The Nokia 3310’s official comeback conquered the news around the world last month, but what’s all the hype about? My initial observations would say it is all down to one thing: nostalgia. People dreaming of simpler times when the mobile phone was only used for calls and texts, and you didn’t need to charge your phone more than once a week. Basically, a time when Zuckerberg was still at school and a tweet was a noise a bird made.
The Nokia 3310 seemed to be the perfect phone… in 2000. However, because most of us are NOT living in a hipster village where everything nostalgic is instantly better. In 2017, what we do need is a phone that assists us in performing daily tasks in this fast-paced smart world. Here are some facts to consider if you are thinking of falling into this retro trend of nostalgia.
According to a report published by Radicati Group, on average business individuals receive up to 88 emails a day, and are expected to react to some of them immediately; an interaction which smartphones handle beautifully. The Nokia 3310, on the other hand, can only be used for making and receiving calls, texting, playing Snakes (yes, I loved it too!) and taking pictures (on a 2 MP camera and assuming you have an SD card). So straight away, it means the 3310 user is out of touch with the online world, unable to check their emails, incapable of searching the internet and cut off from social media platforms. All the dozens if not hundreds of daily online interactions you make, suddenly gone.
To illustrate the percentage of recipients who currently open email on their mobile device, we’ve run some browser analysis reports in our email marketing platform, Enabler*. The report reflects campaigns that have been sent in the past 12 months, between March 2016 and March 2017.
Here are the findings:
(Enabler statistics from two separate insurance companies)
In just 12 months, emails have seen a 64% increase in opens on a mobile device, up from 31.7% (Figure 1) to 52% (Figure 2)… so imagine what the increase has been since the 3310 was alive and kicking?!
Interestingly, if we break down the Mobile Device Analysis further, we can see that 99.5% recipients opened the email via Apple iOS devices which includes iPhones and Tablets.*
(*Please note, this is just an example and devices may vary depending on the target audience and or industry.)
So, let’s assume that your customers have decided to stick with their handy smartphone rather than switching back to the stone ages of a not-so-smart phone (sorry Nokia).
What can be done to ensure emails are well received on any device, and that the overall user experience meets recipients’ expectations?
The good news is that there are quite a few software providers that enable you to preview your email templates to see how they would display on a recipient’s’ mobile device, thus enabling you to optimize your emails for the apps and devices your subscribers use.
Example below illustrates how an email campaign displays across different devices.
And now here’s an example of how that same email would display on Nokia….
Oh, wait… it won’t.
Joking aside, here are some more ways you can make sure your emails look great on a smart mobile device:
Another important mobile optimisation tactic is stacking modules into single- column templates. If a desktop version email is simply shrunk into a smaller mobile version, a recipient would have difficulties reading email content, and this impacts engagement/clicks. Modules allow the email content to stack on top of one another so that the desktop version rearranges and resizes into a mobile -friendly version that delivers a better user experience.
However, you may find that the modules sequence is different to the one in desktop version. That’s when the developers step in with their programming skills, ensuring that the modules’ logical order is from left to the right, and the email width is decreased. There is also reverse stack order option where the columns go right to left, depending on content hierarchy.
For more information on stacking modules, see our blog on Top 10 Email Coding Tips.
The reports we ran in Enabler indicate that subject lines under 50 characters long get the highest percentage of both open and click-through rates. The reason for that is two-fold; firstly, as famous psychologist, George Loewnstein said once, the short subject lines generate curiosity. The second one is that most recipients’ mobile devices only display 50 first characters of the subject line. Here’s an example of what you’d see if you tried to see a subject line of an email on a Nokia.
Making sure your copy is legible is one of the main things to concern yourself with when creating emails for mobile. You’ve probably noticed that this experience varies from email to email. For instance if the font is smaller than approx. 13 pixels it will not display large enough on smart phones for anyone to be able to read it, especially not your tech-forward granny.
In fact, some devices will automatically increase any font size that is below 13px. You can set the font size to display differently on mobile than it does on desktop in your code. Nokia is actually pretty good at letting you set font sizes… but unfortunately this is only on the phone itself… as it doesn’t support email.
Taking all the above into consideration, it seems a no-brainer that the Nokia 3310, or any other non-smartphone would not be of much use to the vast majority of mobile users in 2017.
Obviously I’m coming from an email perspective here, but it’s not just email that suffers without a smartphone. The importance of receiving and reacting instantly to internet-based communications such as calendars, project updates, social media, apps, GPS and a good quality camera, to mention just a few, seem far more relevant than just having the nostalgia of a Nokia 3310 and Snakes. I predict that the Nokia comeback will only be as one-off addition to a smartphone, and will most likely be just a fleeting fad – but hey, what’s life without fun fads right (that’s right Flappy Bird, I’m talking to you).
There is, however, one plus-side to the Nokia 3310 that beats the smartphone hands down… you will probably need to take a sledgehammer to it to crack the screen!