Dec 9, 2014

Mobile Hurts Engagement, but You Can Make it Better

Well, we’ve reached the point where watches connect to the internet. Go ahead and throw away your desktop computers, because watches are the new phones, phones are the new tablets, and tablets are the new laptops.

All right, maybe we’re exaggerating, but the world feels more mobile-oriented than ever. And there are even studies to back up that hunch. The Pew Research Center found that the use of phones to read email doubled between 2009 and 2013, and the November 2014 Ericsson Mobility Report estimates that smartphone subscriptions and traffic per phone will see respective annual growth rates of 15% and 25% until 2020.

As a data scientist, I have a lot of questions about this brave new world. But mainly: “What will mobile’s impact be on email engagement, and can email campaign design counteract changing engagement rates?” So my team decided to do some research.


We analyzed a random subset of email addresses that MailChimp sends to, determined those addresses’ corresponding devices, then aggregated sends and clicks to these addresses from MailChimp users in a 6 month period to see how preferred device impacts engagement. We looked to see if use of our Litmus-powered Inbox Inspector feature and responsive templates help engage mobile subscribers, and we looked at how different links within a campaign are impacted.

What did we find? Well, mobile does hurt engagement, but there’s plenty you can do to make it better. To learn more, read our full report. And check out the great infographics Litmus created with our results.