Marketers are failing to capitalise on the growing popularity of mobile devices, according to new research from email marketing and SMS gurus at Pure360.

The Brighton-headquartered business, which announced a £10.5 million management buyout last month, carried out a study based on detailed analysis of 35,000 email campaigns, sent by more than 119 companies in 23 sectors.

It examined open and click-through rates for marketing emails by device type, looking at computers and combined mobile devices, as well as smartphones and tablets separately. 

Research found that almost three quarters (72%) of emails opened were viewed on desktop computers or laptops, with more than a quarter (27%) of these generating click-throughs – significantly higher than for any other device.

The study showed that over a quarter (28%) of marketing emails opened are now being viewed on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, but only one in 10 leads to a click-through.

Moving Targets

Head of marketing at Pure360, Abi Jacks, said: “Consumers today are effectively moving targets, constantly switching between their phone, computer and tablet as they go about their day. 

“Marketers need to engage their audiences across devices but many are missing an opportunity to optimise messages to encourage interaction.”

Jacks said smartphones are the second-most effective device for email marketing, accounting for 20% of opens, but only 7% of these go on to achieve a click-through.

The surge in popularity for tablets means that 8% of marketing emails are now being opened on these devices. However, just 3% prompt a click. This suggests that links are not being highlighted effectively and that content needs to be adapted for the more recreational mindset people are in when using mobile devices compared to computers. 

Trends Revealed

Pure360 analysed performance by device for a range of sectors and found that the finance industry is the strongest mobile performer, with 36% of marketing emails opened being viewed on smartphones or tablets. 

The retail sector is another mobile success story, with 32% of opens occurring on these devices – although still lagging behind finance.

The recruitment sector is exploiting the immediacy of smartphones to engage job hunters with 23% of these emails being opened, and 30% for mobile devices overall.

Estate agents are failing to do the same for house-hunters as the property industry comes in at 16% for opens on smartphones and 25% on mobile devices overall.

Research showed that B2B is also struggling to adapt with only 16% of opens taking place on smartphones, and 23% on mobile devices overall. Similarly, only 17% of energy opens are on smartphones and 24% on mobile devices.

A Flutter at Work?

Jacks stressed that the research reveals some good news for employers, as people are avoiding using their work accounts to read about poker, betting and bingo. A total of 4% of gambling emails are opened on client email platforms, such as Outlook, compared to a massive 70% on browser-based email accounts like Gmail and Yahoo.

“To achieve the same cut-through on tablets and smartphones that is being achieved on computers, marketers need to adapt the content and format of messages to each device’s likely audience,” Jacks added.

“This is why we are seeing increasing investment in creative content and responsive design – which can achieve uplifts of up to 50% in open and click-through rates.”