With the rise of smartphones, mobile became the most common way for mailing list subscribers to open their emails. Unfortunately, this didn’t always mean they were clicking through. According to a quarterly report from Yesmail, times—and mobile user habits—are changing.

Over the last few years, click-to-open (CTO) rates among desktop email users were twice as high as mobile email users, but that margin is slipping. In the first half of 2015, mobile CTO rates began closing the gap, lagging behind desktop by only 5%. Furthermore, desktop rates have been on the decline for the last two years, to the tune of an 18% drop, while mobile CTO rates have increased by nearly 30% during that same period.

In the past, conventional wisdom dictated that while mobile users would try to view their email while out and about, they would later reopen the message on a desktop if they had trouble with it on their device. Based on the Yesmail survey, this no longer appears to be the case. Of course, based on a recent BlueHornet survey, this increase in mobile CTO has quite a bit to do with the responsiveness of mobile email and websites. BlueHornet found that when mobile users received an email that didn’t display properly on their phone:

  • 33% would read it later on their computer
  • 40% would simply delete the message.

And Yesmail’s data backs up those findings. Their report indicated that 50% of all emails sent in the second quarter of this year were optimized for mobile viewing, nearly doubling the percent of optimized emails sent last year.

The report further provided data on the impact of sending emails optimized for mobile:

  • Mobile accounted for 46% of all Q2 2015 clicks
  • Of orders generated by email marketing, mobile’s share was 27%.

To drill down even further, Yesmail’s data clearly shows that smartphones play an impressive role in mobile’s recent gains. In fact, smartphones accounted for:

  • 53% of mobile revenue
  • 54% of mobile orders.

While mobile has made clear gains in the last few years—especially the first half of 2015—that’s not the only good news Yesmail’s report had for email marketers. Overall user engagement is up. Not only does each individual user open 17% more email marketing messages than they did in 2013, but also there are fewer users subscribing to mailing lists and then never opening the messages. While a “never active” stat of 68.9% may seem high, it’s actually the lowest level of non-engaged email users Yesmail has ever encountered.

The findings from these studies serve as an important reminder to SMBs who want to capitalize on their mailing list. Failing to have emails that display properly on mobile devices—or direct users to non-responsive websites—will lead to less engaged email subscribers.


MarketingCharts. Mobile Email Engagement Grows. August 25, 2015.