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Take Care When Labeling Email Recipients

The challenge of delivering properly formatted emails to recipients on mobile devices has prompted a great deal of discussion and a few different strategies over the past couple of years. Some marketers created mobile-friendly HTML pages containing similar content as their emails, and simply offered a way for recipients to “click for mobile version” on the mobile-unfriendly email they received on their smartphones. Others went the way of responsive design, which certainly added complexity but also avoided the duplicate work mentioned previously, allowing for emails that adapted (as necessary) to the device being used by the recipient. Harland Clarke Digital has taken the responsive design approach with our own newsletter, which you can view by clicking here. (If you’re on a desktop/laptop, simply drag the corner of your browser window and you’ll see the template respond by shifting to a single column view when space becomes an issue).

Another approach is the idea of tracking recipients’ engagement history, and creating different versions of messages designed specifically for the device they use to view messages. For instance, your “iPad users” would receive a message you built specifically for the iPad. This wouldn’t be necessary for every available device (a daunting task), but could certainly be valuable if data indicates a large percentage of engaged recipients gravitate toward a specific device(s). Why not provide those recipients with an optimal experience, especially since they are clearly engaged?

On the surface, this approach certainly makes sense if you have the resources to produce such customized versions of each message, and the SubscriberMail® email platform from Harland Clarke Digital offers insight into mobile device use among recipients. However, there are drawbacks to this approach due to the growing number of recipients who engage with email in multiple ways.

Over a 12-month span, Harland Clarke Digital found that 12.4% of recipients (on average) were rendering emails using at least two of the three methods being analyzed: Desktop, Smartphone or Tablet. A large amount of recipients engaged exclusively via desktop (55%) or smartphone (25%), but with smartphone and tablet adoption rates continuing to climb, the percentage of multi-method engagement is likely to rise as well. It’s an important point to keep in mind before applying recipient filters that might identify a recipient as an “iPhone user” — it’s entirely possible that an alternate method will be used to view the next mailing.

Download the infographic Engagement Habits of Today’s Email Recipient from Harland Clarke Digital.