Mobile Email Opens Are on Pace to Surpass PC By the End of 2013 … And Other Hot Topics

seniors browsing their smart phonesIt’s no secret that the world we live in is getting more and more mobile every single day.

For now, it’s smartphones and tablets that are changing the way we access information, connect to social media, and check our emails. This time next year, it could be augmented reality glasses that let you check the weather and message your friends while brushing your teeth.

The fact is that businesses—large and small—need to adapt to the influence of all this mobile activity. That’s certainly true when it comes to your email marketing.

New data released this week projects that by the end of the year more than half of all email opens will be coming from a mobile device.

Find out how you can adopt a more mobile email strategy, plus find answers to a number of social media questions, like:

  • Is it better to upload a video directly to Facebook or to share a YouTube link?
  • Should I be using Instagram to market my small business?
  • Should I be responding to feedback on social media?

Read about these top stories and much, much more in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. 41% of email opens occurred on mobile in the second half of 2012

According to a bi-annual report from Knotice, 41% of commercial emails were opened on mobile devices in the second half of 2012—up from 27% in 2011 and 13% at the end of 2010.

The report, which looked at a sample of 500 emails sent in 11 different industry verticals, also projected that by the end of 2013, the percent of commercial emails opened on mobile devices will be over 50% and will surpass desktop opens for the first time.

Bottom Line: Today, it’s never been more important for small businesses to be aware of the impact of mobile on your email marketing efforts.

Adjusting your email marketing strategy to meet the demands of mobile starts with understanding how your emails with display on a mobile device. Designing your emails to meet the needs of mobile will have a major impact on the type of results you’re able to achieve.

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Content: Screen real estate is valuable on mobile, so keep it simple and focus on the essentials.
  • Fonts and colors: Make sure your text can be read easily on a mobile device. Use a minimum of size 11 pt for body text and 22 pt for headlines.
  • Images: Don’t overcrowd your email with images. As a good rule of thumb, we recommend using 1 to 3. Get in the habit of previewing your emails on a mobile device before sending.

2. Instagram continues to grow: 55% of top brands now active on Instagram

The start of 2013 has been much quieter for the folks at Instagram than the end of 2012. But, as a new report from Simply Measured suggests, brands have continued to get more and more active on the photo-sharing platform.

According to the report, 59% of the nation’s top brands are now using Instagram to market their business—up from 54% in November 2012. Of those brands that are using Instagram, 55% have an active account and 41% are now posting more than 1 photo per week.

  • Consumer engagement is up: Overall consumer engagement with brands increased by 35% since last quarter.
  • Brand audiences are growing: 26% of top brands now have over 10,000 followers—up from 20% last quarter.
  • Facebook is playing a critical role: 98% of Instagram photos from top brands are now being shared on Facebook.

Bottom Line: Instagram has evolved quite a bit of the last year. After breaking ties with Twitter last December, Instagram brought full profiles to the web and redefined itself as its own social network.

But Instagram is also a valuable tool for driving engagement on other sites as well. According to the study, Instagram photos shared on Facebook resulted in an average of 274 engagements—up 30% from last quarter.

Find out how you can use Instagram to promote your small business.

3. New survey looks at the type of experience brands are really offering on social media

A new study released by J.D. Power and Associates this week, provided some interesting results about how well different industries are using social media sites for marketing and servicing needs.

According to the Social Media Benchmark Study, which surveyed 23,200 US consumers who had interacted with a brand on social media, 67% had done so for customer service, while 33% had received a marketing message.

The report defines marketing engagements as “connecting with consumers to build brand awareness and affinity, in addition to promoting coupons and deals,” while servicing engagements include “answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems.”

Bottom Line: For small businesses, paying attention to customer feedback and responding to questions, comments, and complaints is one of the biggest benefits of being on sites like Facebook and Twitter. By keeping an eye on feedback from your fans and followers, you have the opportunity to resolve problems that may have gone unnoticed if not for the power of social media.

But this week’s study also highlights the benefits of using social media as a marketing tool as well. Among consumers who said they were “highly-satisfied” by the experience they had with brands on social media, 87% said that the social marketing interaction they had with the company “positively impacted” their likelihood to make a purchase from that company.

Recently, I sat down with Kristen Curtiss, social media specialist at Constant Contact to get her take on how small businesses should be handling feedback on social media. Check out what she had to say!

4. LinkedIn Jobs service gets a redesign and better discovery features

LinkedIn unveiled new updates to its popular LinkedIn Jobs service this week that is expected to make searching for jobs much easier by delivering more relevant results to its users.

In addition to a visual redesign, which has been something LinkedIn has brought to a number of its popular services over the last few months, LinkedIn is also adding new search functions as well. Now, users can look for openings by country, zip code, industry, and function.

The updated LinkedIn Jobs service is expected to roll out to all of LinkedIn’s 200 million users over the next few months.

Bottom Line: As a small business, you know that the people you hire can have a huge impact on your success. LinkedIn has a number of valuable tools that can help when looking for your next great employee.

With this new update, more qualified candidates will be searching for employment opportunities than ever before. Make sure your profile is set up to help your business get discovered.

5. Which video format is better for engagement: Facebook or YouTube?

This week, a new study from Socialbakers, took a deeper look into the type of engagement brands are seeing from online videos on Facebook. The goal of the study was to uncover which was more likely to generate engagement: links to YouTube videos or videos uploaded directly to Facebook.

The study, which looked at 3,684 YouTube videos and 458 videos uploaded directly to Facebook from January 22 to January 27, found that when it came to likes, comments, and shares—both types of video were almost neck-and-neck.

Results were close in each category but overall, Facebook videos achieved a 40% higher Engagement Rate (0.25%) than YouTube links (0.151%).

Bottom Line: Videos offer a huge engagement potential for your small business marketing. According to Facebook, posts with videos generate 100% more engagement, on average than text-only posts.

While in this study, videos uploaded directly to Facebook won out when it came to Fan engagement, we still recommend starting with a site like YouTube.

By uploading to a video sharing site like YouTube, you’ll not only open your video up to YouTube’s viewership but you’ll also be able to get more value out of the videos you create. You’ll be able to share them on Twitter, Pin them on Pinterest, post them to Google+, add them to a blog post, or embed them in your next email newsletter.

Here are a few resources we put together to help you get started:

6 Kinds of Online Videos You Can Make Without Spending a Dime

8 Steps to Making a Video That Goes Viral

Find more social media marketing tips on Social Media Quickstarter page. 

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