields some interesting and potentially surprising results.

Common sense says the ratio of mobile interaction with email may be much higher in coastal states and larger, metropolitan markets, which holds true in states like California, Texas, Illinois, New York and New Jersey, but does not successfully account for the equally high percentages of mobile interaction seen in states like New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana and Alaska.

The report concludes by saying that "... it is clear that marketers need to understand the demographic profile of their opt-in email list and make informed decisions on mobile-optimization of email based on (the variables noted,) as opposed to geography alone... "

Please visit Knotice here to access the full PDF file with more details and explanatory charts.

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