According to Christopher Mims, tech writer for The Wall Street Journal, the World Wide Web is dying, and mobile technology is killing it. Of course, the Web's ultimate demise is far out in the future, but mobile statistics show some telling trends. For the first time, in 2014, mobile devices surpassed laptops and PCs as the preferred method of accessing digital content. In fact, 60 percent of all Web browsing and digital content consumption occurred on a mobile device.
Today, search engines feel the crunch most acutely. While 90 percent of PC and laptop users visit a search site at least once a month, just 50 percent of mobile users do. Mobile users spend the vast majority of their time (nearly 90 percent) accessing information and content via apps. This means that instead of using Google or other search engines to find information, products, and services, individuals are searching by using apps to locate solutions. Apps that serve as surrogate search engines include email, research, shopping, and social networks. For example, rather than hunting for a seafood restaurant in a new city via Google, one may go straight to Open Table or Yelp to look up possibilities.
Is search becoming a relic? A commentary on MediaPost read, "Mobile has brought with it so many other ways for consumers to navigate the Internet and find the information for which they are looking -- with vertical search in particular playing a more important role here -- why look for a product on [a search engine] when you can go straight to [an app] and start your search there?"
This trend is the same in healthcare, with some 86 percent of clinicians using smartphones and mobile devices at work every day. Our own internal research shows that most healthcare professionals (HCPs) open their emails on a mobile device: 55 percent on mobile vs. 45 percent on laptops and PCs. HCPs increasingly use mobile apps to interact with electronic health records, to research medications and disease processes, and to participate in webinars and digital conferences. The transition to mobile is the result of mobile tools.
If Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are facing the impact of mobile behavior on their core businesses, what are the lessons we can learn from this shift to mobile-based search activity when it comes to email marketing?
While few HCP marketers are harnessing the power of mobile – less than five percent of marketing emails are optimized for mobile – there is still good news. Powerful implementation solutions are available to help HCP marketers fuel email marketing in a mobile-driven environment.
Building Mobile into Email Marketing
We discussed email mobile optimization in our latest e-book: "A far-reaching opportunity lies in understanding how mobile-optimized email connects to the overall brand experience." When marketers pay attention to a trifecta of design, testing, and leveraging the mobile environment, their campaigns will have the highest success in reaching their audience.
Designing for mobile begins with understanding the limitations of the device. For instance, the constraints of mobile networks require the right pixel size so your email is readable on an iPhone. During pre-launch planning, it is essential to decide what action you want your recipient to take in the mobile environment. Testing HTML content across email service providers and a full range of mobile devices allows the sender to make adjustments to ensure all readers will see the message in its optimal format.. An optimized email offers a greater chance of the reader to complete the desired navigation behavior.
The mobile environment begs for a seamless digital experience, moving from text to call-to-action, whether it be to "download the podcast," "add to my calendar," or "chat with a representative." With just a tap or a swipe email becomes flexible, agile, and a natural facilitator in changing consumer behavior.