In December, Google announced that images in emails will now show automatically. We’ve kept a close eye on the increased open counts in Gmail—automatic image downloads have given us a unique opportunity to examine the impact that image blocking has had on email marketing for years. What we’ve learned is fascinating, and unveils a critical metric unknown to email designers before now.
Mobile Gmail apps for both Android and iOS download images automatically and serve them via Google’s caching service. As users update to the new mobile Gmail apps, we’re seeing image caching affect mobile open rates, specifically opens made with the Gmail app on Android. As Gmail open rates rise, there has been a corresponding drop in Android opens. Since January, Android opens have dropped 34%—now representing 8% of opens.
February market share saw continued changes to mobile and webmail stats as Gmail continues to upset previous trends. Mobile opens decreased from 49% to 48%—a position that they haven’t seen since October.
The new year has brought plenty of new changes to email client market share. In January, we saw continued impact to Gmail open rates, a drop for Android and mobile return to pre-holiday rates.
Predicting how emails will render on smartphones and tablets can get complicated because there are so many factors involved. Differences between device manufacturers, operating systems, screen sizes and email applications can all impact how your email will render on a mobile device. Just in case desktop and webmail rendering weren’t already giving you enough trouble (we’re looking at you, Outlook), the popularity of mobile has only added fuel to the fire.
After meeting (and exceeding!) the 50% tipping point in November, mobile opens maintained their majority share through December. For the first time since May 2012, webmail opens netted an increase—moving from 18% to 20% of opens. Meanwhile, desktop opens decreased from 31% to 29%. Earlier in December, Gmail shook things up with big announcements which contributed to another major change in email client market share.
Six months after Gmail’s tabbed inbox was announced, opens have continued to decline. The effect of this decrease was seen in our top ten for October, as Gmail moved down a notch to the #9 spot in the top ten. Overall, Gmail opens are down a full percentage point since May, or a 27% change.
Triggered and transactional emails don’t tend to get as much love, despite having a significantly higher rate of return. Part of the reason for this is that these dynamic emails are generally created by developers, who only seldom create such emails, and don’t know what tools they have available to them, let alone a defined workflow for developing triggered emails. Luckily, the developers at Litmus have been on both sides of the coin — we have developed tools for creating triggered emails, as well as the emails themselves, and we are excited to share our workflow with you!
Designing emails is hard. In part one of a three-part series, we explored how webmail clients render emails, what you should focus on to make designing and coding for these web-based clients a bit easier, and why preprocessors are (usually!) the enemy. In part two, we’ll focus on desktop clients.
Due to the wide variety of desktop, webmail, and mobile clients—not to mention browsers, mobile apps, rendering engines, and other factors—emails don’t always appear the same in every client. So why do email clients render emails differently?