Email opens up but actions down? Let me explain.

3 Jun


The good folks over at M+R have released their 2015 Benchmarks Study (get it here-I recommend it) and in it they report this:


Email opens are up and yet actions taken are down. Why is this so?

In a follow up email from M+R they offered 3 theories and their first one is the right one.

More and more emails are being opened first on a mobile device.

What’s driving this? The immediacy and the impulsivity of mobile.

91% of the time we have our phone at arms-length. It follows then that we can all pretty much open email anytime and anywhere (whether we like it or not!).

Also driving the open rates, M+R suggests that the email copywriters are getting better at catchy subject lines and that very well may be the case. Lord knows in our world of short messages with bad grammar and spelling to match we could use some great copywriters.

So, I think we’d all agree that the increased email open rates are a mobile-driven thing and that’s not going to reverse course. Ever. Mobile email is here to stay and mobile open rates will only get closer to 100% as time goes by.

But what about the low action-taken figures? Before I share my explanation I want to explain what an action is by explaining what it is not. I differ with the folks at M+R in this regard.

It’s not clicking on a link in your email. That’s an intention in my book. It’s as if the viewer is saying to you “I intend to learn more about something in your email that piqued my interest.”

An action is doing something like donating or volunteering or registering for an event or any of the plethora of things nonprofits engage in as they pursue their mission.

I’ll get to the point-actions are down because your action has to be fulfilled on the email viewer’s phone via a web page meant for a PC.

Try it yourself with any PC page on your phone. Navigation is a pain to say the least and PC pages take WAY MORE time to load than mobile-optimized pages. Simply put-folks give up on PC pages on their phone.

Even more to the point is that your PC donation page on a phone is a lost donation. So much has been written about this in places like the Chronicle of Philanthropy and here in our blog where we cite 3rd party data about this very thing.

Still further-why is your “Donate” text the same size as your “Unsubscribe” text in your emails?

The M+R folks have pointed to the future-email is a great channel for nonprofits. All they need to do now is maximize this trend with a great mobile/responsive experience (donating and engagement) and enjoy the benefits of matching the supporter experience to the device in their hand-all the time.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters with a minimum of friction. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting, negative QOS and a mnemonic device QR code alternative.

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