Last Friday, I sat in on our Key Accounts team’s weekly meeting to talk tactics, bust myths, and swap embarrassing first email accounts. Top of the agenda: email engagements – specifically the recorded 7% rise in average reading time.
According to a report from Litmus Email Analytics, the average time spent reading an email is now 11.1 seconds, up 7% from 2011. The percentage of emails read for more than 18 seconds has also grown to 44.4% compared to 38.4% in 2011.
Consumers’ attention spans are expanding, indicating a promising rise in email relevancy.
We debated the possible reasons for this marked increase. Certain shifts in the industry certainly point towards a combination of trends that have boosted reading time:
- Some clients have seen a shift in opens on iPhone and Android devices. Those engaged will arguably spend longer reading their messages on mobile devices than they would on desktops, particularly now that brands are realizing the importance of responsive design.
- Better message previews on mobiles mean that customers have a better idea of the content each message contains, allowing them to better judge the time they’ll spend on the email. Those they may not have time for, they’ll save for later.
- We’re in the age of the empowered customer. With more customers happy to disengage with a brand who’s not providing them with the experience they’re after, and with tabs in ISPs like Gmail offering better user control over their inbox, consumers are probably feeling more positive about their emails and are spending longer reading the content they want.
- Content sits atop the throne in email marketing strategy. Companies that may not have felt the need to provide value adding content before – like travel comparison sites and transportation brands – are increasingly under pressure to produce content-led emails that nurture long-lasting relationships with brands. These emails will obviously take longer to read.
It’s clear that brands are moving in the right direction when it comes to providing engagement-driving experiences for customers. Email will always be your digital key to unlocking the best ROI from your digital marketing, and with attention spans expanding and consumers taking more time to connect with your content, there’s never been a better time to evaluate that side of your marketing strategy.
Take a look at our most recent cheatsheet, 5 winning emails that don’t include the word ‘sale’, to get the top insight on creating content-focused email campaigns.