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32pc say mobile emails are too small to interact with: report

Retailers continue to struggle to adjust to the growing use of smartphones for reading emails as evidenced by 32 percent of recipients who say the messages are too small to interact with on mobile, according to a new report that is being released tomorrow.

New research conducted by The Relevancy Group found that 73 percent of consumers are using mobile phones to access email and 31 percent use it as their primary device. However, many do not like receiving email marketing messages on their phones for a variety of reasons while marketers themselves are failing to take advantage of opportunities to make mobile email a better experience, underscoring how mobile’s growth continues to be problematic for email marketers.

“Clearly, mobile users are sensitive to message frequency, so utilizing techniques that allow marketers to stay current without increasing frequency is important,” said Justin Foster, co-founder and vice president of market development at LiveClicker.

“Additionally, 32 percent of respondents complained that messaging for mobile was too small to read and interact with, so utilizing device-specific techniques such as responsive design and device detection should be at the forefront of how marketers approach mobile email,” he said.

LiveClicker sponsored the report, Exploring the Benefits of Real-Time Email.

Mobile inbox
The survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers found that 42 percent use their mobile phones to triage their inbox, deciding what to read or not later.

Among 27-to-38 year olds, 36 percent use their mobile phone as their primary email device.

Additionally, 44 percent feel they receive too many emails too often on their mobile phones, 37 percent say email messages on their phones are irrelevant and 32 percent say the messages are too small to interact with on mobile.

The reasons why recipients do not like mobile emails also include 26 percent who say it is hard to view a Web site on their phone when they click through an email, 21 percent who say messages are jumbled and not well formatted on their phones, 9 percent who would prefer to be messaged in the brand’s app and 9 percent who say email messages are redundant to what has already been pushed through to the brand’s app.

Relevant emails
In another survey of 250 enterprise and mid-marketers, the findings revealed that most are not using tactics that make email messages relevant to recipients’ context, something that is particularly important on mobile.

Such tactics include personalizing content based on location, time zone, weather, device type, inventory levels or loyalty rewards, with only between 16 percent and 37 percent of marketers implementing these tactics.

Recommended tactics include using device detection to target images to dynamically display offers within the email that are optimized to a subscriber’s specific device; use emails to drive app interaction by including app download buttons within emails that are specific to the subscriber’s device and use links within the email that directly trigger the app to open a more seamless cross-channel experience.

To make emails more relevant, marketers need to access customer data and begin to map out different offers for different types of circumstances that will happen in real-time. The goal should be to pair existing customer data with context in real-tome to increase the accuracy and relevancy of the offer.

Dynamic data
The next step is to provide personalization based on a recipient’s location, weather, temperature or device type, which requires marketers to have multiple sets of creative.

Retailers should also consider dynamically updating pricing, inventory and specific user information in real-time by tapping disparate data sources.

“The big news for marketers is that it’s now possible to tailor email messages to mobile devices in use, using data that’s only known at the moment of open,” Mr. Foster said.

“In the past, marketers would rely exclusively on responsive design techniques to optimize for mobile experiences in email, or try to pre-segment their list based on what devices had used in the past,” he said. “The results are error-prone and don’t adapt to a recipient’s real-time device context.

“With RealTime technology, for example, marketers can dynamically render device-specific app download buttons in email based on the device actually in use as the message is being read. Similarly, marketers can display or not display entire sets of creative based on mobile device in use.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York