A large part of reaching your audience at the right time is giving them access to your content anywhere and everywhere. Having your emails scalable to all devices and platforms is crucial to maximizing the desired effect of your efforts but, at the same time, it’s just as important to realize the strengths and weaknesses of each device so you can plan and adapt accordingly. Here are some of our findings on the varying preferences readers have when viewing your campaigns across their devices.

Desktop email is still most practical

ES10 stats

In the above graph, the X-axis represents how high up the page the links appear (0% being the top of the email and 100% being the bottom) and the Y-axis represents the click rates in a given position. As you can plainly see, desktop is the clear winner when it comes to clicks. Although having your email on your phone is a convenient tool (especially when people take the time to scale their emails across all devices and browsers), desktop is still the most enjoyable and useful experience for email readers. Consistent with our findings in our link placement article, the top third of the page gets the most clicks so it’s important to keep your calls-to-action (CTAs) in the area of the email which doesn’t require any scrolling to access. The same trend is true for mobile but to a much less noticeable degree and with much lower click rates. There is a slight bump in the top third of the email for mobile devices but the drop-off on the second half of the page is slight, possibly because scrolling on a mobile device is as simple as flicking your thumb across the screen. You can also notice there is a spike at the bottom of both the mobile and desktop graphs. This is most likely due to the “unsubscribe” or social media links being at the bottom of the page.

When in doubt, stick to text links

Click rates by device

As we found in our link-type article, text links outperform image links across the board. The likely reason for this is images are often automatically blocked by email providers and require express permission to be displayed, which is often denied. This is consistent for both mobile and desktop but it more apparent in mobile since the barriers to viewing images are less intuitive to deactivate on mobile devices. The other reason image links are less likely to be opened on mobile is possibly due to the data rates which may apply when allowing images to be loaded on emails.

Not too big, not too small…

click rate by device by font

For emails viewed on a desktop, text links smaller than size 20 font all perform at roughly the same level. For mobile, however, the size of your font more significantly impacts the performance of your text links. Too small and the reader will be unable to touch it on their smart phones, too big and it will scale improperly and appear odd and unappealing. The clear takeaway from this data is it’s best practice in both mobile and desktop (but more vitally for mobile) to make your text links a standard size between 10-14.

Big at home, small on the go

Click rate by device image size

Out of all of the data we collected on the differences between mobile and desktop links, the results for image links varies most drastically. On desktop, big, crisp image links get a significant boost over any smaller images, possibly due to the fact images which span the full width of the page are often header images that take readers to your home page. These larger images, however, don’t translate to successful click rates when viewed on a mobile device. Whether this is because the image doesn’t scale and becomes unwieldy and intrusive or it does scale but the quality is degraded as a result, large image links are not practical for mobile devices. Instead, if you are looking to maximize your clicks on mobile devices, the smaller the image the better. Tiny images translate better on mobile devices since they can be viewed in the context of the message and fit the screen without throwing off your email design. Then again, if you don’t want to worry about your big beautiful images scaling to mobile and still streamline your content, you can always choose the option to drop the image completely when viewed on a mobile device. 1

Take aways

  • For both mobile and desktop, keep your most important CTAs in the top third of the page
  • Overall, text links perform better on any device
  • Keep things clean and simple. Standard 14 sized font on average performs best for text links
  • For image links: bigger for desktop, smaller for mobile

Find out more about the intricacies of email anatomy from the following articles: