Is Your E-Mail Newsletter Strategy Fully Mobile? It Better Be.

01/21/2013

The rise of post-PC device computing is impacting every imaginable segment of the publishing business. For magazine brands, whose email newsletters often are primary traffic generators and communications tools with readers, the move away from the desktop is especially important.

According to the latest traffic analysis from email data and software provider Return Path, the share of email being opened on mobile devices (38%) finally exceeded the share read in Web browsers (30%). Nearly four out of every ten messages are now being read on smartphone and tablet screens, a staggering increase of 300% in two years. On a daily basis, 73% of online users read email on their handsets, compared to 79% on desktops. Apple continues to rule, with 59% of email opens occurring on an iPhone, 26% on an iPad and only 14% on an Android device.

Obviously the entire content and marketing chain requires mobile optimization: ad landing pages, content links, etc. But more to the point, publishers also need to take advantage of the higher conversion rates marketers see here. According to a Monetate study, last year the average order value on purchases coming via a tablet was $96.11 and $97.39 on smartphones, compared to $91.86 on the desktop.

These higher AORs may have more to do with the moods and modes that devices capture than any special allure of the smaller screens. One of the myths of “mobile” is that these devices are being used principally on the go. More than half of purchases made on devices (51%) occur in the home, with only 18% at work and 22% when the user is outside of both locations. Devices are being used at home and especially during the prime time TV hours when people are likely to be in an end-of-day, “reward myself” mode by the light of the most effective consumer inspiration device yet invented: the television.

Publishers need to follow the lead of e-commerce vendors who are coming to understand how devices fit within a larger multi-screen daily cycle of content consumption. Mobile is not just another screen or an extension of the Web as we have known it. The use-cases that devices tap are different and potentially even more lucrative than those we have seen on the desktop.