Email marketing is thriving

Email marketing is thriving

Litmus are a trusted friend to those that dare venture into the shiny but often confusing world of email marketing. They not only provide tools for building and testing your emails so they look their very best (when sent via your favourite ESP of course), but also lead research into the various trends and happenings in the world of email. The wealth of information they gather from customers and others involved in the email community is passed on via emails, blogs, conferences and other resources to help promote best email building and marketing practice, and thus the best possible customer experience.

Handily, at the beginning of the year Litmus take what they’ve learnt and compile a report of what happened in the year gone, along with educated predictions about what will affect email marketers in the year to come. You can grab yourself a copy of the 2019 State of Email Report at the Litmus Blog. It’s a long old beast, so we thought we’d pick out some of the key highlights.

Email Client Share for 2018

Litmus tracks over 890 million opens worldwide across a variety of industries and market sectors. Month-to-month you can see a snapshot of each Email Client’s Market Share in terms of what devices and email readers were used to open emails. At the end of the year, the overall share each client had is worked out. 2018 looked a bit like this:

Statistics © Litmus Software, Inc

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the lion’s share of email opens (29%) was on Apple iPhone’s native Mail app, with the Gmail App following very closely behind at 27% – so 43% of all emails were opened on a smartphone! There follows a big drop down to the iPad Mail app at 9%, then the Outlook desktop reader seems to have gained in popularity since last year, coming in neck-and-neck with Apple’s Mail for Mac.

Of course, this is a fairly broad picture. But with each email client having their own requirements for how you build your emails, whichever ESP you use it’s important track your own campaign stats so that you can work out the email clients that are actually relevant to your own business. This way you can build and target your email campaigns appropriately.

Aaaargh! GDPR!

2018 was a landmark year for many an email marketer due to the introduction of the EU’s General Data and Privacy Regulation, or GDPR. The primary focus is to make sure that personal data is only collected with the clear, informed, unambiguous consent of the ‘Data Subject’. So it is especially important that email marketers have a way to record their subscriber database’s explicit consent to receive marketing emails.[chart]

Statistics © Litmus Software, Inc

Although there were fears that organisations’ mailing lists would be hit hard, this has in fact turned out not to be the case. In fact, around 60% of GDPR-compliant organisations lost less than 10% of their subscriber database, most of which were either inactive or unengaged enough not to be of any real value anyway. To put a positive spin on it, this presented the opportunity for many organisations to carry out a good old spring-cleaning exercise.

In other news

  • In the world of Apple, September 2018 saw the release of the latest iPhones: the XS and the XR. Oh, and the launch of iOS 12.
  • September also brought us a shiny new Microsoft Outlook 2019. Its inbox uses much the same kind of Word-based nonsense as before to display HTML emails, but with a nicer UI. webmail has improved support for CSS media queries and other HTML accessibility attributes. An update for Outlook 2016 caused a collective gasp of amazement, as animated GIFs started – animating!
  • There is much afoot in Gmail Towers, as they commenced rollout of a new Gmail UI. Simultaneously, a target date of March 2019 was set for killing off of it’s sibling, the Inbox mail app. Fret not, however, a few of the handier features will be migrated across to Gmail, including: suggested unsubscribes (for emails that see less interaction); email smart-reply suggestions (for one-click replies); ‘follow-up’ suggestions (emails that seem to need urgent attention placed at top of inbox); and even a ‘snooze email’ function. Machine learning comes to the Promotions tab as a means to bundle these emails more intelligently, organised by theme or topic e.g. ‘Top Deals’ or ‘Top Picks’ etc. Gmail mobile app users will see the return of the ability to add a ‘featured image’ right in the Promo email preview, as well as the option to display even more supporting information – a business logo, promotion codes, deal expiration dates etc. However, as per Google usual, expect it to take a while to make it across the entire Gmail infrastructure)
  • Finally, Oath – now known as Verizon Media – aquired and is now in the process of merging the Yahoo! and AoL webmail platforms into the same infrastructure. This may lead to ESP tracking confusion as Yahoo! email opens may be mixed together with AoL email opens until a way to distinguish between them is given. In addition, image caching similar to Gmail has been introduced, so you may not be able to track an email in Yahoo! or AoL being opened more than once. Grrr.

The last word

2019 promises to be an exciting year for email and email marketing. Despite the occasional doomsayers, this report actually shows that the email is thriving as one of our most trusted forms of personal communication, complimenting rather than being replaced by instant messaging services.

Not bad for a nearly 50-year-old technology!

Mike Nicol

Digital Designer & UX Craftsman at NewZapp