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Posted by Claire Cahill on 18 July 2012


Email opens on mobile devices have rocketed year-on-year (research from Return Pathreports an 82.4% increase between March 2011 and 2012) and according to research by email marketing testing and tracking tool Litmus, mobile surpassed both desktop and webmail views in April of this year.

Graph showing email opens on mobile overtaking number opened on desktop


Recent stats also show that 88% of people check their email via a mobile phone daily.

This means we really need to make sure mobile emails are performing as well as they can be. Research conducted by email marketing provider Silverpop found the following results from an A/B test on an mobile-optimised email:

[The] client saw a 64% higher click-through rate on the version that was optimized for font size, template width and touch.

Surprisingly, some big brands are still getting it wrong when they really don’t need to; all it takes is a few easy changes for a smooth mobile user experience.

Making emails responsive

Make it single column

Example of  an email at desktop and mobile widths

Unfortunately building emails is a lot more restrictive than websites, keeping the design to a single column allows the layout to be flexible and avoids the dreaded zooming and scrolling.

Make sure font size is legible

Example of small font sizes compared to more legible font sizes in emails

A simple snippet of code stops iPhones and Windows phones from shrinking the text down so small that you have to squint to see it.

Keep an eye on the content

Emails have always had a limited user attention span to deal with, but that may be compounded if users are out and about and multitasking - so keep content concise and easy to digest.

Use a preview text line

Screengrab showing how the preview text line displays

Along with some web clients, iPhones show the first line of the email as a preview in the inbox. By adding in a single summary line at the top of the email, we can make this much more effective - and with iPhone claiming 71.98% of the mobile market share, this is an easy win.

Make buttons and calls to action ‘thumb-friendly’

Example of button in a mobile email that are bigger and easier to hit

Don’t make your users fight to find the link. Buttons need to accommodate finger presses rather than mouse clicks.

Optimise the landing page

Example of a mobile optimised landing page

Don’t undo all this good work by linking through to a non-mobile friendly website. Stats show that around half of email recipients would either delete an email or close it and forget to check again later, if it didn’t link through to a mobile optimised link, so this is essential for a successful conversion rate.




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