Nifty News

How many email marketers are actually writing “dark mode” code?

  Gregg Blanchard     Apr 12, 2022    

We marketers love new tech to play with, yet there are only so many hours in the day. But new tech also has a tendency to get headlines. And headlines tend to make you feel like everyone is doing it. And when everyone is doing it...well...marketing FOMO tends to kick in.

One of the handy things about building a platform like SendView, though, is that we have A LOT of data. Stats from 750,000+ campaigns sent via hundreds of ESPs around things like:

  • Email volume
  • ESP popularity
  • Word/emoji/etc usage
  • Spam scores
  • Adoption of coding practices

As you might have guessed, "dark mode" is one of those things we track. And as you also might have guessed, that's exactly what we're going to dig into.

April 2022 Snapshot

Let's start with where we are today. During February 2022, 5.18% of the emails we analyzed for our users contained the code that helps an email work delightfully with dark mode.

chart showing april 2022 at 5.18%

So, roughly 1 in 20. A decent sized number. But where is that number going? A fabulous question indeed.

Three-Month Trend

To find an equally fabulous answer we're gonna zoom out bit and look at this number over the last three months.

chart showing february 2022 at 5.08% and march 2022 at 4.65%, and apr 2022 at 5.15%

We started the year seeing right around 5% of all emails using dark mode code, then it dipped a smidgen in March to 4.65% before rebounding in April to 5.18%.

Is it flat? No, not really. But it wouldn't be mistaken for a hockey stick either.

From the Beginning

According to Litmus, dark mode became in thing in 2018 (for Apple) and 2019 (for iOS, Gmail, and others). At the tail end of 2020 we started flagging it in the system and building reporting around it. Here's how those 17 months look.

Dec 2020 0.35% Jan 2021 0.58% Feb 2021 0.60% Mar 2021 0.55% Apr 2021 0.90% May 2021 1.08% June 2021 1.48% July 2021 1.71% Aug 2021 1.80% Sept 2021 2.06% Oct 2021 3.87% Nov 2021 4.35% Dec 2021 4.85% Jan 2022 4.98% Feb 2022 5.08% Mar 2022 4.65%, apr 2022, 5.18%

Back in December of 2020 only 0.35% of the emails we looked at were optimized for dark mode. It took nearly six months to eclipse 1.0%. But over the following 7 months we saw this number more than quadruple to 4.85%.

The biggest jump came between September 2021 and Oct 2021 when the percentage went from 2.1% to 3.9%.

Slow, Quick, Slow

The best way to describe dark mode adoption, at least from our data set, is this:

  • Dark mode seemed to have a bit of a moment in the Fall of 2021
  • But it was slow leading up to that stretch
  • And it's been fairly slow since.

Should you join the dark (mode) side? Like all email tech, it's a question only you can answer. Dark mode is a great tool, but not all of us have the bandwidth (or email ROI) to pull it off. If you're looking for incremental wins with your audience and can justify the time to do it right?

Well, maybe you'll be part of the crowd that gets dark mode adoption up to 6%...and beyond.

P. S. Curious how many of your peers and competitors are optimizing their emails for dark mode? SendView can answer that any many other questions. Patrick and I would be tickled if you gave it try.

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