I’ve discussed how more than 50% of all email is opened on mobile devices. This is what you might call a “known known.” This fact is a great ice breaker at a marketing conference, however when you consider that more than 33% of all holiday shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday came from a smartphone, the conversation elevates from casual to game changer. If that’s not enough to get you thinking about small screens and their power, then consider that 61% of all web traffic came from mobile devices! Not only are we engaging more with email on our mobile devices today, but we’re also shopping, browsing and spending oodles of cash on our smartphones and tablets.

The mobile mindset

We all know the basics at this point: single column designs, bigger buttons, clearer calls to action and media queries/responsive designs that create as uniform an experience as possible across the seemingly limitless set of platforms and devices used to access email and the mobile shopping experience. However, there are other considerations to be had in the coming months and years regarding the mobile experience. Mobile experiences are about utility and understanding how mobile shoppers open, engage and convert. Questions that need asking include: Are they converting on the mobile, web or through an app? Are emails adequately deep linked into shopping apps to minimize the friction from browse to buy? What percentage of your consumers are using iOS versus Android? These are basic questions that you need to begin asking when the fog of 2019 clears and the sun breaks through the clouds of 2020.

Preparing for a more branded mobile inbox

A cross-industry coalition of companies are working on a new standard for improving the visibility of email in the inbox while providing incentive for the sending community to publish and enforce email authentication. Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) will allow legitimate senders to publish a trademarked logo in DNS that will be displayed by a participating mailbox provider such as Yahoo! or Gmail if they’ve properly set up and aligned their email authentication records.

Why should you care?

The inbox is under regular assault by bad actors who weaponize emails and hijack or phish brands in order to defraud recipients. For as much trust and utility that email has provided the internet, it has also created a massive gap in terms of security. Over the years, companies have tried to help educate and empower recipients through visual trust indicators such as lock icons and colored messages about the identity of a sender. Most of these don’t mean much to the average recipient – at the end of the day most people are not security experts. BIMI has the potential to change that by securing who can and can’t use a logo and then displaying that logo in the native mailbox provider, or next to emails that pass muster.

You have the opportunity to have your logo seen by a recipient before they even open an email, if you take the necessary steps to secure your sending domain through SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Brand impressions are important to stay top of mind—having the brand displayed in the inbox can be a massive differentiator. Consider the struggle of mobile apps on a device: the average mobile user has upwards of 90 apps on their device but barely uses a third of them. Over 20% of apps are abandoned after just one use – but email still remains one of the top three activities done on a smartphone. The inbox’s list view, or the view of all emails in the inbox, has been a completely unbranded experience until now. When that changes, a huge opportunity will open up for brands.

Google AMP for Email comes to mobile

In November of 2019, Google began to roll out the AMP for Email experience on Android and iOS. The interactive mobile inbox presents new challenges and opportunities for bold retailers and e-commerce companies willing to spend the extra time to code and test AMP MIME Parts. Like BIMI, taking advantage of AMP for Email will require senders to publish and align their email authentication records. A new mobile inbox that’s both interactive and more visibly branded will potentially be a more secure inbox, so long as companies understand that email must be protected from a whole host of phishers and cybercriminals actively working to exploit the channel.

Since interactive emails will allow recipients to get status updates, view fresh content, and respond directly in an email to things such as invites and comments, senders will have to begin tracking the efficacy of the new mobile inbox versus native mobile apps and mobile web sites. It’s one thing to deliver a mobile experience – it’s another to understand the impact of the experience versus existing mobile properties. Additionally, there will need to be parity in data that is displayed in emails versus that which is available in an app or on the mobile web. This has always been a requirement but the timing aspect has changed. As recipients, we’ve all experienced a situation where the offer we received, time-sensitive or not, either wasn’t available, had expired or wasn’t quite what we had anticipated when we clicked a link in an email. Now that the recipient’s experience will remain in the mobile inbox, and as it grows and becomes yet another source of truth, senders will have to take extra precautions to ensure that the curious and restless minds that switch liberally between an app and an inbox with dynamic content are given the same up to date information to prevent confusion and disengagement.

Mobile everywhere

Mobile is everywhere – and it’s becoming more challenging. Smartphones introduced an incredibly small screen and format, and if the new Motorola Razr takes off the way it’s predecessor did in the early 2000s, we may have to tackle the nuances of foldable screens as well. What happens if Motorola decides to add a screen to the front of the device as the original had? Anything is possible in the mobile world, which is why it’s rife with opportunity.

Mobile’s impact on email is not to be underestimated – we need to understand that mobile email is simply an adaptation of what we’ve been doing all along, but in a compact form that requires channel and platform-specific thinking. Before mobile, we were worried about rendering across desktop and web browsers and how no two mailbox providers would render email quite the same way. Mobile introduced new formats and wrinkles, but it also put email in everyone’s pocket in ways we’d never before imagined. The thing about mobile is that you have to measure it on its own merits and think of it as a unique means of engaging with your customers. Measure, test, iterate, measure, test some more, and make sure that your email isn’t dismissable and forgettable – because if it lacks visibility and usability in the forthcoming mobile inbox, it will be forgotten in this hyper-interactive world.

More predictions for 2020

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Len Shneyder is a 15-year email and digital messaging veteran and the VP of industry relations at Twilio SendGrid. Len serves as an evangelist and proponent of best practices and drives thought leadership and data-driven insights on industry trends. Len represents Twilio SendGrid on the board of M3AAWG (Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) as vice chair in addition to co-chairing the Program Committee. He’s also part of the MAC (Member Advisory Committee) of the Email Experience Council where he serves as the organization’s vice chair. The EEC is owned by the Direct Marketing Association of America, a nearly 100-year-old organization where he also sits on the Ethics Committee. In addition, Len has worked closely with the Email Sender and Provider Coalition on issues surrounding data privacy and email deliverability.


engagement on site

We hear a lot about increasing engagement on social media, but it’s rarer to hear about increasing engagement on your site. Yet, the engagement of your website visitors is incredibly important to the success of your company.

Engaged visitors are more likely to buy your product, recommend you to a friend, and stick around longer.

Let’s take a look at 7 ways to increase engagement on your site, and then we will show you how to measure all the progress you’re about to make.

How to increase engagement on your site

increasing engagement on your site

Let’s start by looking at some great ways to increase engagement on any website and then we’ll look at the tools GoSquared offers to measure engagement in real-time.

1. Make the content flow

content marketing for increased site engagement

Starting with something that sounds simple but in reality is difficult to get right.

Your website needs to flow. This is about your content and your navigation. Making it easy for visitors to your site to find what they’re looking for is the easiest way to keep them engaged.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Navigation should be, well, easy to navigate and offer a continuous flow that aids the visitor in getting from one place to the next.
  • Use tagging and smart recommendations to help a visitor get the most out of their own visit based on their own interests. This kind of data-backed tailored marketing is much more effective than a mass approach.
  • Break up long pages of texts with images, pull out quotes and other design elements.
  • Avoid splitting articles up onto multiple pages. For a while people thought that this would help the powers-that-be-at-Google up you search rankings but it’s just irritating for visitors and is the perfect way to encourage them to leave your site.

2. Use automated email to encourage people back

use automated email

Website engagement is not a one-time-only thing. We want visitors to return to our websites again and again. When only 2% of visitors become a customer on their first visit this is something you can’t afford to overlook.

Once you have engaged with a customer and have their email address on file it’s important to keep interacting with this person when they display interest. For example, by setting up an automated email that sends out after a known visitor comes to the website but does not complete an action such as buying or downloading an e-book.

3. Use chat prompts when visitors show exit intent

time spent on site

Some live chat tools offer the option to place chat prompts across your site. You’ll see one in the bottom right-hand corner now.

You can edit these prompts to say absolutely anything you like and they are a great way to grab your visitor’s attention or start a conversation. One of the options we have with the GoSquared Live Chat – which you can use for free to try this out – is to set a chat prompt to appear when the visitor shows what we call ‘exit intent’.

This is pretty much what it says on the tin – the visitor is displaying signs that they are about to leave your website.

By interrupting them with a chat prompt you avoid the forcefulness annoyingness of a mid-screen pop-up whilst still reminding them there’s more to explore.

4. Reduce page load times

reduce load time for better engagement

A really easy way to stop a visitor giving up before they’ve even reached your site is to have it load quickly.

A site like Pingdom has an excellent suite of tools to measure how quickly a site loads and importantly they measure this data constantly and from across many locations around the world. It’s important to remember that just because a site loads quickly in your home or office it doesn’t mean it does in Europe, China or Australia.

Trim down your web site by removing unnecessary scripts. Remember that a lot of your visitors will be using a mobile device so it’s important – actually, it’s crucial – that any website you run is optimised for different devices.

If you want to get technical we’ve written a post over on our Engineering Blog which will show you exactly how we keep our own JavaScript light and fast.

5. Make it accessible with design and function

accessibility for site engagement

Much the same as making the content easy to get to and easy to follow, the content should be accessible and legible.

Your website should be tested for basic functionality in as many browsers as possible and that includes mobile browsers. We are all used to a very high standard of web design and functionality these days. We expect sites to load in fractions of a second and for design to be beautiful and easy to use.

devices used analytics site engagement

Good, accessible design rarely means complicated design.

The content on your site should be designed to be read. Think about these things:

  • Use large and spacious fonts that render well on displays both big and small.
  • Help the text readability with neutral background colours that don’t overwhelm the text or the visitor’s eyes.
  • Make headings clear and bold to break up the sections of text and space things out with clear and relevant images.
  • Get the point across. Use images, use diagrams and use uncomplicated language. Your topics might be complex, but your words should be easy to understand.

6. A/B Test

testing your site engagement

The best solution to understanding how different designs work is to A/B test them.

This simple method shows a different layout to different visitors (usually just two are tested at the same time).

So, let’s say you wanted to increase the number of users commenting on your site, you could create a design that has a stronger emphasis on commenting and deploy it alongside your existing design.

Tools like Google Optimize, VWO, and Optimizely can test variations of a page against live traffic and return measurements on how each design performs. You can then use this information to choose which version of your site to roll-out for all visitors.

7. Be social

be social for higher site engagement

Making it easy for readers to share pages from your site on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all the rest is a great way to ensure higher engagement.

A tweet from an industry big-wig recommending a product, or a post from a friend enthusiastic about an article are great forms of social marketing.

Social media not only encourages further sharing with a level of peer-to-peer trust involved but it also helps build an audience of long term readers and loyal users.

How can you measure engagement?

measure site engagement analytics

So, you’re ready to try out some new things on your site to increase engagement time, but you’re also going to need a way to measure if your work is having any effect.

If you’ve not already got an analytics tool set up on your site then you can give ours a go for free. It’s really simple to use and quick to get started. What are you waiting for?

Got it? Ok, let’s look at how we can measure all this new engagement you’re about to get.

We’re going to use our own dashboard in these example as it’s what we know best, but you should be able to find similar features in other tools you might be using.

Time on Site

average time on site engagement

It’s impossible to use traditional ideas of bounce rate to define the engagement on a page.

What’s really important to know here is that the majority of tools register a bounce when the user only visits a single page before leaving your site. This isn’t necessarily a negative action, especially if you have a one-page website, or if your landing page gives a comprehensive overview of your offering.

Instead at GoSquared we use time as a measure of bounce, so a legitimate visit will be registered if your visitors look engaged, even if that’s only with one page of your site.

You’ll often see this referred to as “stickiness” – simply, how long does your visitor stick around for. If it’s not clear – you want a sticky site. The stickier the better in this case.

Using time on site as a core engagement metric is a great indication of whether the changes you are making are helping to keep people online longer.

If you’ve got to this point and are thinking “What on earth is a bounce?” you might find our analytics guide useful. You can download The Fundamentals of Analytics for free and get to grips with all the basics of measuring your site’s success

Depth of Visit

time spent on site engagement

Depth of visit is a way to see how many pages of your website the average visitor looks at. Whether this metric is important to you will really depend on the type of website you have. Our post on the metrics that matter to your site will be helpful in figuring this out.

Active vs. Idle

time spent on site engagement

Our visitor activity detection is incredibly accurate and powerful – we think it’s some of the best analytics software available today.

An “active” visitor is someone who has your website open on their current tab or window. AKA they are looking directly at your website.

An “idle” visitor might have your tab open in the background whilst they are looking at something else or comparing your product to someone else’s, or have gone off to make a cup of tea.

This is an important engagement metric for a lot of businesses because the higher percentage of active visitors you have it’s safe to assume your website content is more engaging and more effective than if you had a large percentage of idle visitors.

Remember that idle visitors doesn’t mean uninterested or failed visits – your website is just not grabbing and keeping your visitors in the way you might like it to.

At the core of it “Active vs. Idle” helps you understand more than just how many people are online, but how many people are actively engaged by your content right now.

Start using GoSquared to measure engagement today

start with GoSquared

We love hearing from businesses who have tried out the tips we share so please do get in touch on twitter or via live chat.

If you want to try out any of the tips in this post you can get our free Analytics tool, our free Live Chat tool, or sign up for the beta version of our Marketing Automation tool.