Email usage trends; why you need to keep up

Jo Macdermott

Jo Macdermott
Jo Macdermott is from Next Marketing in Melbourne and a former writer of the 'On a Shoestring' column in Marketing Magazine. Next Marketing is a niche marketing agency working with Business Owners across a number of Industry sectors.

Email marketing is a low cost, highly effective way for marketers to promote products or services. If you want to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns, it is important that your emails work well with the email programs and devices that your customers are using. Technology is rapidly advancing, and the use of smart phones and tablets has exploded. If your emails aren’t displaying properly on these devices, for example, it can mean that you are not getting the full benefit from your email marketing efforts.

If you aren’t already, it is worth checking to see what devices and software programs are the most popular amongst the subscribers on your mailing list. Platforms such as Campaign Monitor allow you to view and compare the detail and results of different campaigns, to make sure you are designing your emails for these devices and software programs, rather than for your own convenience.

To demonstrate some recent email trends, and how quickly they are evolving, here is an example of a comparison of email software and device use from campaigns for three companies in April 2012, and April 2013, in three different industries.  These graphs were taken from Campaign Monitor.

The first comparison is a client in the hairdressing industry (B2C):

In this industry, the iPhone is the most popular device for viewing emails, and in 2013, Gmail has replaced Outlook as the most popular email client behind Hotmail. The iPad is also rising in popularity in 2013, compared to the 2012 results.

 

Hairdresser B2C – 2012

Hairdresser B2C – 2013

The second comparison is a B2B company in the landscaping industry:

Landscaping Industry B2B – 2012

Landscaping Industry B2B – 2013

As you can see, the popularity of Outlook (which is usually viewed on a laptop or desktop computer) has been eroded by the iPhone device in 2013, although the iPad appears further down the list.

The third comparison was with Next Marketing, and this showed the most dramatic increase in iPhone usage. The most commonly used versions of Outlook also changed, and the iPad appeared on the list of email clients in 2013, where it was nowhere to be seen in 2012.

Next Marketing – 2012

Next Marketing – 2013

The results of these comparisons indicate that the tools people use to view emails are changing from more traditional platforms, to mobile devices, and the popularity of the iPhone and iPad for browsing and checking email on the go seems likely to keep growing.

What does this mean for your brands?

When you are producing an email newsletter, or a promotional email for a sale, or anything else that promotes your business via email, it is a good idea to make sure the design is compatible for the device people will most likely view it on.

The layout for a document that is going to be read on a computer monitor is not the same as one that will be read on an iPhone, and although it is not possible to get the design perfect for every single client, you can use your email program to make sure you are not neglecting mobile phone viewers if they are in the top category of your audience.

You don’t have to design your email campaigns to suit every platform, but it is a good idea to test them for design and readability, as well as spam filtering, for the top three platforms that your customers are using. Make sure your email campaigns work for the majority of your readers, and you can hopefully maximise their effectiveness and get great results.