Stop Being Mobile-Friendly: Optimization for Smart Devices

by Victor Green
3 mins read

According to Mashable, close to 18 percent of global web traffic is mobile, but Mobile Action Land reports that only six of the top 100 corporate sites are mobile-ready. If they aren’t giving their websites the right treatment, you have to wonder what their email campaigns look like. It’s not hard to make an eBlast mobile-friendly, but with different resolutions, layouts and browsers from device to device, mobile-friendly just doesn’t cut it anymore. What’s the alternative? Optimization.The biggest issue with making a mobile-friendly email campaign is the user experience. To be friendly rather than optimized means that the email will display the same – or close to the same, hopefully – on a computer and a mobile device smartphone or tablet. Everything on the mobile view will display significantly smaller, and often text is so small it borders on unreadable, making the inclusion links to those ever important landing pages absolutely useless. Technically, a mobile-friendly email is perfectly functional, but it will require a lot of pinch-and-zooming at the least.Some other issues with mobile-friendly email campaigns have to do with compatibility. Most smart devices don’t display images in email right away, and when the option is selected these images are known to load very slowly or break entirely. Overall, it’s something like repairing a broken plate with tape: It will hold together, some people even swear by it, but it’s definitely not the best tool for the job.

Optimized for Mobility

Optimization is significantly more in-depth, but the end user experience is leagues above a mobile-friendly eBlast. A few lines of custom CSS and HTML code can go a long way to making sure your campaign displays correctly on all devices, regardless of resolution. Where a mobile-friendly email simply shrinks everything to fit even the tiniest screen, a mobile-optimized email is fully responsive and uses a liquid layout. Where images previously floated left or right of the text and shrunk down to the size of a thumbnail, now they fit the size of the screen and appear between paragraphs and lines, assuring the image is both large enough to be seen and not at risk of overlapping with anything important.While full mobile optimization requires the help of professionals, there are a few things that you can do to prepare your eBlast for the optimum treatment:Think about your subject line. Keep these under 30 characters to assure that all words will be displayed on a mobile device, and make sure they’re going to get the reader interested.Use that pre-header text, and use it well. Keep this under 50 characters (or assure no more than 80 characters between subject line and pre-header), and put as much consideration into this as your subject line.Make your call to action a graphic. Textual links work well on a computer, but for a touch-based device it’s better to promise something a little bigger. Apple recommends an area of no less than 44 pixels square for links on touch devices.Make sure your website is ready. This is possibly the most important aspect of mobile email marketing. If your campaign is directing readers to a landing page that isn’t responsive and optimized for their device, they’re going to close the browser and move on to something else. Make sure that your website is just as optimized as the email campaign you’re sending out.While a mobile-friendly eBlast is better than only designing with full-size computers in mind, going the extra mile with your campaign to optimize it for mobile view will generate more customer engagement, more response to your offers, and a definite higher ROI. Take your time and get it done right.

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