Email Conversions Are Ruled by a Traditional Experience

Andrew Kordek

3 minute read

Moveable Ink (MI) recently released their 2015 US Consumer Device Preference Report, and there are some interesting insights that all email marketers should pay attention to.  The basis for this report centers on data MI collected from 6.03 billion emails throughout 2015.

Highlight 1 – When It Comes to Opens, Mobile Devices Rule

This is a “duh” when you think about it.  You can’t breathe without hearing that mobile owns initial engagement with email, but just wait. The report indicates that mobile opens were up by 2% over 2014 with smartphones accounting for 52% and tablets for 16%.  This means that people are opening email on smartphones, but I wonder if they are still triaging and then going back later to take action.  Desktop accounted for 32% of opens, so it’s not all about mobile, as you will see below.  We have to remember that phones are getting bigger, so the statistic of people reading more on their smartphone follows logically.  For the record, I don’t consider tablets to be a mobile device, since some of the current functionality and experience (think iPad Pro and Air) mimic what laptops/desktops do (think 11- or 13-inch Macbooks).

Highlight 2 – Conversions Happen on the Desktop and Tablet

Mobile owns the open, but desktop rules the conversion. 53% of the conversions happened on a desktop, and 14% of the conversions happened on iPads and Android tablets. Since I consider tablets to be more of a desktop experience, this means that the 67% of conversions happen in what I like to call a traditional experience.  The key insight here is that you need to have a compelling enough messaging strategy coupled with a hella good cadence and re-marketing/targeting strategy to ensure you get them at the right time.

Highlight 3 – Conversions for Retail Apparel Are Nutty

In the report, MI indicates that in the retail apparel vertical, 51% of the conversions happen on a smartphone and 11% on a tablet. While I don’t have any leg to stand on based on data, I find it hard to believe that the conversion rates are so high in that vertical. Experience tells me that sometimes tracking can be off when it comes to identifying the right channel of conversion, especially on the retail side.  In addition, I would love to know if those conversions happened on mobile apps or on mobile sites, as that would be a good indicator of the experience.

Highlight 4 – Kindle Fire People Love To Read

Meanwhile in Kindle Fire land, 62% of Kindle readers spent 15+ seconds reading the email, which is insane.  Android came in 2nd with 48% of users spending more than 15 seconds, and iPad folks were last at only 28% spending more than 15 seconds.  If you are verbose and love to have as much text as you can, target Kindle and Android people because apparently they are love to read.

Key Takeaways

First and foremost, I take reports like this with a grain of salt.  Moveable Ink has provided us email marketers with some directional stats regarding mobile and its apparent domination in how people engage with your program. And I thank them for that.  Second, they tracked 1.4 million conversions and never really defined what a conversion was.  This means that of the 6 billion emails they tracked, only .02% were recorded as a conversion, so you tell me if we have the whole story here. That said, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here because the last time I checked, opens don’t pay the bills – conversions do. In spending time with our customers, I always ask for mobile conversion rates and average basket sizes, and sometimes the resounding answer is they want people to go to their non-mobile site because they have found that mobile users are fickle, don’t spend as much, and are not as loyal.

If I had to design an email program (on-boarding, messaging, triggered, transactional, intervention and off-boarding) around mobile opens or general conversions, I would choose conversions 8 days a week including Sunday. Reports like this are good fodder for meetings, webcasts and conferences, but using it to compare your program to others or for a boardroom meeting with the bosses to ask for more budget for the program is not a wise idea.

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About the Author(s)

Andrew Kordek

Andrew Kordek is a Co-Founder of Trendline Interactive.

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