The worst kind of expert doesn’t share the whole story or truth. Since the rise of social media many “experts” have claimed that email is dying and won’t exist in 10 years. In fact, email is not fading, it’s evolving. According to a new comScore study on U.S. consumers, the number of users accessing email via their mobile devices has been growing every year. In 2010 mobile email grew by 36% in the US. In Europe, mobile email users grew 55% and in Japan 53%.
What we’re experiencing with email is a shift in how we access our email during work hours and after hours. As mobile devices became a lot more sophisticated and packed with so many apps you could run your organization from the road, consumers have become a lot more reliant on mobile too. This is probably the reason why the number of visitors to web-based email sites declined 6% and engagement dropped between 9% and 15% in 2010. “Despite such declines, however, email remains one of the most popular activities on the web, reaching more than 70% of the U.S online population each month,” said the study.
“The decline in web-based email is a byproduct of... shifting dynamics and the increasing availability of on-demand communication options... from PCs to mobile devices, whether email, social media, IM or texting, consumers... can (communicate) at any time and in any place," said Mark Donovan, comScore Senior Vice President of Mobile.
The Stats Don’t Lie: Email Still Rules
According to the study:
- 70.1 million mobile users (30% of all mobile subscribers) accessed email on their mobile device, an increase of 36% from 2009.
- Daily usage of mobile email grew by 40%.
- People over 55 used web-email 15% more in 2010 than in 2009.
Be Prepared for Channel Shifts
While web-based email has been declining, especially with users between 12 and 17 years of age, email is still one of the most important and widely-used forms of communication. But access to email is shifting towards mobile, so your organization needs to prepare. Here are three things you can do right now to leverage mobile email:
1. Know Where Your Members Are Accessing Email: The next time you survey your list, ask your members if they access their email via web, mobile, or both. According to the study, 78% of Smartphone users access their email via mobile.
2. Review Your Action Alerts and Fundraising Appeals: If your members are accessing their email via mobile, are your action alerts or appeals easy to read? Is it easy to take action or donate money when accessing via mobile?
3. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly: If your members are accessing their email more on mobile, chances they are looking at your website via mobile too. Is your website mobile-friendly? If your website is on a content management system like WordPress, you can install the mobile pluglin WPtouch. For Drupal you can install the plugin Mobile Tools and Jquerymobile.