Gmail Opens Increase 243%; Android Drops Back to #4

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The new year has brought plenty of new changes to email client market share. In January, Gmail jumped from #6 to #5 and now represents 10% of total opens. After two consecutive months at #4, iPad took back the reigns to reclaim Android’s #3 spot.

With mobile market share at 51% through November and December, we saw a dip in January—mobile now represents 49% of total opens. Desktop also saw a similar dip, dropping to 27% of total opens. After months of steady decline, webmail opens have been on the rise recently and currently make up 24% of opens—a level that we haven’t seen since April 2013.

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We mostly have Gmail to thank for the recently instability of webmail open rates. First, the introduction of tabs brought an accelerated decline in Gmail opens, only to reverse course and make gains after the announcement that images would be downloaded automatically.

With images now on for every Gmail message, opens have increased 243% since November. Compared to other webmail opens, Gmail is the clear leader with nearly 40% of webmail opens. Yahoo!, which also enables images automatically, sees almost half that number.

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If we compare webmail open rates with and without Gmail factored in, the steady decline we witnessed for most of 2013 remains intact. Technical challenges in measuring open rates aside, webmail still appears to be in a bit of a recession.

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We’ve heard reports of issues with images not loading in Gmail, and also experienced this issue firsthand. Unfortunately, there’s no known cause or solution to this problem, and it seems to affect emails at random. My assumption is that Google is still working the kinks out of their image caching service, and perhaps weren’t fully prepared to scale to meet demand. Your best course of action is to continue utilizing safeguards for broken images—using bulletproof buttons, background colors and live text.

You’ll want to be sure to watch through to the end to catch a special guest presentation.

As always, keep in mind that some email clients may be over- or under-reported due to automatic enablement of images and/or image blocking. Tracking trends over time is the best way to monitor open data for email!