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The importance of responsive design in e-mail marketing

Responsive email marketing gives an important opportunity to improve the engagement with the customers.

The importance of responsive design in e-mail marketing

Tuesday April 17, 2018,

3 min Read


We live in the on-the-go era. Everything from shopping to bill payments has made its way from our desktops to our mobile devices. There’s no reason online marketing should be left out of this movement. It’s the norm to see people catching up on the news or checking their email on their daily commute. However, while emailers have been around for some time now, responsive email marketing has only recently gained traction and still has a long way to go.

So what exactly is responsive email design?

Simply put, it is a design made to match any device that’s being used to view it. We know there is certainly room for improvement when it comes to the mobile email user experience. How often have you used your phone to check your email and how often have you been put off by the fact that it ‘was not meant for your device’? The issues we commonly see are broken layouts, narrow columns and small fonts verging on unreadable. On the other hand, the responsive design looks just as good and works just as well on a mobile screen, as it would on a desktop or even a large screen TV.

Why should you optimise your email for mobile devices?

As the use of mobile internet steadily increases, a growing percentage of your email subscribers will be reading your newsletters on portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. So much so that mobile email client usage is soon set to overtake desktop usage.

A recent report from Yesmail stated that responsive design has a markedly positive impact on email engagement. According to their data, brands that sent responsive emails had a 57.2% mobile open rate, while those that sent non-responsive emails came close at 51.7%. However, it was shown that consumers were much less likely to click through messages not optimised for their device. The email marketing click-through rate for mobile responsive emails was 58%, while the rate for non-responsive emails was just 46.7%.

It is thus apparent that maintaining response rates comes down to being able to provide an optimal reading experience to any and all recipients. It is no surprise then that every day more and more brands are switching over to mobile responsive emails.

Here are a few examples of brands that have gone that small extra step in ensuring better user engagement with their responsive emails.

Domino’s – When compared to desktop versions of their emails, the links to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ them on Facebook and Twitter are more prominently sized and positioned on the mobile versions. This makes sense as most people are signed into their social accounts on their smartphones at all times.

Expedia – Expedia smartly adds the app store banner to the topmost part of its emails when they are viewed on a smartphone.

PlayStation – A great example of smooth responsive design, PlayStation’s email layouts remain easy on the eyes whether viewed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.

The bottom line: A poor user experience translates to little or no response, which means no return on investment. In addition, it’s important to never miss out on an opportunity to improve customer engagement and responsive design is just that!