The State of Email Engagement in 2016: What Marketers Need to Know

Published on May 6, 2016

Not as trendy as social media or as wonky as SEO, email is still nevertheless the reliable workhorse of any successful content marketing strategy.

And while email marketing remains a well-tested tactic with a proven return on investment, the state of email has been changing. As the way we use the internet has changed – thanks to the rise of mobile and our new habits as digital natives – the way we use email has changed too. How’s a marketer to keep up?

Thankfully, email marketing analytics company Litmus recently released its 2016 State of Email report, which highlights trends across industries by monitoring more than 13 billion email opens.

So how are users engaging with email today? Let’s look at some of the important trends marketers need to know:

The “Meteoric Rise” of Mobile

Look around a subway station or waiting room, and you’re likely to see the majority of the people around you with their heads buried in their phones. It doesn’t take a geek to notice that mobile is now the king – but Litmus’ data reveals growth that even we didn’t expect.

Over the course of five years’ worth of data, mobile opens increased 17% and now represent 55% of all email opens. That’s right – your newsletter or digital flyer is being opened on a mobile device more than half the time. And with mobile’s rise, we’ve seen the sharp fall of desktop opens and webmail: Webmail clients now account for 26% of opens, and desktop opens have decreased to just 19% of total opens.

Not All Mobile Environments Are Equal

By the end of 2015, Android devices accounted for 10% of all opens. This tells us that Apple is continuing its dominance in the mobile arena, and, indeed, iPhone opens climbed from 27% to 33% of opens.

With that said, not all Apple products are created equal. The iPad, according to Litmus’ data, has seen a decline in opens, and now represents just 12% of mobile email opens. This isn’t necessarily too surprising; iPad sales have been slumping for a while now, thanks to the boom of a more diverse tablet market and the development of larger iPhones, which may be cannibalizing iPad sales.

What’s Up With Webmail? Is Desktop Dead?

The spike in mobile opens may be what’s behind the decline in reported use for webmail services like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail (which all saw a slump in 2015). As more and more users turn to the native apps on their phones, these opens will register as mobile opens, rather than webmail.

News is even worse for Outlook, long the leader in desktop email, which decreased 33% and now represents just 6% of opens.

So just what does this all of this data mean for your business? It means that, as we move through 2016, your business needs a content marketing strategy that is primed for mobile optimization and compatible with all sorts of webmail and desktop clients.

Fortunately, that’s where we come in! Our experienced team knows their way around crafting a great digital newsletter – especially one that’s primed for mobile. Ready to make sure your email marketing stays with the times? Drop Geek a line today!

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