Report: Mobile email will overtake webmail and desktop email by June

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Report: Mobile email will overtake webmail and desktop email by June
Report: Mobile email will overtake webmail and desktop email by June

More people will be reading email off mobile devices than off webmail or desktop clients by June, said Tom Sather, director of professional services at email deliverability firm Return Path.

In its infographic survey “Email in Motion: Mobile is Leading the Email Revolution,” which Return Path compiled by examining 500 different clients from Oct. 2011 to Mar. 2012, the company concluded that mobile email views increased 82.4% year-over-year from Mar. 2011 through Mar. 2012, and that 88% of people check their email via mobile device daily. Additionally, Apple devices account for 85% of all opened mobile email. Finally, email viewed on iPads increased 53.6% year-over-year.

While the findings indicate brands should optimize their email for mobile views, Sather said they should also optimize their mobile web presences. “Obviously when you're reading the webmail, you need the website to be optimized,” he said. “If it's not, people will say ‘Forget about it.' The chances of people revisiting the site are very slim.”

Unfortunately, the multitude of browsers and mobile operating systems often deter brands from making these investments. This fragmentation means that brands need to be cognizant of how text and images render on different mobile devices. They also need to account for different device profiles and where customers are viewing mobile email messages.

While solutions to help enterprises overcome these painpoints exist, “a bigger part is not having enough resources to do something like that,” Sather said. “You need to optimize email and websites across a number of platforms. That creates another step for designers and marketers in that process, and many are already overburdened. Add social on top of that and you have marketers pulling out their hair.”

Because of this, Sather believes mobile viewing standards need to be adopted by the entire industry, which would require mobile platform providers like Apple, Google and Microsoft to collaborate. “There's a power play among these companies,” Sather said. “But there will be a push from marketers to create this standard. And there are organizations that have done a great job pushing it, like the Email Experience Council (EEC) and DMA. I suspect we'll see something come out of those groups as well.”

Sather also mentioned that CSS3, a new version of the Cascading Style Sheets, which determines how web-based documents are presented visually, was designed to incorporate some standardization elements.

In recent months, brands such as the Gilt Groupe have noted significant uptake of mobile email.

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