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Responsive-Aware and Mobile-Aware Design See Gains as Marketers Focus on Production Cost


Seventy-seven percent of B2C brands have adopted mobile-friendly email design approaches, up from 56% a year ago, according to joint research between Litmus and Salesforce into mobile-friendly trends. However, those gains were not the result of brands adopting sophisticated responsive and hybrid email design.

Instead, they were the result of brands adopting mobile-aware design and responsive-aware design.


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Mobile-aware and responsive-aware emails are popular because they are easier to produce than hybrid emails and fully responsive emails, which essentially involve designing and coding at least two versions of every email—one optimized for desktops and another optimized for smartphones. By designing a single-column email with large images and text and large, well-spaced buttons and links, mobile-aware design allows marketers to create a single email design that works across all screen sizes.

Responsive-aware design uses responsive elements mainly for the header, navigation bar, and footer of an email. Since these sections tend to have small text and tightly clustered links in desktop versions, they benefit the most from this approach. They’re also the part of an email that rarely changes, so this coding can be worked into your template using partials and reused without the need to touch the code between sends.

The Potential Downside of this Trend

Efficiency in an email marketing production process is great. As we highlighted in our State of Email Production report, a range of tools can be used to speed up production, including Emmet, task runners, static site generators, and email templates built with the design approach that best suits your operations.

However, be careful that you’re not defining efficient as “low cost.” You should pay greater attention to the subscriber experience and return on investment, as these are higher order markers of efficiency. Yes, responsive and hybrid email design approaches require more production time and more highly trained email developers. But those additional costs might easily pay for themselves and then some by delivering a more compelling email experience to your subscribers.

Add responsive designs into your workflow

Kickstart your next campaign with one of Litmus’ pre-tested (and free!) templates. Each template comes with a responsive, hybrid, and mobile-aware version that can be used with any ESP.

Access the templates →

Chad S. White

Chad S. White

Chad S. White was the Research Director at Litmus