Results from a responsive email redesign

By Ros Hodgekiss on 30th July 2013

After switching over to a responsive email template, how soon is it before you start seeing results? In the case of The Fetch, just a few short weeks, it seems. In a recent blog post, they spilled the beans on what they noticed following their newsletter redesign; could "going responsive" give your newsletter a well-needed lift, too?

So, the story begins like this:

"It would be great if our two columns could be one on mobile devices. We need a designer!"- @thefetch

When our good friends at The Fetch tweeted the other week that they really needed a responsive email template, we couldn't let the call go unanswered. For one, The Fetch is a newsletter that helps professionals discover events across the globe. It's curated by a grassroots team of volunteers – and we subscribe to it. So, there was just a little self-interest involved when we decided to put a little time and effort into redesigning their template.

Another thing that motivated us was that this provided a rare opportunity to observe what benefits could come from a responsive redesign, without the added variable of having the template change considerably overall. In many cases, going mobile-friendly has coincided with a serious re-think of the entire newsletter - from branding, to layout and content hierarchy. There was no need to completely overhaul the visual appearance of The Fetch, so chances are, only subscribers reading the updated newsletter on a mobile device would notice that there had been any change at all.

The results

As it turns out, the team behind The Fetch's San Francisco guide was delighted to receive a hand with their email template and even more so when the updated template was delivered to them later that day. Here's what the final desktop vs views looked like:

The Fetch San Francisco, now responsive

A couple of weeks into switching to this new template, the results have been hopeful. From the aforementioned blog post:

"It’s also been interesting to see how our metrics have altered in a short period of time. Our unsubscribe numbers (which are already < 0.5%) appear to be going down and trackable forwarding of the emails has gone up. My conclusion is that readers are more likely to switch off, disengage and remove themselves when they can’t absorb what’s in front of them."

In addition, there's been a real improvement in overall usability on mobile devices...

"Before, The Fetch involved a bit of pinch and zooming to be legible on a mobile and due to the amount of links included, could look overwhelming. The forward to a friend/coworker link was also hard to locate pre-responsive days and now it’s nice and clear."

... not to mention, many positive comments about the new design.

While this hasn't been a highly controlled, scientific study, noticeably less unsubscribes, more forwards and a better experience for The Fetch's San Francisco subscribers aren't insignificant upsides from just a few hours' work.

Many thanks to Kate Kendall and The Fetch for sharing their experiences on their blog. Now, I'd like to turn the mic over to you. Have your newsletters undergone a responsive redesign? What have you observed? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Comments

  • Luke
    31st July

    I can’t see how that can be attributed to responsive design.

    They should have A/B tested the content to have a true answer.

  • Dan Black
    2nd August

    Agree with Luke… they are in fact insignificant since you have no test control to prove against.

  • David
    3rd August

    What happened with the links? How is now the click rate?

  • Joe John
    8th August

    A/B tests are subjective anyways. You still can’t get any real insight from them because there are too many variables.

  • Kate Kendall
    30th August

    Thanks for the comments guys. As mentioned in the post, the intention wasn’t to create a controlled study beforehand (we’re a very small team at The Fetch so are mostly focused on delivering to our weekly deadline at the moment). Our content is very similar in each digest and forwards were rather non-existent before so it doesn’t take an AB test to be aware of the impact. Ping me directly if you’d like any further insights! And cheers again Ros and the Campaign Monitor for your amazing product and support.

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