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Head to Litmus for Email Testing and Marketing Analytics Needs

Shyamal Dave
13th Aug 2012
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Litmus was founded by Paul Farnell (CEO), Matthew Brindley (CTO), and David Smalley (COO). All three were doing freelance web design work for clients and, as part of building those sites, they needed to do cross-browser testing. There were a couple of cross-browser testing tools around at the time but they were relatively expensive and the user interface and speed of testing were not up to par with what Paul, Matt, and David were looking for. It was at this point that they recognized a need for a more functional and affordable cross-browser testing tool.

The first prototype of their tool, SiteVista, was built over a weekend and was running on an old computer in Paul’s college dorm. At first, the tool simply let you enter in a web address and see a screenshot of it on two different browsers, but was later expanded to eight browsers and scaled up from testing just one site at a time to testing two or three simultaneously.

Before publically launching the product, Paul had family, friends, and a mailing list of 50 web designers in the UK look it over and offer feedback. After receiving positive feedback, offered a “pre-launch” promotion to conference attendees in Copenhagen. Within two weeks, they had 20-25 paying customers. It was from these initial customers that the suggestion to offer email testing, which is testing how email is rendered on various browsers, was born.

At that point, all three were still working on client projects so they weren’t able to put all of their concentration towards Litmus. It became clear to them that they weren’t going to be able to grow Litmus as a proper business unless they were able to focus on it. In order to do this, Paul took out a £10,000 loan so they could put all of their attention on Litmus. With this money, they rebuilt the entire application, redid the site, and did a huge marketing push. The launch of email testing went very well and received lots of coverage from blogs and press. Today, 70-80% of Litmus’ business is email testing.

Litmus is written primarily utilizing Ruby on Rails, .NET and C#, and is built on Amazon's AWS infrastructure. They're able to leverage Amazon's cloud-based resources to scale their testing capacity based on user demand.

All their testing is conducted on real copies of email software and official SDKs for mobile applications - there are no emulations, so what their customers see in their tests will be what their subscribers see in the inbox.

In addition to showing customers screenshots, they also provide code analysis which exposes bugs and incompatible HTML and CSS. They also offer Interactive Testing, which allows their customers to troubleshoot and debug issues directly on a virtual machine running the email client.

Over 30,000 agencies, designers and marketing teams worldwide use Litmus. Some of their largest partners include MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, ExactTarget and Experian CheetahMail. Well-known brands such as JetBlue, Spotify, Yahama, Best Buy, and National Geographic also use their tools,” says Paul.

Litmus does page testing – in fact, it was their first product! With Litmus’ page testing, you simply put in their URL and previews showing how it appears in popular web browsers are generated. Unlimited page testing is included in every Litmus plan at no additional charge.

Litmus also offers a great email analytics tool. With Email Analytics you can break down their open rate to tell you how many people deleted their email in comparison to how many people actually read, how many people forwarded it, and how many people printed it. In addition, Litmus tracks the email client usage across their mailing lists and offers individual-level tracking so you can collect data for individual subscribers on their email list.

Need email-analytics for you email marketing campaign? Try Litmus.

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