Desktop or Mobile: Where Are Your Emails Converting?

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If you’ve been paying attention to the mobile revolution from a marketing point of view, you probably know that more emails are now opened on mobile devices than desktop.

While this is critical for your marketing, there are two questions that are much more important than where your emails are being opened:

  • Where are your subscribers actually reading your emails?
  • Where are conversions happening?

Movable Ink published a study conducted in Q2 2015 that can help us understand this. Let’s take a look…

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1) Email Opens

According to Movable Ink, 67.8% of all emails sent were opened on mobile in Q2 of 2015. That’s combining smartphones and tablets, but smartphones alone represent 52.05%.

email opens by device

67.8% of all emails sent in Q2 of 2015 were opened on mobile

This can’t be surprising to you, these numbers have been climbing steady for the last few years.

The good thing is, it has become fairly easy to create “mobile-friendly” campaigns. At this point, there is absolutely no reason for you to be sending emails that are not displaying correctly on all screens.

2) Email Engagement

Step 2 is, are they reading your email campaigns? And where?

In this case, engagement is measured by the time spent

  • 57.1% of Kindle Fire users spend 15+ seconds on emails
  • While desktop users spending more than 15 seconds are only 39.5%
  • And 42.2% of iPhone users spend 3 seconds or less

Email Read Length by Device

Could this be an indication that not all email campaigns are “mobile-friendly”?

You also have to consider that, when an email is opened on desktop, the subscriber is probably seating comfortably at her desk, maybe even enjoying a morning coffee, while an email opened on a mobile device can happen on the subway, an elevator or even in not so safe situations, where the attention span is clearly shorter.

3) Conversions

And this is where it gets interesting.

  • 52.57% conversions happen on desktops
  • While the best performing mobile device is iPhone, it only accounts for 18.7%

52.57% of email conversions still happen on desktop

I see 2 main reasons that can affect mobile conversions:

User Experience

As Movable Type points out in the study, the lower mobile conversions can be attributed to a user experience that is broken. While the email campaign has been optimized for mobile, the final destination is not.

If the landing page on the other side of your campaign doesn’t display correctly on the small screen, it’s all over.


I find that in many cases involving a higher price transaction, even when you’ve made the decision to buy, you don’t complete the transaction on your smartphone.

Last week I got new basketball shoes for my kid. We looked at different brands, styles, colors and sizes from different shops on my iPhone. We made a decision, and then… I put my phone away. I completed the purchase 2 hours later from my laptop.

If you ask me why I did that, the answer is I don’t know, I didn’t even think about it.

So, what’s the solution to all this?

There are 4 things to pay attention:

  • Are your email campaigns mobile-friendly? People have zero tolerance for this and it can cause deletes and even unsubscribes
  • If more emails are opened on mobile devices, that means subscribers are probably on the move, your campaigns should be designed for a shorter attention span
  • Consider user experience and the transition between the inbox and your final destination, whether it’s a landing page, an e-commerce site
  • Consider the user experience for your specific business or product, is this something people will purchase on a mobile device?

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