Email Is Eating Mobile

I’m goin’ home
And when I want to go home
I’m goin’ mobile
Well, I’m gonna find a home
And we’ll see how it feels
Goin’ mobile
Keep me movin’

– Pete Townshend, ‘Goin Mobile’ on Who’s Next?

There’s no doubt that when it comes to mobile computing, Millennials are way ahead of Gen X, and certainly ahead of Baby boomers like Pete Townshend. But while Millennials may be “mobile natives,” other age groups have been catching up and gaining ground.

In 2011, Marc Andreesen famously wrote that “software is eating the world.” At that time, it certainly was eating the world, and arguably it still is. Not satisfied with that explanation, Benedict Evans – also of Andreesen Horowitz – one-upped his managing partner with a seminal presentation that “mobile is eating the world” three years later.

There is a strong possibility that you are reading this on a mobile device. So if software is eating the world and mobile is eating the world, I’d like to take it one step further: “Email is eating mobile.”

Over the last several years, LiveIntent has been tracking the growth of email on mobile. It turns out, mobile email consumption growth is more astounding – and believable – than the Chinese stock market. From a sample size of more than 35 billion emails sent by more than 750 brands and publishers, we found that increasingly, email is majority consumed on mobile. The study counted 7.2 billion ad impressions overall, desktop and mobile/tablet combined. Of these impressions, 3.8 billion were served on smartphone or tablet. That’s more than half.

This trend is not new, nor is it isolated. Over the last four years, we have seen a steady rise in the percentage of email consumed on non-desktop devices.

2012: 24 percent Mobile
2013: 31 percent Mobile
2014: 45 percent Mobile
2015: 51 percent Mobile

This should not be surprising to anyone reading this. So what?

The mobile email takeaway for marketers is two-fold: First, it is imperative that if you are not designing for mobile-first, you should at least by designing your templates for responsive. Second, if you are not designing your landing pages for the smaller mobile screen – and hurried customer – you are going to miss a huge opportunity for higher transactional volume.

Our second finding may not be surprising, but it’s certainly more predictive of a mobile future: Millennials and Gen Xers have higher click-to-conversion rates on mobile than Baby boomers. These younger mobile natives have a 48.5 percent higher propensity to convert on mobile than the older generation.

Today, it is still commonly believed that people will see on mobile and transact on desktop. But that may not be true in the future. Millennials are converting at a 72 percent higher rate than boomers when transacting on mobile phones.

As mobile devices, and specifically smartphones, are adopted across a world that is eschewing the desktop – or even laptop – stage, it behooves marketers to focus on eliminating barriers to commerce on smartphones, the most personal device you own.

There may be a time in the near future when testing for Outlook becomes something that is skipped entirely. How soon is now?

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