“Cheap, fast or good – pick two.”

This maxim rings true over and over again for any development project. When developing email projects, the “ring” can become a deafening siren. Despite predications otherwise, emails are still the backbone of giving campaigns and will be around for a long time. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

So, what is good development in today’s email game? Well, let’s consult the numbers (ahem, clears throat):

Top Email Clients by Litmus / November 2015

  1. Apple iPhone – 32.2%
  2. Gmail – 15.2%
  3. Apple iPad – 12.0%
  4. Google Android – 9.0%
  5. Apple Mail – 8.3%
  6. Outlook – 6.8%
  7. Yahoo! Mail – 3.1%
  8. com – 2.6%
  9. Windows Live Mail – 1.6%
  10. AOL Mail – 0.5%


Without a doubt, the most ignored section in developing for email clients are spots 3 – 5. Combined, this section represents nearly 30% of everyone who will see your email, but how familiar do these comments sound?

“Eh, it looks fine in iPad.”

“No one really uses Android. “

“Apple Mail, seriously?”

“Oh, but this Outlook issue is a major problem! Everyone at the office uses it!”

Let’s put it another way: 7 out of 100. That’s seven – seven – people out of 100 that will see your email in Outlook. All the while, 33 out of 100 people will read your email on an iPhone during a break, at lunch or on the way home from the office.

The numbers don’t lie, and the truth hurts. Valuable hours are used to fix minor issues with Outlook in the B2C space.

Now, back to our original question, “What is good email development these days?”

Good work focuses where it should, and understands maximum impact. Good work uses analytics from the beginning to design a project with clear understanding of priorities.  Put yet another way, good work moves the needle and fundraising amounts – not pixels on a screen.

This isn’t a call to abandon addressing all Outlook issues (some user bases – especially B2B – warrant both the time and money), but a hard-nosed realization that good email work is driven by the numbers.

Let’s fine-tune a CTA for iPhone and Gmail, create a hamburger mobile menu and push dynamic content in emails before fixing that spacing issue in Outlook 2003.

Look out, Outlook!