With some 44% of email opens now via mobile devices,* fully 50% of email marketers surveyed say they are optimizing or planning to optimize email campaigns for mobile viewers, according to a report by Experian Marketing Services that provides benchmarks for key email engagement and acquisition tactics.

Among those 50% of email marketers following a mobile-friendly approach, the most popular methods are developing a rich-text mobile version (36%), promoting mobile apps (21%), and optimizing email dimensions (18%):

Below, additional findings from Experian Marketing Services.

Subscriber Surveys via Email

When conducting surveys via email, marketers are registering fairly strong survey completion rates overall.

More than 7 in 10 email marketers (71.5%) say they collect input via email surveys, and among them 38% have generated completion rates of 11% or higher.

Notably, most (59%) marketers do not offer incentives to their subscribers for filling out a survey.

Among email marketers who distribute surveys via email, the most popular types are post-purchase (50%), customer service (46%), and online-experience (43%) surveys.

One-quarter (25%) of email marketers say they use unsubscribe (opt-out) surveys. Unsubscribe surveys help marketers identify why customers opt-out of emails subscriptions.

Animated Gifs

More than one-half (52%) of marketers have used animated gifs in their email campaigns, 16% have used horizontal or multidirectional scrolls, and 7% have included video content in email messages:

Including animation in an email is can be a great way to grab viewer attention. Even subtle animation can draw the reader's eye to a specific area in the email, such as a call-to-action button or a special promotion, Experian notes.

Animated gifs and cinemagraphs also produce higher transaction-to-click rates: 72% of email marketers who have used animated gifs or cinemagraphs have recorded higher transaction-to-click rates, compared with bulk emails to the same customers.


One in five (21%) email marketers use symbols in their email subject line. An additional 28% don't use symbols but would like to start doing so. Using symbols in a subject line can help email stand out in subscribers' inboxes.

Moreover, emails that contain symbols in subject lines can generate open rates up to 15% higher than open rates for regular promotional emails, according to Experian CheetahMail's 2012 Symbols study.

Social Shares

Facebook (98%) is the social platform most mentioned in email campaigns, followed by Twitter (91%) and YouTube (45%).

One-third (32%) of email marketers mention Pinterest in their campaigns.

Moreover, in 2012, emails that included the words "Pinterest," "Pin us," or "Pin it" in subject lines generated open rates that were 11% higher than bulk mailings, and they generated unique click rates that were almost 25% higher than bulk mailings. Those findings are based on Experian Marketing Services' 2012 Q2 Benchmark Study.

*Note: Based on Experian Marketing Services' June 2012 study of Litmus Email Analytics results: 44% of total opens occur on mobile devices, 29% on desktops, and 28% on Webmail.

About the data: Findings are based on the results email campaigns conducted by Experian Marketing Services' CheetahMail among 146 clients in the third quarter of 2012. Some 53% of respondents were multichannel retail brands.

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Key Email Engagement Tactics: Benchmarks and Trends

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image of Lenna Garibian
Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.