Future of Email on Mobile

Episode #029: Chad White, Head of Research at the Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting

This is a special episode of Mobile Matters because we’re going back to the cutting room floor for this episode and sharing some great content from one of our previous episodes with the Head of Research at the Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting, Chad White. In this episode of Mobile Matters, we’re talking about having a mobile-first mentality on email and what the future of email marketing might look like.

If you’re interested in hearing more of Chad’s insights, visit emailmarketingrules.com, check out his latest book, or follow him on Twitter.

 

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Episode Transcription

Stephanie Cox: I’m Stephanie Cox and this is Mobile Matters. Happy Memorial Day everyone! Since it’s a holiday and most of you are probably on your way to a great picnic, I thought we have a shorter Mobile Matters episode this week. And that’s why I decided to go back to The Cutting Room floor to take a look at some of the great content that I couldn’t fit into a previous episode. When I had the chance to have Chad White on my show a couple of months ago, he shared a ton of great knowledge about email marketing and my conversation with him was so great and so long I actually couldn’t fit it all into a single episode. So I took another listen to all of the great stuff that didn’t make the cut the first time and pulled out some of it to share with you today. Take a listen to what Chad had to say about having a mobile-first mentality for email and what the future of email marketing might actually look like.

One of the things that’s been a really hot topic in like the digital world specifically around websites, is this idea of like a mobile-first mentality. Have you seen that apply to email design yet where people are thinking about mobile-first and desktop second when they’re designing emails? 

Chad White: Yeah, so there’s a whole spectrum of email design approaches. There are still some brands that are even appropriately desktop-centric. Some brands have a huge subscriber base that is just reading on desktop. And so, you should serve your subscriber base. And so, sometimes it still makes sense to be desktop-centric but like moving down the spectrum, you would have like a mobile aware design would be next. And that would be a single email design that would be deferential to smartphones, but would still look really good on smartphones. And then, from there you would have something, you get into the realm of responsive email designs. And there’s several flavors there, as well, including hybrid and fluid responsive. I won’t get too deep into that, but there’s a bunch of different strategies there. And then there’s, now there’s a little bit of a strategy that’s wrapping around the other end of that, where there are some brands that are almost entirely, their audiences are almost entirely on mobile devices. And people are starting to talk about having a mobile-only design or a mobile-first or however you want to term it, but it’s an email design, a single email design that’s not just deferential in the way that mobile aware was. But it was like just completely leaning into mobile, being mobile-centric in that single email design. And so, that that email experience on desktop is still OK, but like everything is it’s huge and there’s a little bit of a scroll wheeling you got to do to get through e-mail because it’s blown up real big. But it’s interesting to see how we’ve gone from this period of time when being mobile-friendly was all about using progressively more complicated e-mails designs. So, now we’re coming out the other side of that spectrum where it’s like oh well, let’s just boil it back down to something simple because our audience is 90 plus percent on mobile. So yeah, this is definitely a very rich spectrum of different kinds of strategies you can use that you need to match up with, not only your audience but what kind of capabilities you have in-house. 

Stephanie Cox: Last question. What is the future of email looks like and what impact do you think mobile, as it continues to evolve, will have on it? So, I guess the last two questions. 

Chad White: Yeah. The future of mobile is strong, for sure. And I think that this past holiday season, we saw that the gap between desktop conversions and mobile conversions has gotten pretty small. I don’t think they’ve quite reached parity, but like I remember when that gap was just huge. And we had this knuckleheaded discussion about how, oh, people don’t convert on mobile so, we don’t need to have mobile-friendly emails. And I think that what’s happened over the last several years is as proven what many of us were saying at that time, is that that gap exists because design and CX is lacking. Mobile design in CX is lacking. Back when that gap was pretty huge, Google had not dropped the hammer on brand saying you must to have responsive Web sites. And so, once Google did that, things got much better. So, you need to have a consistently mobile-friendly approach from email to the landing page to the Web site or to the mobile app or whatever your point of conversion is. So I think and now we have this you know this young segment of the population that mainly engages with the Internet via their mobile devices. And mobile devices are getting pretty big. Some of the screens are very sizable. So for some segment of the populace. Like mobile is the web and probably always will be for some of these people in the same way that we see that in Asia and in Africa. So, I think that’s a very strong trend for the mobile connection. Being from email to the web but that being very strong. I also think that probably one of the next pain points around mobile is going to be 4K displays. I know that Sony has at least one phone that has a 4K display and I hope that we don’t move too quickly towards 4K displays because people are still wrestling a little bit with retina displays. But I have a feeling that within the next few years, we are probably going to see more 4K displays and that’s going to have some pretty serious ramifications towards email design. The resolution of images that we put in those emails and what happens to load times, that’s going to be pretty significant. And then we, the last thing I would touch on, is voice assistants. Which are not only smart speakers but, obviously, our phones. All of our phones have Siri and other voice systems built into them as mobile phones start to get more and more integrated into the in-car experience. We’re gonna be using voice to interact with mobile devices, while we’re in vehicles. And that’s something definitely we should keep an eye on. 

Stephanie Cox:  I’m Stephanie Cox and you’ve been listening to Mobile Matters. If you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast. Until then be sure to visit Lumavate.com and subscribe to get more access to thought leaders, best practices, and all things mobile.