Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tracking Mobile Responders

I work for an interactive marketing service provider. We provide both software-as-a-service as well as strategic marketing and creative services. Not too long ago, the email marketing manager from one of our clients, a well-known retail brand, asked me about optimizing mobile emails for Blackberries. "Why Blackberries," I asked her. Apparently the corporate bosses thought it would be cool to see the emails they are sending to their subscribers within their own mobile devices.

Recently we began tracking the responses from our clients' email subscribers in a new way. Using open source information that we subsequently improved upon, we are able to identify the email clients that subscribers use at the time of opening an HTML-formatted email or when clicking a link within the email. Knowing the email client with a certain degree of confidence gives us insight into the percentage of email responders that are doing so from their mobile devices. We also know the manufacturer of these mobile devices.

In my recent data analysis, out of a total of 67 million individuals, about 1% of the subscribers are viewing their emails on a mobile device. Out of the 60 known mobile device manufacturers that we currently know about, more than 80% of the mobile responders use either an iPhone(43%), Blackberry(25%), or SonyEricsson(15%).

Mobile responders being only 1% of our population of email recipients may seem like the bottom news story of the day. But over half a million people should not be ignored - both in terms of their actions and their type of mobile device.

So, to finish up the story that I began this blog with, I advised our client that though the corporate bosses were using their corporate mobile devices, their subscribers were not. In fact, subscribers viewing this brand's emails on iPhones outnumbered the Blackberry viewers by a margin of more than two to one. My recommendation: optimize mobile emails for the device that the majority of their mobile responders were using - in this case, the iPhone.

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