Which email clients should we design and test for? 2014 update
It's important to agree the target email clients you want the email to be displayed in when briefing an agency to develop a new email template or enewsletter layout. Of course, large volume senders will want the email to render in all, but for smaller businesses it's OK to target and test a smaller number.
Traditionally the main email clients to target were the main webmail services plus different Outlook versions.
- Yahoo! Mail
- Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010
B2B marketers would have added different versions of Lotus Notes and Blackberry with Gmail becoming more important through time amongst professionals.
In 2014 this is radically different - you also need to think really seriously about how emails will render on different mobile platforms.
This 2014 infographic has the data published from their clients for the whole of 2013 - it's from the excellent Litmus Email Client Market Share blog which you should check out for the latest month-by-month figures if you need them.
The main summary clearly shows where you need to focus your email testing - there was little change during 2013 with small increases with the growing adoption of Android phones and Gmails change to default display of images - you can see the impact in November.
Email client popularity data from previous years
This has been superseded by the latest Litmus data, but we've kept it here for students of email or those who like to see the evolution of infographics - I prefer the clarity of the new one - simplicity rules!
To find the popularity of the different clients, it's worth checking out the market share compilations. This new infographic on popular email clients from Litmus shows the current popularity of email clients that email marketers should target. It's based on 1 billion opens from marketing emails sent worldwide over 2011 and into 2012.
For comparison - Email popularity in 2010
Litmus also had a useful review of the most popular email clients from 2010.
This compilation shows that the ones most companies should check for are as above, but Apple Mail and iPhone are getting more important and perhaps surprisingly are more important than Gmail, so those should definitely go on the list to target and test against too.
Mark Brownlow has written a companion post comparing email preview software tools.