Wanna Engage Over Mobile Email? Then You Have To Start Mattering

The latest IBM Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study for 2016 makes for interesting reading for several reasons, but there are two that stand out. First, the UK and the developing world stand out for now being mobile-first and across the globe, the people who email us most regularly to buy their stuff or read their content are not always the people we engage with most.

We all know that we are moving to a mobile-first world, and what that means for marketers is the subject of many a conference session. In terms of pure metrics, rounded up or down to make the message simpler, IBM has shown that what happens to each advertiser appeals to engage with them. Half are read -- meaning that they are looked at for eight or more seconds -- while a quarter get a two-second glance and the remaining quarter get less than a two-second glance.

Clearly, the mobile inbox is what football commentators might call "a game of two halves." On the small screen, marketers are either catching our attention or they are being dismissed -- there is little in between. 

It begs the question of who is being engaged with. The answer may not be what the average retailer wants to hear, nor the media owner hoping that people will click to see their latest content or headlines. Schools and educational institutions as well as insurance companies top the global charts of getting around half of their emails opened, with non-profits and charity as well as health not far behind. Government messages are up there too.

It's pretty clear that these are the sectors where somebody can clearly feel there is something in it for them if they engage with the content. There is also a good helping of people feeling they have to check a message because it's potentially important -- educational, health and insurance information is the kind of content that most people will check to make sure there's not an issue they have to act on. Charities undoubtedly hit the human interest -- the "humanity" in us all.

What these sectors share is that they appeal, in a way, to a different kind of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) in that it's not an offer on a television we will miss, but it could be a course that we need to take, an insurance product we should upgrade for better protection or a pioneering project to heal the sick that our donation has helped with.

So it's a wake-up call to those of us promoting content or cut-priced couches. The real interest in mobile email marketing lies in a very obvious place -- the things that truly matter to the recipient.

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