Email clickthrough rates in North America slipping, fell below 5% for first time in Q1, due to increase in volumes; 88% of mobile phone users check email via handheld device, yet many marketers have not optimized messaging for mobile: eMarketer

NEW YORK , August 20, 2012 (press release) – 88% of mobile phone users check their email via a handheld device daily

Though email increasingly competes with other digital channels for consumers’ time and attention, a new eMarketer report finds it continues to be an effective tool for marketers. Mobile and smartphone users are providing new opportunities for marketers as more people use handheld devices to check email.

The new report, “Email Marketing Benchmarks: Key Data, Trends and Metrics” analyzes findings from dozens of third-party research providers and interviews with industry executives, answering key questions about the opportunities and challenges email marketing presents, including:

What are the latest email marketing benchmarks for common metrics such as open rate and clickthrough rate?
How are mobile devices affecting email marketing?
How are email marketers using mobile optimization, data and other marketing channels in combination with their email marketing programs?

Email open rates in North America have risen in recent quarters, but clickthrough rates (CTR) have been slipping. Data from Epsilon and Email Experience Council for the last two years showed clickthroughs fell below 5% for the first time in the first quarter of 2012.

Email Marketing Performance Metrics in North America, Q1 2010-Q1 2012

The low clickthrough rates can be attributed to an overall increase in email volume, according to Epsilon. To combat the flooding of inboxes, marketers are increasingly looking to mobile.

Email technology provider Return Path found 88% of mobile phone users checked their email via a handheld device daily, and 36% of emails worldwide were opened using a mobile device according to software company Litmus. Yet many marketers haven’t moved to optimize their messaging for mobile. StrongMail found that just 22% of marketers surveyed worldwide were using mobile-optimized templates, also as of April.

“Marketers that are diving into mobile email optimization have different goals and, as a result, their efforts represent different levels of ambition and complexity,” said eMarketer. “However, given the wide variety of mobile devices, some marketers are taking a more advanced approach to mobile email optimization by designing communications for each unique mobile experience.”

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