We’ve been tracking email opens for more than 4 years. And it’s incredible to see how behaviors have changed over time. Mobile email was barely a blip on our radars in 2011, and made up just 8% of email opens. Fast forward to 2014, and nearly half of emails are opened on smartphones and tablets—a 500% increase in four years.
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.