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Report: Mobile Devices Change Email Reading Behavior

February 19, 2015 Digital Media Solutions

Man Filing Mail in BoxesAre email open rates on the rise and clicks on the decline because of mobile devices? Direct Marketing News and Epsilon says yes, and I’m not surprised by the news.

Here’s Why Open Rates are Climbing and Why They’ll Continue this Trend

In response to the influx of mobile devices, marketers are creating brief, catchy, curiosity-provoking subject lines. They can range from the humorous (“The Deals That Make Us Proud: (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”) to the eye-catching (“DON’T OPEN THIS EMAIL!!”) to the deliberately personal (President Obama’s “Hey” email). For a list of great ones, check out Hubspot’s list of the 16 best email subject lines. The commonality in all of them, though, is driving intent is to get that open, and it seems to be working.

Triggered emails have also become very popular in recent years. These automated messages are sent to consumers based on prior actions taken. The main goal is to get a conversion (typically a purchase). But to build trust and loyalty, marketers include other valuable content. A quick word of caution here: Consumers? They generally don’t find marketing messages all that valuable. They don’t save them, print them out, have them framed and hang them on their walls. They could care less about your boring company announcements or the hundreds of marketing buzzwords you’ve strung together. If you want recipients to pay attention to you, you need to save them time or money through timely deals or promotions. You need to entertain them with captivating, funny content. You need to inform and educate them through expert opinions, interviews or tips and tricks. The belief that something desirable is contained within the message earns the open. The fact that it’s delivered to a mobile device increases the chances of it happening soon after it’s received, versus being pushed down within the inbox throughout the day.

Sadly, many companies are still not optimizing their email messages to render well on mobile devices. Yes, this means not formatting emails for smaller screens. But mobile optimization also requires changing how we write. A strong message is short and to the point with a call to action at the top of the message body. As companies alter their styles to meet the needs of the mobile reader, deletes and unsubscribes will turn into even more opens.

And Here’s Why Clicks are Being Negatively Impacted

It’s interesting to note that readers are less likely to click through from mobile devices on the first open. Many believe this is due to a lack of compelling, mobile-friendly content, as explained above. Marketers need to adjust their practices quickly, because, according to Mobile Commerce Daily, consumers opening an email on a mobile device are 32 percent less likely to revisit that email than those opening the email using a desktop email client. In addition to clearer (closer to the top) calls to action, reminder emails can help address this trend.

In my opinion, clicks will start to rise again once marketers become more mobile savvy. As content development and consumer targeting becomes more sophisticated and mobile-optimized, open rates will continue to climb and clicks will follow in their path.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, LLC (DMS) is the leading global martech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand direct and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers. DMS deploys a robust database of consumer intelligence and leverages massive proprietary media distribution to provide customer acquisition campaigns that grow businesses. Continuing to experience explosive year-over-year growth, DMS has been continuously recognized on the Inc. 5000 list, securing its sixth consecutive ranking in 2019, and the Entrepreneur magazine 360 list. Earlier this year, DMS announced it is anticipating becoming a public company under a reverse merger deal with Leo Holdings Corp. Named one of America’s “Best Places to Work” by Inc. magazine and awarded the Excellence in Lead Generation Award by the LeadsCouncil, DMS brings together some of the industry’s most knowledgeable people, efficient processes and sophisticated technology across the digital marketing spectrum. For more information about DMS, visit Keep up with DMS news at and connect with us on LinkedIn at

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