Mastering Mobile Email: Part 2- Cross-Channel Integration

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

In our last post in the three-part “Mastering Mobile Email” series, we shared 5 tips for optimizing your email templates and designing for mobile. In today’s post, we highlight 5 creative ways to integrate mobile email with other channels:

Cross-Channel Integration
1.     Include a “click-to-call” button when appropriate. Don’t forget that smartphones are also actual phones! When it makes sense to use, a “click to call” button is a simple way to directly connect mobile email recipients to a customer service hotline or other important phone number.
2.     Social media sharing. Make it as easy as possible for readers to connect with your brand in social media by incorporating deep linking to social media mobile apps. Learn more about deep linking here. Try out social media deep linking for yourself by clicking the image in this post. If you’re reading this post on a mobile device, clicking the link will automatically detect whether or not you have the Twitter app installed, and if so, will launch the app with the pre-populated tweet ready-to-go.
3.     Deep link to your own mobile app. In addition to deep linking to social media apps, it’s also possible to deep link to your brand’s mobile app when it is detected as installed on a user’s mobile device. If the app is not detected, the user can automatically be linked to the appropriate mobile app download store, whether it’s Apple’s AppStore or Google’s Play. Learn more about how Seamless, the food delivery service, did this in this case study.
4.     Use barcodes to drive offline sales. Barcodes in emails help mobile consumers take advantage of coupons when in-store. Express does an excellent job of incorporating barcodes in mobile emails to encourage cross-channel conversions (see example).
5.     Add a real-time local map to drive in-store sales. Mobile customers are on-the-go, so make use of real-time geo-targeting to show mobile users the store locations closest to them. We love how Matrix used a local map to show subscribers where they could find Matrix products near them in a recent newsletter (see example).

Now that you’ve mastered mobile email design and cross-channel integration, check out these 5 tips on optimizing emails based on the real-time context of mobile users.

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Mastering Mobile Email: Part 1- Template and Design

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Mobile use can no longer be described as a consumer trend—it’s now a mainstay of modern media consumption. Email use on mobile devices is no exception, as we recently reported that over 69% of emails from leading B2C brands were opened on a smartphone or tablet.

However, the concept of “mobile optimization” represents much more than making your email fit a specific pixel width. In this “Mastering Mobile Email” three-part series, we’ll feature a total of 15 tips to help you fully optimize your mobile email campaigns. Let’s get started with 5 tips for making the most of your email template and design:

Template and Design
1.     Edit your content. Simplify your mobile template to include your highest-priority content. When it comes to mobile, less can mean more.
2.     Use a single-column layout. A single-column layout that stacks content vertically enables scrolling and avoids forcing your readers to zoom in and navigate around the email.
3.     Mobile-friendly fonts. Increase font sizes and place text on high-contrast backgrounds.
4.     Put primary calls-to-action “above-the-fold.” Follow a vertical hierarchy, and place your most important call-to-action above-the-fold – i.e., the part of the email template that is immediately viewable when opened on a mobile screen. For a one-stop guide to mobile screen sizes, check out this list from
5.     Think “all thumbs.” Enlarged buttons allow for easier click-through. Apple guidelines suggest using at least 44 x 44 pixels for any tappable elements. Incorporate ample white space between the elements of an email to help each piece stand out and make it easy to click-through on links. Bare Necessities does an excellent job of optimizing mobile call-to-action links (see example).

Ready for more mobile tips? Check out how to fully optimize your emails for the mobile inbox using cross-channel integration.

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Do You Live in a Smartphone State or Desktop State?

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Do you live in a smartphone state or desktop state? Some U.S. states have adopted smartphones more broadly than others – especially when it comes to the web’s most popular activity: checking email. While Texas leads the way with over 55% of emails opened on a smartphone, nearly 54% of consumers in Maine continue to choose desktop as the preferred device for checking email. On the whole, the majority of the East is trending toward smartphone use, whereas large states in the Central and Western parts of the country still trend towards desktops.

Hover over this interactive infographic to see the breakdown of device use for each state.

Click here to download the PDF version of this infographic and to see a summary of the Top 10 Smartphone States and Desktop States: Movable Ink- Infographic- Email Opens by State.

About the Map
The map is based on real-time email open data collected by Movable Ink’s Advanced Analytics platform between May 1 – 31, 2013. These data reflect aggregate statistics across Movable Ink’s customer base, which includes more than 100 enterprise B2C email marketers from the retail, travel, financial, media, and telecommunications industries. 

“Heavy” means that more than 50% of recipients in the state open email on a smartphone or desktop. “Leaning” means that fewer than 50% of recipients in the state open email on a smartphone or desktop, but that those devices are currently the most widely used in the state (e.g., if desktop had the highest percentage of opens when compared to smartphones and tablets, but not the combination of the two, the state is labeled as “Leaning desktop.”)

Because determining email opens requires images to load, the percentages for some device-types might be over or underrepresented. Video Highlights Movable Ink’s Impact on Agile Marketing

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Delivering the right message, to the right person, in the right place, at the right time is no longer a “nice-to-have.” This video by (view above, or click here to read more on highlights three entrepreneurs that are making this mission achievable for marketers, including our own Co-Founder and CEO, Vivek Sharma. Here, Vivek explains how Movable Ink’s agile email marketing platform makes it not only possible, but easy, for marketers to build highly relevant campaigns that are more engaging to consumers.

Want to learn more? Check out our Platform page, or download “The Inkredible Five” to see examples of agile email marketing in action from five leading consumer brands.

Is Mobile the Trojan Horse of Social-Email Integration?

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Display images to show real-time content

There has been plenty of discourse on “mobile-email” and “social-email” integration, but are marketers taking full advantage of the opportunity to tightly integrate all three?

As our infographic from March 2013 revealed, as many as 69% of B2C enterprise email marketing campaigns are viewed on smartphones or tablets, with desktop representing just 31% of total opens. In addition, recent research from Forrester forecasts that by 2018, the number of U.S. social media users accessing Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn on mobile devices will exceed 200 million (to put that number in perspective, the total U.S. population is currently about 315 million). Forrester also noted that the share of time spent on mobile social networking apps continues to increase, and social media apps are among the top apps that smartphone users use.

So how can marketers make all three of these popular digital channels—mobile, social, and email—integrate more seamlessly? 

Forward-thinking email marketers are doing this by deep linking to mobile apps. We covered deep linking last month (check out the blog post: “Deep Linking in Email Marketing: How it Works, and Why it Rocks!”), and shared a few examples of how brands like Comedy Central, Seamless, and American Eagle Outfitters have used deep linking to promote downloads and usage of their brand’s own mobile apps in email campaigns, and have seen great results.

But the macro-trends point to another, major untapped opportunity: Deep linking in email to native-installed social media apps that are ubiquitous on most users’ mobile devices—like Facebook and Twitter. The chances of these apps being on your users’ phones is greater than your own mobile app being installed, after all.

How it works: A mobile email user can click on the Facebook icon next to your logo, and be brought directly to your company’s page inside his or her installed Facebook mobile app, as opposed to prompting to open in their mobile browser. Yet, if they opened the same exact email on a desktop, would open. Movable Ink’s technology can detect the open device and check for mobile app installs all within milliseconds, allowing for an optimal user experience.

Twitter stands out as a unique social media use case for deep-linking. We’ve helped leading consumer brands enable pre-populated tweets in email by using deep-linking to the Twitter app. For example, an email recipient can “click to tweet” and if on a mobile device, their Twitter app will open with a pre-populated tweet of the marketer’s choosing. If the recipient opens the same email on a desktop, is loaded with the same pre-populated tweet ready to send out. Customers can more easily engage with brands on Twitter, and marketers can prompt consumers to share specific language, links, or hashtags.

We’re excited about the ability to deep link to social media apps on mobile, and see this innovation as a game changer for marketers who are hoping to integrate their digital channels. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or reach out to us at with any questions or thoughts.

Reactions to our “Shock Study”: Mobile Opens & the Android Surge

Friday, April 26th, 2013


Earlier this week, a new study from Movable Ink was featured in The Magill Report, “Shock Study Reveals 69 Percent Email Opens on Mobile.” Here’s the link to the article, and here’s the link to our original study and infographics.

As we mentioned in our interview with The Magill Report – other companies have reported on mobile opens before, but our numbers reflect a special data given our enterprise B2C marketer focus (others’ reports haven’t necessarily broken out B2B vs. B2C or enterprise vs. SMB). We’d also characterize our dataset as heavily drawn from very well known and trusted retail and apparel brands, with consumer financial, travel, media, and telco brands included in the mix.

A lot of things stood out to us when looking at the numbers, but one thing that stood out the most which wasn’t a focus in the article was how high Android smartphones showed up: almost 24% of total opens. Recipients have to proactively enable images in most, if not all, Android smartphone email clients—as opposed to iOS, which loads images by default—which has historically resulted in Android opens being dwarfed by iOS, not under by the mere net 10% we found in our March 2013 study.

To get to the bottom of this, we asked some of the email marketing industry’s best and brightest minds to share their thoughts on why our Android smartphone numbers were so strong.  Below is a round up of what they said.

Manny Ju, Director of Product Management, BlueHornet

“I’ve never believed that the primary role of reading emails on smartphones was to triage them. How did people triage their emails before smartphones were invented? By reading the subject lines. Do people suddenly overnight change their email reading habits of the past ten years just because they bought a smartphone? No; people triage their emails the way they always have been even before smartphones. People do use their smartphones to read emails and use it as their primary email reading device. Glad to see that more studies such as those from Knotice, ReturnPath and now Movable Ink are dispelling that urban myth.”

Anna Yeaman, Creative Director, StyleCampaign:

“I’d planned to email you to get your take on the Android numbers. I don’t doubt them or the ~70% findings especially for enterprise B2C, we’ve many clients over 50% and I just did some work for a client with 71% mobile. 

Are users more likely to enable images from enterprise retailers – giving you more accurate Droid stats – as there’s so little HTML text so it’s enable or get nothing? Also the dynamic nature of the content might play a small role, in that designers made a bigger effort to get users to enable images or users have come to anticipate the dynamic content.

As you mentioned Galaxy S3 is going head to head with the iPhone (as is the HTC One X amongst my dev friends) so this brings more affluent – possibly female – shoppers to Android (not just techies and people looking for a cheap phone).”

Jay Jhun, Vice President of Strategic Services, BrightWave Marketing:

“With so many people reading email on smartphones, I’m wondering whether people using Gmail for Android are finally getting tired of tapping the ‘Show Pictures’ or ‘Display Images’ for every email that they open.  Each tap is becoming more valuable as people spend more time using their smartphones.

There’s also a select few retailers who’ve included a snippet of dynamic content for their gmail domain audience where recipients are encouraged to ‘star’ the email whereby the images come on by default.”


George DiGuido, Head of Email Marketing, Airbnb:

George asked, “Are these international mailers or primarily US domestic? I can tell you that our numbers vary pretty drastically when comparing countries against one another.”

George made a great point – and we would expect that smartphone vs. tablet vs. desktop email breakdowns will vary based on geography.The dataset in our March 2013 study was mostly composed of US-based (and focused) companies, with a handful of big brands based in the UK and EMEA.

Tom Sather, Director of Professional Services, ReturnPath:

Tom chimed in to echo George’s perspective: “When we looked at opens by region, we saw great variances across countries. Brazil, for example, overwhelmingly opens email through webmail and desktop, but only 14% do so on mobile, see:

“It also varies greatly by industry (which we have broken out in the above infographic). We actually found similar results to Movable Ink when it came to B2C, specifically retailers. Where over half of subscribers check email on mobile, and in our last report on the holiday period, we saw mobile opens at about 60% for the top 100 retailers: It doesn’t surprise me that the number is higher now considering more people probably received iPad Minis and iPhone 5s under the tree for Christmas.”

Tim Watson, Founder, Zettasphere:

“The default images-on for iOS skews open figures higher. I did some analysis of clicks by mobile device to remove the default images on/off question with opens. Android was under-represented in terms of opens based on the click analysis.”

We don’t doubt Tim’s findings, but would be interested to learn more about the dataset that he analyzed and what his findings were in terms of how many users actually clicked through on messages when images weren’t loaded.

Infographic: Email Opens, March 2013

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013


Charts are based on data collected by Movable Ink’s Advanced Analytics platform between March 1 – 31, 2013. They reflect aggregate statistics across Movable Ink’s customer base, which includes more than 100 enterprise B2C marketers from the retail, travel, financial, media, and telecommunications industries.

Because determining email opens requires images to load, the percentages for some device-types and platforms might be over or underrepresented.

For additional coverage of this data, read The Magill Report’s interview with our vice president of marketing, Jordan Cohen, “Shock Study Reveals 69 Percent Email Opens on Mobile.”

Deep Linking in Email Marketing: How it Works, and Why it Rocks!

Monday, April 8th, 2013

We were excited to hear that Twitter unveiled new “Twitter Card” types at its latest developer conference last week. These cards enable “deeper linking and engagement into other apps you may have on your phone.”

According to a post on Twitter’s blog:

“One of the most important features in the new Cards is the ability to allow users to download your app (if the user doesn’t already have it installed), or deep-link into your own app (if the app is already installed on the user’s mobile device). The ability to enable app installs and deep-linking is globally available across all Twitter Card types…”

The beauty of deep linking is that it eliminates extra clicks, brings content closer to consumers, and enables people to more easily take the actions they intend on taking. This eliminates friction from the process of taking action (for example, launching and using a mobile app), resulting in more people actually taking the action that you’d like them to.

We’ve been a big fan of deep linking at Movable Ink for a long time now, and proudly offer it as a core feature of our Agile Email Marketing platform.  Below, Movable Ink’s Co-Founder and CTO Michael Nutt explains how the technology works:

“Deep linking in email works like so: When you create an app and submit it to the app store, you can register what are called “protocol handlers” that are name spaced to your company, for example Facebook’s is fb://.  Anytime someone clicks on a URL using the protocol handler and they have your app installed, the app will open and receive instructions within the URL to launch a specific action – for example, opening a Facebook message composer with a pre-written note. However, if someone clicks on the URL and your app is NOT installed, they will receive an error message indicating that there are no registered handlers for that protocol.

Movable Ink enables deep linking in email while avoiding the error-message problem using an iframe technique in a web page. When an email link is clicked, a web page is loaded, and the iframe’s source is set to the protocol handler URL. If the app is already installed, it launches immediately. If the app is not installed, the click – rather than returning an error message – automatically directs the user to download the app. Failing both those conditions, a timer will trigger after half a second in order to seamlessly redirect the user to a mobile web page.  This creates an optimal user experience across all possible situations.”

Here are some recent examples of emails that leveraged device detection with deep linking from Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” Seamless (the food delivery experts), and American Eagle Outfitters.   You can also read a case study about Seamless’s use of deep linking to increase app downloads by 50% and food delivery orders by 90% here:

If you’d like to learn more about deep linking in email, give us a shout!

ISP Support for Video-in-Email

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Here’s a chart showing major ISPs/email clients and their support-level for video-in-email — from full “true” video, to animated gifs that closely mimic video, to static images with play buttons that launch video players in a web browser when clicked.

The chart is accurate as of its posting date (January 29, 2013) — we’ll make updates as the highly fluid ISP landscape continues to evolve.