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Email Design and Platform Trends

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Emails are becoming increasingly active, with the use of animation, scrolling, and video more than doubling from 2012 to 2013, according to a recent report from Experian Marketing Services.

The use of animated GIFs, in particular, has spiked significantly, with 74% of marketers saying they have experimented with including them in emails. Other popular active features include responsive mobile design (33% have used), movable ink (27%), video (26%), and horizontal or multi-directional scroll (26%).

Below, additional insights from the 2014 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report, which summarizes key findings from previous Experian studies.

Customer Data and Preferences

  • Only 35% of marketers ask customers how often they would like to be emailed.
  • 60% of marketers do not give customers the option to select the types of emails they want to receive.
  • In 2013, 18% more marketers collected the birth date of customers than in 2012, and 16% more collected ZIP Codes.

Platform Trends

  • Half of all unique email opens now occur on a mobile device. Webmail and desktop are tied as the second most popular devices/platforms for opening email, each with 23% of opens.
  • Mobile also leads in click rates (39%), though webmail is close behind (35%).
  • However, the largest number of transactions triggered by email still comes from webmail (48%), followed by desktop (25%).

  • The iPhone is the most commonly used mobile device for email opens and clicks. Android phones are third for opens and transactions, but second for clicks.
  • The iPad garners the most transactions from emails of any mobile device.

About the research: The 2014 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report was based on data from previous Experian studies.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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Comments

  • by Scott Bussert Mon Mar 24, 2014 via web

    74% use an animated GIF... that's surprising. We don't see any measurable request for that feature. We even see client shying away from it, but heavily asking for embedded links to Video. Interesting...

  • by Doron Tue Mar 25, 2014 via web

    I'm not sure I can trust these numbers.
    Let's look at the mobile opens and clicks: In the full Experian report it shows that Android holds 50% of the smartphone market whereas iOS (iPhones) holds less than 35%. Also, it is noted in the full report that the email apps are being used on 97% of all smartphones. So how can it be that iOS users open their email 5 times more than Android users?
    Animated GIFs? We hardly see them. So how come 74% of the marketers is using them?
    Videos? I can understand these numbers if it meant a link to a web page with the video. Embedded video can be blocked by ISPs.

  • by Kimmy Burgess Wed Mar 26, 2014 via web

    I do not agree with that. They seem exaggerated. iPhone does not have that much credibility. iPad is still OK. 50% plus users use Android smartphones. Not to mention that Windows has just kicked in. Most times, attached images are blocked.

  • by Robin Williams Mon Mar 31, 2014 via web

    I am not sure that I should agree with this data or not. More than 50% people uses Andriod smartphones.

  • by Scott Jamieson Mon Mar 31, 2014 via web

    The 74% stat for animated GIFs surprises me. Our understanding is that the majority of our email clients would not see these GIFs anyway. We are getting a lot of traction on video though.

  • by Kyle Shay Mon Mar 31, 2014 via web

    Can you clarify how Microsoft's Outlook handles animated Gifs? From our tests, the majority of email clients at least on the desktop either display nothing or only the first frame by default.

    As I do agree with the 50% of people viewing emails on their mobile device where the majority of animated ads do work, my concern is when a client goes back to their desktop client to perhaps have another look at that email and the animated gif no longer displays properly.

    Our advertisers would love to use animated gifs but we have been recommending against it due to the desktop default setting issues.

  • by Ben Tue Jul 29, 2014 via web

    Hi Ayaz,

    you did a really fantastic job of providing us with your take on Email Design and Platform trends.
    If you’re interested for more insight in email design tips please visit each link below:

    Anatomy of Marketing Email Design
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/anatomy-of-marketing-email-design

    How to Embed Video in Gmail
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/how-to-embed-video-in-gmail-campaigns

    Gmail Quirks: HTML Issues with Gmail
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/gmail-html-email-tips

    Universally Supported CSS and HTML for Email Designs
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/email-campaign-html-and-css-support

    How to Embed Video in Email
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/how-to-embed-video-in-email

    Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/top-email-marketing-mistakes

    Dealing with CSS Styles in Email
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/css-styles-html-email-design

    10 Worst Performing Email Subject Lines
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/10-worst-performing-email-subject-lines

    Using ALT Text Tags in HTML Email
    http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/using-alt-text-tags-in-html-email

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