A recent survey by Marketing Sherpa found that 64% of decision-makers regularly view their email on a mobile device. Furthermore, The Nielsen Company reports 40% of the time users are on their mobile devices is spent interacting with email. The trends behind these numbers have spurred marketers to explore different email design techniques in order to tailor their messages to smaller screens.

While it is important to be aware of how your email renders across mobile devices, it is more important to be mindful of what percentage of your audience is reading email on their phones, and what percentage is reading email on their PCs. Before you go all-in with a narrower, mobile-optimized design, you should analyze whatever audience operating system and device data is available, and decide which design techniques make the most sense for your list compo­sition.*

After you’ve collected data on your various messages, you’ll need to decide what actions to take to produce the best results. You may find that the vast majority of recipients are viewing messages on a PC and no changes are necessary, or that your weekly alert – a simple one-column layout with your logo on top – looks fine on both mobile devices and PCs, requiring no mobile-specific treatment. On the other hand, you may find that a significant number of recipi­ents are interacting with your messages on a mobile device, and that your monthly newsletter – a two-column, 650 pixel width email with a table of contents and supporting images – looks great on a PC, but is very cumbersome to navigate on a smartphone.

So what are your options for producing a design-optimized message for the most recipients? The remainder of this document addresses three different scenarios:

1. Most recipients view your messages on a PC

2. Most recipients view your messages on mobile device

3. Your list consists of roughly the same amount of PC and mobile device viewers

Design