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The Email Revolution

by Mario Andrianto

From a series of triggers to a blast of emails, when it comes to the customer journey, email is still paying dividends for marketers. In fact, email has captured 23 per cent of total journey interactions – up 270 per cent year over year.

If we step back a couple of years, we can see how email has evolved from both a technical point of view to how the industry has changed their strategies around it.

Back then, desktop blast emails with a “dear name” personalisation were adequate. Subject lines with call-to-actions were the only things you really needed to get by.

However, the trends keep on changing.

With the introduction of media queries, CSS3 properties, responsive templates, fluid hybrid, and the rise of mobile market share (over 50 per cent of emails are opened on a mobile device) – email’s aren’t just electronic letters anymore.

Inconsistent and old-fashioned HTML support in email clients has been the major challenge for email as a medium for innovation. Not all email clients support the most advanced approaches: Outlook and Gmail in particular.

The perceptions of email started to change as the big players – Litmus, Campaign Monitor, Freshinbox – kept on pushing the boundaries. Fusing ancient email technology with web designs and finding ways to implement immersive, dynamic and interactive ideas within email.

In today’s digital era, most marketers are trying to achieve a website experience in an email by having full-width panel, HTML5 video, and interactive modules. These can be collapsible menus, rollover, tabs, and hamburger menus using HTML and CSS script known as “kinetics”. They help subscribers interact and view more indepth content without having to move away from the email in their inbox. The idea is to improve the user experience while simultaneously increasing click-through rates.

With the launch of the Apple Watch (and growth of the wearable market), as well as differences in rendering engines for Office 365 and Exchange accounts, testing has become more of a challenge. Preparing emails for all of these different formats and layouts means more time looking at compatibility and ensuring content is device agnostic.

On the other hand, the release of iOS 9 will make life easier with more support of responsive images and progressive image enhancement, as well as more advanced CSS support.

In future, personalisation, dynamic, and real-time content will also be supported by the next generation of marketing platforms. The technology to produce more rule-based and complex triggered matrices mean we will be able to share more tailored and targeted messages. This means more control over customer journeys and the ability to collect data that segments key information across channels. That data is far more valuable to marketers than just broadcasting your advertising to a database to get conversions.

Technology will keep on evolving to help us achieve these expectations. It looks like animation and interactive elements will become more popular – fluid hybrid design will become the new normal, hyper personalisation and advanced segmentation will continue to perform well.

All these changes show that marketers have been learning, planning, and reacting to reflect these changes in email clients, the channel is constantly evolving.

In short email is not dead, but email is changing.

In order for a brand to survive, it has to invest deeply in the developments that are proving to be effective: optimised templates, personalisation, segmentation, and customisation to boost customer engagements.

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