Study Mobile click-to-open rates slipped in 2016

by Deena M. Amato-McCoy,
February 24, 2017
Retailers are increasingly relying on mobility for customer engagement, however their marketing strategies are lagging.
The fourth quarter 2016 marked the first time mobile engagement has trended down as the mobile click-to-open (CTO) rate declined by 12.6% quarter-over-quarter, and 14.4% year-over-year, according “Q4 2016 Email Benchmark Report: The Mobile Engagement Shift,” from Yes Lifecycle Marketing.
The study revealed that email continues to drive revenue for brands dur-ing the holidays, especially on mobile. In fact, more than half (53.4%) of all email clicks came from mobile, an 8.5% increase year-over-year and a 31.5% increase since fourth quarter 2014.
Data also showed that smartphone revenue increased, while the number of smartphone orders decreased, translating into larger average purchases on smartphones. Over the past three years, the proportion of email-driven orders placed on smartphones has almost tripled, and the email-driven revenue generated through smartphones has grown by 250%.
“The findings in our report suggest on-the-go holiday shoppers are just as comfortable making purchases via mobile devices as they are on their desktops, but that doesn’t mean marketers have mastered mobile,” said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “With mobile CTO reversing its trend and declining, tactics like responsive design are no longer enough to spark engagement. Marketers need to pay attention not only to the design of mobile emails, but now, even more so, the content and context.”
The good news is that there has been a major increase in email subscriber growth, with the proportion of new subscribers joining brands’ mailing programs in fourth quarter 2016 doubling from previous years. Histori-cally, most brands have grown their subscriber base by about 6% be-tween third quarter and fourth quarter, but in 2016 that growth reached 12%, the study said.
Meanwhile, 37% of all email-driven orders and 26% of all email-driven revenue came from smartphones in the fourth quarter. Tablet purchases registered the highest growth from third quarter to fourth quarter, eclips-ing both desktop and smartphone devices.
Overall, open rates increased for the first time in years, growing by 8% quarter-over-quarter. However, on average, unique click and CTO rates continued their downward trend, dropping by 15.6% and 18.8% year-over-year, respectively.
“With the shift of consumer behavior, the key to converting consumers into buyers in 2017 is personalization, proper targeting, and awareness of context,” said Mike Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “In order to achieve this, brands need the right partner and the right technology to get a full view of their customers.”     

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