Marketers failing to meet consumer demand for mobile email

Experian research shows disconnect between marketers and consumers on the future of mobile email.

Marketers failing to meet consumer demand for mobile email

Experian research shows disconnect between marketers and consumers on the future of mobile email.

Sydney, Australia, 8 February 2011 – Only one quarter (26%) of Australian consumers consider the design of emails received on their mobile device as ‘good’, according to new research by Experian®, the global information services company.

Almost half (47 per cent) of Australians who receive emails via mobile are using this service frequently or very frequently. Yet despite this, only 18 per cent of marketers have taken any steps to capitalise on the opportunity by amending their email marketing and communications strategies to meet consumer demands.
The Experian research, involving over 240 marketers and 1,000 consumers, shows there is a missing link between these two groups. More than three quarters of marketers place a high importance on mobile marketing in future communications, yet consumers are demanding changes now.

Mobile email design flaws

Less than two per cent of users rated four usability factors (email design, image quality, content length and content relevance) as ’very good’ suggesting huge scope for improvement across the board. Controversially, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of marketers have no plans at all to engage in ways to improve email delivery to mobile devices.

Those marketers which have responded to consumer demand now have taken a range of steps to adapt their email content for mobile devices. Almost eight in ten (79 per cent) have redesigned email templates, while two thirds (67 per cent) have reduced content length.

The proliferation of smartphones is helping to drive mobile email uptake. Mobile email users are expected to reach 1 billion by 2013.*

John Merakovsky, Director, Experian Marketing Services, comments: “This is a wakeup call for those marketers engaging in one dimensional Electronic Digital Marketing (EDM) campaigns. Consumers are already reading emails on their mobile devices, and the proportion is growing with the massive uptake of smartphones. A poorly formatted email or a clunky website experience will render this channel worthless through lack of response.”

Australians view mobile email anytime and anywhere

The research also found those consumers reading emails on their mobile devices are doing so anytime and anywhere.  The most popular times to read are at the weekend (85 per cent reading all the time or sometimes), while travelling (78 per cent) and after work (78 per cent). These findings indicate marketers should think outside of the traditional 9-5 window for campaigns.

Emails have traditionally been the domain of PCs, yet a significant 20 per cent of consumers surveyed say they are more likely to open email (any type of email – work/marketing/social) on their phone rather than on their computer. Marketers need to plan for their EDMs to be opened on either device, and take steps to ensure these are tailored accordingly.

Merakovsky comments: “Mobile use will continue to grow with increasingly sophisticated devices. Consumers are currently reading emails on mobiles, but marketers want to get them to click through to a website. Marketers who have not optimised their websites for mobile devices will quickly find themselves turning off potential customers.”

Websites not optimised for mobile visitors

Another challenge facing consumers is that almost half of those surveyed said that less than 40 per cent of websites could be viewed effectively when they clicked on an email link from their mobile phone.  Only 11 per cent of people said they could view websites effectively nearly all of the time.

Despite this, consumers are still more likely to click through from emails to websites via their PC.  Just 10 per cent of people would be more likely to click on an email link when using their phone, as opposed to 61 per cent who are more likely to click when on their PC

Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of marketers are planning to change their web design in the future. Some 17 per cent had no plans to tailor their site, showing a significant proportion of the market is yet to engage with this approach.

Additional key findings from the Experian research include:

  • There is frequent use of phones for accessing emails across all age groups with 31 per cent of over 65s using this service frequently
  • Almost six out of ten (58 per cent) mobile phone owners plan to read more emails in the next two years on their phone
  • This compares with 97 per cent of marketers who believe consumers will be significantly reading more emails, suggesting a high level of expectation from organisations
  • Consumers are keen for marketers to adapt and tailor content for mobile use.  Half believed that all marketing content should be included in the email, while 31 per cent felt that just teaser copy should be used.
  • Just three out of ten (28 per cent) rated the ability to view images in emails on their mobile device as ‘good’.
  • Interestingly marketers are placing equal importance on new mobile technology for engaging with consumers. 40 per cent of marketers rated email as the most important tool for mobile phone communication, yet 41 per cent rate Smartphone ‘apps’ as the key tool.

Click here to request a copy of the Research Report