Last month’s benchmark report saw us take a closer look at verticals, this month we’re getting into channels and devices; a key theme of the Emarsys Evolution events we’re holding worldwide.

Interactions with Brands is Changing

It’s very clear that the way people interact with brands has fundamentally changed, in two ways:

  1. How they use devices. The emergence of ‘Mobile Only’ customers who never engage with your brand’s main website, interacting solely via their devices with your app or mobile site.
  2. The channels they use. Instagram, SnapChat, Line, WeChat, WhatsApp, Viber, and Messenger are all becoming more popular.

In a recent presentation, Stuart Barker, Global Director of Strategic Accounts at Emarsys, raised a key point related to this shift: while the way people interact with brands on a mobile device is rapidly changing, the strategies we employ to target them have been slow to adapt.

At Emarsys, we aim to help our customers make this move towards a mobile-first world. These findings have led to investments in the ability for our customers to achieve greater reach (register on our Pilot Page to be an early adopter for Browser Based Push, Line Messaging, or WeChat). Additionally, we are also investing in channel optimization and attribution, to provide our users with greater clarity about the most effective channels to use for each of their contacts.

As we’ve shown in previous reports we’ve already seen a shift to mobile when it comes to email open rates and click data, with mobile now taking a 50% share or more. And the gap is widening:

Within the Travel and Tourism sector we see those percentages increase slightly again:

In the Retail and E-commerce verticals, we see those percentages increase further, with a 60% share for Mobile in Email Engagement:

The number of web visits via mobile devices continues to grow, and Emarsys is seeing an increase in client inquiries about benchmarks for mobile channels. If you’ve seen our most recent infographic about the shift to a mobile-first world, these trends are easy to understand; there are more than 2.6 BILLION smartphones in the world today.

Our strategies need to evolve, beyond making our email campaigns fit to small screens into a strategy that makes the most of all of the opportunities a ‘mobile first’, or more importantly, ‘mobile only’ strategy offers us. What are these opportunities?

How to Use this Information

First and foremost, there are new channels emerging that, when used properly, allow marketers to communicate directly and personally to the mobile customer. Based on our data, we present the following advice to refine and improve your marketing strategies.

Push Messages

While the average open rate of a push message might only be 2% (our own analysis) for batch campaigns, push messaging has been show to increase app engagement by up to 88%. However, we have seen a high opt-out rate for push messaging in comparison to other channels such as email or SMS for batch campaigns.

Brands that choose to explore push messaging should focus on triggered push communication, linked to customer in-app , website, or in-store actions, that‘s timely and relevant. We’ve seen 5-6 times greater engagement rates with triggered or lifecycle-based push messages over batch campaigns, with a corresponding decrease in opt-out rates.


SMS is often seen as an ‘old school’ channel, but it’s regaining popularity with marketers looking to cut through the noise and drive two-way interactions with clients. We’ve seen a rise in the number of clients using SMS or MMS campaigns for customer feedback post-purchase, or to drive customers into a store with promotion codes or discounts. In some upcoming benchmark reports, we’ll take a closer look at SMS engagement and delivery rates.

Facebook and Instagram Ads

A very ‘new school’ channel for many marketers has been Facebook and Instagram Ads and looking closer at hundreds of clients who have now linked their CRM data to their Facebook Ads accounts, we can see key trends emerging.

First, we’re seeing a high match rate (~75%) between customer email addresses subscribed to email campaigns and active Facebook and Instagram accounts. Perhaps this comes as no surprise when you consider Facebook has more than 1 billion daily active mobile users.

Implement a Multichannel Strategy

Our most successful clients in terms of conversions across different customer lifecycle stages are those who have developed unified multi-channel strategies with consistent messaging that make the most of mobile data to inform their email, push, SMS, paid ads, and direct mail campaigns.

How much more successful?

Average conversion rates of leads to first-time buyers among top-performing Emarsys clients is nearly 10 times higher than those of the lowest-performing quartile. There is a staggering difference in conversion between clients struggling with lead conversion via a single channel (1.66% for the lowest quartile) and those with a mature, multi-channel, customer lifecycle-based engagement strategy (58% conversion for the top quartile focused on active customer retention) makes it clear that the gains resulting from getting it right are worth the investment.

Final Thoughts

As with any change, this major shift to a mobile-first world requires businesses to step out of their marketing comfort zones and take risks with new channels and approaches. To be successful, marketers must work with other departments to break down silos that hinder cross-departmental collaboration, and make mobile a business priority.

mobile first strategy ebook

Read More: