New Research Shows Mobile Dominates Desktops with 65% of Total Email Opens in Q4 2013

Movable Ink US Consumer Device Preference Report Q4 2013Americans are ditching desktops, viewing marketing emails on their smartphones and tablets more than ever, according to Movable Ink’s latest research, the US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q4 2013. The data reveals that 65% of marketing emails were opened on a smartphone or tablet in the fourth quarter, up four percentage points from the previous quarter, while desktop opens slowed to a new low of 35%, down from 39% in the previous quarter.

The report provides deep insight into the popularity of various devices, examines differences in consumer engagement based on the devices they use, and shows how device preferences vary across the nation. This quarter’s report also include an exclusive look at device usage over the course of the critical 2013 holiday shopping season. Unlike other studies, this data set exclusively includes results from large, enterprise B2C marketers.

Key findings include:

  • Movable Ink Agile Email Marketing research mobile opensNearly two-thirds of all email opens took place on mobile devices. 65% of emails were opened on either
 a smartphone or tablet device, up from 61% in Q3 2013. Desktop accounted for just 35% of email opens, a decline from 39% in the previous quarter.
  • Tablet popularity continued to grow. Over 16% of emails were opened on a tablet, up from 15% in Q3 2013, and slightly under 14% in Q2 2013. Although Android tablets comprise only 1.8% of total email opens, this figure was twice as high as the previous quarter when they accounted for .9% of total email opens.
  • Android gained market share. Consistent with Q3, Apple smartphones and tablets accounted for 50% of total email opens. But Android smartphones and tablets represented 14% of all email opens, up from 10% in the previous quarter.
  • iPhone users spent the most time viewing emails. 38% of iPhone users spent 15 seconds or more viewing each message. Android smartphone users came in at a close second, with 35% spending 15 seconds or more viewing an email.
  • This is the first time that no US states were “heavy” desktop users. Texas remained the most smartphone friendly state, now with over 57% of emails opened on a smartphone (up from 53% last quarter). Although Maine and Vermont maintained their positions as the top two states for desktop use, the percentage of total emails opened on desktops in these states declined to under 50%, as smartphone popularity continued to spread across the nation.
  • Thanksgiving was the biggest day for smartphone use over the holiday season, whereas Cyber Monday was the biggest day for desktops. On Thanksgiving, nearly 60% of marketing email opens occurred on smartphones. While still beat by smartphone opens (45.5%), Cyber Monday showed the strongest showing for desktops, with 40% of all marketing email opens.

“This quarter’s report shows that we are in the midst of a mobile takeover,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Movable Ink. “In the new year, we expect marketers to continue to place high priority on mobile optimization which will allow them to better engage consumers who are on-the-go with relevant, real-time offers.”

Download the free report here to access all of our findings and analysis.

Movable Ink Strengthens Technology Portfolio and Development Team with Acquisitions of Mailrox and Eastmedia

Movable Ink acquires Mailrox and EastmediaWe’re excited to announce our recent acquisitions of technology company, Mailrox, and the digital product studio, Eastmedia. The acquisitions were completed as two separate transactions in the fourth quarter of 2013 and serve to bolster Movable Ink’s technology portfolio and development team.

Mailrox, which allows marketers to easily turn graphic designs into email marketing messages, will be added to Movable Ink’s powerful portfolio of agile email marketing solutions. The London-based company was launched in 2011 and is used by marketers around the globe to quickly create HTML emails in an intuitive, cost-effective and streamlined manner.

“Thousands of email marketers, designers, agencies, and developers have already used Mailrox to spend less time coding and more time being creative, and we are thrilled to add this simple but powerful technology to our portfolio,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Movable Ink.

Eastmedia is a digital product studio with strong focus on user experience design and product development. The company, which was founded in 1999, has worked with leading brands including Dish Networks, ESPN and LinkedIn.

“Eastmedia is one of the best software design and development studios in New York City,” Sharma continued. “Having this incredibly talented team of developers on board adds velocity and creativity to our product development efforts, positioning our company for further growth and innovation.”

Full press release is available here. Welcome to the Movable Ink family, Mailrox and Eastmedia!

Movable Ink Moved! The Top 10 Things We Love About Our New Space

The Movable Ink team is starting the new year off fresh! This past week, we moved into our beautiful, brand new office at 636 Avenue of the Americas. We couldn’t be happier to call this space home, and we’re even more excited about the rapid growth of our company that required the move.

Movable Ink kicked off last year with a team of 17, and grew over 160% to finish out 2013 with a roster of 45 “Inkers.” If those numbers alone weren’t enough to suggest our need for a bigger space, this shot of our Director of Inside Sales, Cameron, taking a call in the printer room during the last day in our old office definitely drives the point home…

Movable Ink new office

We’re in love with our new office, and here are our top 10 reasons why:

1.    Conference rooms for everyone!
Cameron and the rest of the Inkers can now rejoice—with eight total conference rooms, taking calls in the printer room is a thing of the past.

Movable Ink new office conference room

2.    So many new ways to work.
Working on your posture? Swap out your chair for an exercise ball. Quick one-on-one meeting? Snag a pair of comfy swivel chairs. Need to stretch your legs? Head over to a stand-up desk or grab a raised laptop stand. With so many flexible, new ways to get our work done, we’re officially putting the “agile” in Agile Email Marketing.

Movable Ink new office ways to work

3.    The kitchen.
Funky lamps. Bright tile. Double microwaves. Fully stocked fridge. Beer on tap. Lots of seating. Need we say more?

Movable Ink new office kitchen

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The Inkredible Five, Winter 2014: Five Exceptional Examples of Agile Email Marketing

The Inkredible Five Agile Email Marketing Examples

The Inkredible Five Agile Email Marketing Look BookEach season, the Movable Ink team honors five innovative brands for creating agile email marketing campaigns that stood out in the inbox.

The Winter 2014 edition of The Inkredible Five highlights our five favorite emails of the past season that incorporate time-sensitive offers, real-time social media feeds, live geo-targeting, video, and image personalization to create eye-catching and relevant campaigns.

Find out how leading brands cut through the clutter during major holiday shopping events including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the final days before Christmas.

Ready to be inspired? Download the e-book.

Off Topic: Oracle Acquires Responsys

Oracke at Delphi

Earlier today, Oracle announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire Responsys in a deal worth nearly $1.5 billion.  Predictably — no pun intended (maybe) — this set off some classic Movable Ink geek banter:

  • Vivek Sharma, CEO: I called it! http://www.cnbc.com/id/101289244
  • Jordan Cohen, VP of Marketing: It took an Oracle to call that one.
  • Vince PeGan, Sr. Account Manager: Great Responsys, Jordan!
  • Adam Stambleck, VP of Client Experience: Seeing the news this morning, put a big Springer in my step.
  • Vivek Sharma: I have been gifted with ESP to make calls like that.

Huge congrats to our friends at Responsys!

-The Movable Ink Team

Let’s Make This Holiday Season Inkredible: Help Movable Ink Support Meals on Wheels

Movable Ink Wishing You an Inkredible Holiday Season

Together, we can make an impact this season. For every tweet shared using the button below, Movable Ink will donate $1 to Meals on Wheels to help bring warm meals to those in need for the holidays.

Click below to help us reach our $500 goal, and check back on this post to see our real-time progress. Thank you for your support, and Happy Holidays!

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Our email subscribers are checking our fundraising progress in real-time in their inboxes.
Subscribe to our newsletter list to stay in touch and see future Movable Ink magic!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Back to the Future: Gmail Turns on Images in Email

Gmail_ImagesOn

UPDATE: Since this post was originally published, real-time content and re-open tracking have returned to Gmail. Learn more in our latest post on how Gmail handles images.

If you’ve been an email marketer (or user) long enough, you might remember a time when you didn’t have to “click here to display images” in order to see images inside of an email. Several large email services began suppressing images by default in the mid 2000s as part of their efforts to protect users from the rampant, uncontrollable messaging abuse that was taking place back then.

Images in email were a primary mechanism for not only confirming live email addresses to spammers, but also for delivering fraudulent phishing emails and dropping viruses and other types of malicious code on users’ desktops. Anti-spam technology has come a long way since those dark days, and today most consumers rarely, if ever, see unwanted and harmful messages in their inbox.

Last Thursday, December 12, Google’s Gmail email service clarified the reasoning behind its recent image handling changes and announced that going forward, all images will be displayed by default in the Gmail inbox. Gmail openers will now immediately see your email with on-brand creative, offers, and clear calls to action. If you are using agile email marketing technology to personalize emails at the moment of open, then you’ve just been given a much greater opportunity to make the sale.

Auto-enabled images provide a better consumer email experience, and are an opportunity for marketers to present more relevant offers. The majority of what Movable Ink offers still works on Gmail (web crops, countdown timers, creative optimization, video) while others (geo-targeting, weather targeting) will work when passing in the location data you have on file. Device targeting is the one real lost opportunity on Gmail, although if Gmail continues to innovate and decides to support media queries, this could change.

Auto-enabling images will give agile email marketers a better opportunity to deliver creative, memorable, and engaging campaigns that stand out in the inbox, and in turn drive increased customer loyalty and conversions. The increase in the number of opens we can expect to see at Gmail is a net positive and, in the long run, a win for both marketers and their customers.

Texas is the Most Smartphone Friendly State: WFAA-TV Dallas/Fort Worth Broadcast Report

 

Texas is the most smartphone friendly state in the country, with over 53% of marketing emails opened on smartphones. WFAA-TV, the ABC affiliate station for the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, recently shared these findings from our US Consumer Device Preference Report, Q3 2013 in the above TV broadcast.

Do you live in a smartphone state or a desktop state? The chart below gives a look at the top 5 states for smartphone and desktop use, based on the percentage of email opens per device. Download the full report to see a detailed breakdown by state, as well as more device use findings based on Movable Ink’s aggregate email open data from over 100 enterprise B2C brands.

Email Opens by US State Movable Ink Q3 2013

Gmail’s Recent Image Handling Changes

Gmail image caching changes

UPDATE: Since this post was originally published, real-time content and re-open tracking have returned to Gmail. Learn more in our latest post on how Gmail handles images.

Last week, Gmail implemented changes that impact the way the email service renders images that will impact real-time content for a segment of Gmail users.

Below, we hope to clarify the Gmail changes, summarize their impact, and share what actions Movable Ink has taken and is continuing to pursue to address any concerns.

1. What changes were made in Gmail, and what is the impact to Movable Ink?
Traditionally, when a recipient views an email, images are downloaded from the server that hosts the images. This allows information to be communicated back to the image’s host source—such as the user’s current location, device, and time of day.

a.) Gmail is now requesting all images from proxy servers (googleusercontent.com), which incorrectly situates users in its headquarters in Mountain View, California when images are downloaded. This impacts the ability to geo-target image content for those Gmail users who are affected by the changes. (Note: Local Maps using zip codes appended as query parameters are unaffected.)

b.) Gmail is stripping the user-agent headers from the client request, which eliminates the ability to determine the Gmail user’s device and target image content appropriately.

c.) Gmail is removing the cache-control headers from the responses, which forces the user’s images to be stored in their browser’s cache for up to a day. This only impacts live image content if a Gmail user re-opens the email after the first open.

In summary, a limited set of Movable Ink features will not work within a segment of Gmail accounts and, in those cases, will be replaced with default content.

2. What email users are affected by the changes? How big is the impact to my list?
After analyzing our data since the changes were implemented late last week, 2% – 5% of the average enterprise B2C email marketer’s subscriber list is affected by Gmail’s changes, since they only affect recipients that open emails through the Gmail.com desktop client, the Android Gmail app, and the iOS Gmail app.

Not all Gmail users are impacted.

The changes have no impact on Gmail users who access their accounts through Mac Mail, the native Mail app on iOS devices, non-Gmail Android apps, non-Gmail Windows apps, Gmail via Outlook, etc. Additionally, all email domains that are not @gmail.com are not impacted. (Update: As of 12/12, Gmail has rolled out the changes to custom domains as well.)

More Gmail recipients open email on iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) than through any other email service — including web-based Gmail itself, which greatly mitigates the impact of the changes, and is the reason why they only affect 2% – 5% of most email marketers’ subscribers.

Below is a summary of who is affected by the changes:

Gmail Image Caching Impact

3. How is Movable Ink responding to the affected features?
a.) Geo-targeting: We have made it possible for marketers to show default content to users that have images hosted within the Gmail proxy domain. This eliminates any concerns about displaying incorrectly geo-targeted content when a user is falsely identified as being in Mountain View, California.

b.) Device targeting: If a user’s device cannot be detected for any reason, a default version of an email will be rendered and is configurable within the Movable Ink dashboard.

c.) All other real-time content: Other types of real-time content such as countdown timers, social feeds, web crops, and video will appear as intended on the first open of an email. Subsequent opens from an individual recipient will display the original image due to Google’s caching which can last for up to a day.

Our team is in contact with representatives at Google to recommend and discuss alternatives to last week’s changes. We will be sure to share updates as we have more information. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.

Movable Ink Names Ali Byrd Chief Financial Officer

Ali Byrd CFO Movable Ink

We recently announced the appointment of finance and technology industry veteran, Ali Byrd, as our Chief Financial Officer. In this role, Byrd will assume a key position in the overall management of the company, leading finance and strategic planning efforts and managing investor relationships.

“With more than 100 major brands on our client roster and a headcount that has tripled in the past year, our company is growing at an incredible pace,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Movable Ink. “Ali brings a balance of finance, technology and business development experience to our executive team, and will be an invaluable resource as we continue to revolutionize the email marketing space and grow as a company.”

Mr. Byrd has nearly 20 years of experience in technology, corporate development and finance. Prior to joining Movable Ink, Byrd served as Senior Vice President at SecondMarket, where he was responsible for the origination and execution of secondary transactions in the U.S. and Europe. Previous to his role at SecondMarket, Byrd was a Vice President at LimeWire, where he drove monetization of the company’s user base and helped lead the company’s expansion into the paid digital music market. Earlier in his career, Byrd was an investment banker at Lehman Brothers and before that, he spent nearly a decade at Microsoft.

“I believe that Movable Ink’s technology is unmatched in the marketplace, and as brands continue to seek new ways to break through the inbox clutter, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us,” said Byrd. “I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this team, and to help this innovative company continue to grow.”

View the full press release here. Welcome to the team, Ali!