Impact of Mobile Devices on Email Design


Table of Contents

According to new marketing data from MarketingSherpa, 64% of key decision makers are viewing your carefully crafted email on their mobile devices.  Chances are, your email might look downright awful when viewed on a mobile device.

The use scenario we are seeing is that people use their smart phones to do real-time checking (often skimming) of email, and make a quick decision whether to keep the email and read it in more detail later, or delete it. They then go back and review / act upon more important emails from their desktop.

The survey also indicates mobile email users don’t click on links from these devices — only 54 percent have ever clicked on a link from their mobile device. Users don’t make online purchases via these devices either (well, not in the US anyway – Europe and AsiaPac are different markets altogether).

A Few Tips for Emailing to Mobile Users

This is common sense stuff but follow these quick tips, and you’ll improve responses overall:

  • Deliver brief, interesting messages in multi-part MIME (both regular HTML and text-only versions).
  • Revise your Goal: Aim for the Follow-up.  Since Exec’s using a PDA/mobile device are only skimming and not clicking – make sure the value proposition is concise, clear and uncluttered, and you might as well do away with the links.  Entice the reader to review the email in mode detail when they return to their desk.
  • Don’t put links to graphic images at the very beginning of your email.  Depending on the device’s settings, the recipient may simply see an a bunch of links.  The recipient either has to scroll forever (a major source of thumb-cramp syndrome) or more likely, they’ll just delete your email.
  • Include a link to the web-version of your email. Most Email Service Providers have this feature – when you create an email, an HTML version is automatically created and hosted on the ESP’s website. Try sending a text-only email with a brief introduction and a link to view the message as a webpage. This also allows users to view the HTML version when users later view the email on their computer.

Mobile Email Preview

Most email clients support a limited subset of HML, and mobile devices and pads are no exception.  If your audience has a higher concentration of mobile users – be sure to use an inbox preview tool to see how your email will display on mobile devices.  A great tool we’ve been using in house is Litmus (  For about a buck a day you can preview an unlimited number of email designs.


He does not need any intro. Your know that he will only edit blog posts when it's needed.