Inbox Love Exclusive Look At Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail

Yesterday at the 2014 Inbox Love conference we got an exclusive demo of Google’s New Inbox by Gmail app. Inbox is Google’s new application for desktop and mobile devices that was released last week. Shalini Agarwal, Senior Product Manager, Gmail Inbox, shared what Inbox is all about at Inbox Love, as well as some valuable insight into the Gmail teams thinking on the future of email clients. She stressed that Inbox’s development will be driven by user feedback and that Google wants it to become a major platform for organizing communications and daily life. To add on, Agarwal confirmed that Gmail and Inbox will continue to be developed separately, and hinted that at some point in the future the features from Inbox may start to merge with Gmail.

So with that, let’s dive in to some of the key points to get ready for Gmail Inbox. Inbox was created on the tenant that inbox placement and relevancy was more important than the time an email was sent at. Agarwal commented several times that “email starts with the user and we built Inbox with the end user in mind.”

The Gmail Team tried to make an easier way to organize and manage email with Inbox. It starts to bring some of Google’s search engine DNA into email as well (although this wasn’t stated outright). When you search for “Puppies” on the Internet, you don’t get the last thing some random person posted about “Puppies.” You get a categorically scored page that matches the search term. With its new management and organization features, Inbox puts a further burden on marketers to send relevant email, instead of potential junk or spam mail. It also opens up new content opportunities that marketers can use to their advantage.

Agarwal pointed out several key features that really make Inbox stand out as a go to option for email.

Highlights: I thought this was one of the better features of Inbox. “Highlights” lets you see message content, including images and videos, right from the main inbox screen. When you hover over a message, you can swipe across the screen to see the messages content. This capability, like Grid View, represents an opportunity for marketers to make an impact by surfacing highly engaging content that their subscribers can digest and engage with quickly.

Bundles: The “Bundles” feature of Inbox let’s users group messages together based on similar content. Today, Gmail has tabs and labels to help do this. When you click on a bundle, it expands the list so you can see all the emails that came in in that category. For example, you could set up a “Travel Bundle” and have all your flight, hotel, and rental car info available to you in the same place.

Inbox Bundles & Highlights

This is an example of a Travel Bundle that is showing Highlights. It is taken right from the main Inbox by Gmail Screen.

Snooze: Just like it sounds like, Snooze lets you hit the pause button on emails and set a reminder to look at it again. Swipe the message to the side and it automatically brings up a window to set a reminder time, or a later date. You can also send the message to the trash too.

Inbox Snooze

Swipe the message to the left and a “Snooze” button appears. Then set a reminder for you to view the email again in Inbox by Gmail.

Reminders & Assist: This is a neat little feature built into Inbox. You can create “Reminders” within Inbox, and its “Assist” feature will automatically attach other useful information to the message, such as an email, address, phone number, and hours of operation. With Reminders, users can essentially create a virtual to-do list. With a simple click, for example, you can create a Reminder to set up a dinner reservation, or call your boss on an important topic.

Pin: How many of you have tried to save an email for later? Some life hacks for this have included marking a message unread, putting it in a folder, flagging it, or changing the sort order of your email. Inbox has a decent solution for this problem. The “Pin” feature let’s you “Pin” an email to the top of the inbox. There is a toggle at the top right that lets you show pinned messages only when it’s flipped on. Never lose key emails again, just “Pin” them.

Inbox Pin & Assist

This is a screenshot from the “Pin” page of Inbox by Gmail. Emails that were pinned end up here, saved at the top of the inbox for easy access. These emails also display the “Assist” feature showing relevant information in the “Highlights” pane and when they are opened too.

Overall, Gmail Inbox is a big change from the traditional email client but it’s on to something. We’ll post updates and tricks for Inbox as we learn more as well. The only way to get Inbox by Gmail today is through an invite from a current Inbox user or by emailing inbox@google.com to request an invitation.  If you have questions or if we can help, shoot us a note at contact@movableink.com.

The Solution to iOS 8’s Video Problem

A few weeks ago we discovered that Apple had changed the way it rendered HTML 5 videos in email on iOS 8 devices.

Here’s a recap. Let’s say you used agileEMAIL to embed a video in your email (because we know including videos within email makes it more engaging). When subscribers opened your email, your video would appear as a poster image with a play button, but the video didn’t play within the email itself. On top of this, your subscribers had no easy way to reach the video’s targeted landing page once video playback was complete.

It isn’t clear that Apple will revert back to the way they used to handle video in email—so our Engineering team crafted a solution within agileEMAIL that works with iOS 8 AND improved on the user experience!

Here’s how it works:

  • • When subscribers open an email with an embedded video, the video poster image appears with a play button.
  • • When the play button is tapped, QuickTime is launched within the mobile version of Safari, and the video plays in fullscreen mode.
  • • In addition, you can now direct subscribers to the video’s targeted landing page—after video playback is complete, your subscribers can tap “Done” followed by the browser’s back button. This launches the video’s targeted landing page within Safari, making it faster and easier for your subscribers to reach the video’s landing page.

If you have any further questions about this, please contact your Client Experience team, or email support@movableink.com.

Movable Ink Announces Responsive Design For agileEMAIL and Inkbrush.com!

Movable Ink Responsive Image

Go From Concept To Code, Generating Email-Ready HTML In Minutes

We are excited to make a big product announcement this morning! The team here at Movable Ink has worked hard on the latest innovation in email design, and now through agileEMAIL, Marketers can generate fully responsive email templates going from campaign concept to email-compliant HTML in minutes. With a simple upload of their templates, marketers can send emails that render optimized formats and content for desktops, mobile phones, and tablet devices. The new responsive design product is available for marketers to use today, and has been built into agileEMAIL’s Workflow tools as well as Inkbrush.com.

“agileEMAIL has helped us improve the effectiveness of our email and gotten us great results,” said Coleman Easley, Email Marketing Manager at Excentus. “We are excited to use Movable Ink’s new responsive email tools to further improve the quality of our messages to take advantage of our rapidly increasing mobile traffic. Movable Ink enables us to send rock solid email that is optimized for our members to consume at any time on any device.”

“One of the hottest topics we get asked about is responsive design for email,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Movable Ink. “We’re excited to offer marketers a bulletproof solution to design and code their emails, ensuring they are optimized for the device a subscriber uses to read it. It is a great complement to agileEMAIL’s real-time content and email optimization capabilities, and a new tool for marketers to add to their toolbox. Marketers want to spend less time writing code and more time bringing their creative ideas to life.”

Key capabilities of agileEMAIL’s new responsive design solution include:

  • - Automatic email-compliant HTML code generation
  • - Create re-usable responsive email templates
  • - Device detection for optimal email experience
  • - Email compatibility reports on major email clients
  • - Intuitive hosted email design for desktop and mobile templates
  • - Build from HTML, PSD, JPG, PNG, or Gif files
  • - Email version control for mobile and desktop
  • - Centralized link and content management for email
  • - Seamless integration with email service providers

Click here to learn more about the new responsive design announcement and here to view the full press release.

Announced in July 2014, Inkbrush, by Movable Ink, is a hosted email design and coding solution, that is easy and fast to use, and free forever.

For more information about driving email ROI by personalizing emails in the moment, contact us at contact@movableink.com or at 1-800-270-6033.

Apple Pay + Email: Reducing the friction to purchase

Apple Pay Image Via Mashable

Yesterday Apple announced that Apple Pay will arrive on Monday October 20th along with the iOS 8.1 update. This is exciting for marketers and further puts an emphasis on the ever-growing importance of mobile. With Apple Pay, consumers can complete purchases by simply scanning their finger on their iPhone (6 or 6 Plus) or iPad (Air 2 or Mini 3). It’s being championed as the solution that will start the consumer shift to mobile payments. But what does that mean for you, especially for your email program?

We’ve cooked up some potential email Apple Pay integration ideas that could be possible through agileEMAIL when iOS 8.1 is released on Monday. With agileEMAIL, you can target by operating system and optimize content for the device it’s read on. These are key capabilities when driving usage of a new mobile payments solution.

1. Use Email To Drive Participation with Apple Pay.

There’s a land rush now to be the first payment provider in Passbook. When a subscriber running iOS 8 opens up an email, target them with a message to add a payment method to use with Apple Pay. Deep link from the message right into Apple’s Passbook where the subscriber can scan in their credit or debit card using the iPhone’s or iPad’s camera.

2. Click To Buy Buttons In Email

Fewer clicks and less data entry mean more purchases. Click to purchase buttons aren’t new in email, but now you can link your emails to Apple Pay and remove steps on the path to conversion. After clicking in an email, take the consumer right to the shopping cart or straight to the checkout page where they can use Apple Pay. Working towards this will reduce clicks and abandonments on mobile.

3. Geo-Target Subscribers Near Stores That Accept Apple Pay

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users can take advantage of Near Field Communication (NFC) to use Apple Pay to complete their purchase at the store, rather than pulling out their credit card to swipe. Use agileEMAIL to geo-target consumers, displaying local maps or lists of nearby locations that accept Apple Pay. You can even provide a coupon to add to Passbook to redeem in stores that accept it. This can be a highly engaging way to capture that user and drive clicks to bricks.

On Monday when Apple Pay launches, keep in mind that not all iOS 8 users will be able to use it. Plan your campaigns accordingly. We know this much though – demand for devices that support Apple Pay is high. Over 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units were sold on the first weekend these devices were available and by the end of the year they’ll be sold in 115 countries. Furthermore – the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 launch alongside iOS 8.1 on Monday. Apple Pay has the potential to be a huge hit.

Click here for a demonstration of how agileEMAIL will help you take advantage of Apple Pay.  If you have any questions, we’re glad to help.  Contact us anytime at contact@movableink.com.

What iOS 8 Holds in Store for Email

[Update 10/29/14] We found a solution to this problem. For more information visit http://blog.movableink.com/the-solution-to-ios-8s-video-problem/


Just ahead of the iPhone 6 launch last week, Apple rolled out the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 8. The release brought a number of great new features, but it also contained a few bugs.

We’ve conducted some testing on the Mail app in iOS 8 and have identified that HTML5 video is not functioning as expected. Videos appear as a poster image with a play button, but when you tap the button, the video doesn’t play.

All other versions of iOS continue to play video correctly, and as of today, only about 7% of all email opens have been from recipients using iOS 8.

In the meantime, our developers are working to identify any possible workarounds that could be applied from our side to resolve the issue.

Check back with us as we’ll post updates soon as we have more information.

How Recent Gmail Changes Impact Mobile Deep Linking In Chrome

mobileoptimizerLast week, we hosted the latest in our series of agileEMAIL tutorial webinars, this one on integrating social media features like live Twitter feeds and deep linking into mobile apps. Deep linking is a powerful way to drive subscribers to your various social channels, and we’d like to fill you in on some recent updates Google has made to Chrome that affect how deep linking works on Android devices.

First, if you’re directing Android users to a mobile app in your emails but they don’t have the app installed, users are now directed to the app’s download page on Google Play; this means that they can’t be taken to a default URL that you specify. In addition, when you’re setting up deep linking for Android, you must now use an app link scheme called an Android intent, which requires you to specify the package that’s associated with the app (for more information on this, see App link structures for mobile deep linking and Deep linking into Android apps on our Support Center).

To accommodate these changes, we’ve updated agileEMAIL to fully support the new app link scheme required for Android.  If you have specific questions about this, please each out to your Client Experience team directly, or contact us at support@movableink.com.

For more information, please send an email to us at contact@movableink.com.

Comedy Central’s Marketing Strategy Is No Joke

The following post is an excerpt from a story that appeared in the September 2014 edition of Direct Marketing News covering Comedy Central’s marketing program.  Written by Elyse Dupre, Associate Editor. Copyright Direct Marketing News 2014.  Click here for the full story.

comedy_central_horizontal

Content that’s in sync with consumers? Nooice!
…if Comedy Central wants consumers to engage with its content experiences, then it needs to make those experiences valuable and accessible. So, instead of forcing consumers to search for its content, Comedy Central puts the right content in front of them on the right platforms.

One way Comedy Central does this is through email. By working with real-time email marketing company Movable Ink, Comedy Central updates its email content dynamically based on its subscribers’ open times. For instance, if customers open a Colbert Report email in the afternoon before the show airs, Comedy Central can include a tune-in-tonight message with a preview link, Steele explains. But if they don’t open the email until the next day, Comedy Central can change its message to information about last night’s show and include a link to the full episode.

“Our engagement rates and open rates have gone up dramatically [as a result],” Steele says.*

tosh.O

In this email promoting Comedy Central’s tosh.O show plays a video in the message to promote the new episode, and can change call’s to action after the episode airs.

Adjusting email content based on device is another way Comedy Central stays in step with its fans. If consumers open a Daily Show email on an iOS device and they have the Comedy Central app, they can click on the email and go straight to the app to watch a full episode, Levitt says. However, if fans haven’t downloaded the app, the network can include a link inviting them to do so. Comedy Central launched its app this past April and received more than one million downloads in less than six weeks.

“We’re being strategic in terms of what options we give you and how we make it easier for you to find  the content that you love,” Levitt says.

*Since implementing Movable Ink’s technology and taking a more mobile-centric approach, Comedy Central has experienced a 20% increase in email opens and clicks, Steele adds. …

For more information, please feel free to reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.

Holiday Email & Beyond: Drive Store Traffic Through Email

One of the hottest topics in e-commerce is how to successfully deploy an integrated cross-channel marketing strategy. It’s a focal point because we live in a world where you can buy online and have the order delivered before brushing your teeth that night (well almost that quickly). You have to start somewhere, and fast because holiday is right around the corner. Why not test some tactics to drive in-store traffic through email to boost store visits this holiday?

Whether you’re selling limited inventory items, providing an in-person service, selling consumable goods, or simply being the digital marketer tasked with driving traffic to your store, we can all leverage email to achieve our goals. It’s no easy task getting a shopper to move from their chair to your store, but we’re here to help you tackle the mountainous challenge. Here are a few things you can do (all made easy to execute through agileEMAIL) to start integrating your stores with your email in time for holiday 2014.

1. Local Store Information In Email

A quick win you can implement to drive foot traffic through email is to include local store information right in the message the recipient is reading. Make it as easy as possible by displaying information consumers need to know such as your store name, address of nearest location, hours of operation, a local map, phone number, and/or store events. Take it a step further and use a web crop to show real-time inventory or available appointment times right in the message. This can all be done through geo-targeting based on the current location or a zip code on file.

Finish Line Maps & Coupon         Finish Line used local maps to share the nearest store location and hours with their subscribers.  They also included coupons to use in the store.  Steve Madden included deep linked social icons to promote social sharing alongside of store visits in their email to accomplish the same goal.

2. Classic Couponing, With A Twist

Express Mobile CouponCouponing, discounts, and deals aren’t new news (especially at holiday). But they are easy to make, easy to display, and easy to redeem. Including them in email is a no brainer but the call to action and how they render can drive more traffic to the store. According Movable Ink’s Q2 2014 U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report, almost 2 out of every 3 emails are opened on a smartphone or tablet. Mobile optimize your email creative (like Express did to the right) and enable customers to bring the email to the store via their mobile phone for the clerk to scan for use, or to reveal its true value. Using mobile optimization email marketers can create device specific HTML that could render a barcode at the top of the screen for ease of redemption and search in the inbox too.

3. Promote Holiday Events Through Social Integrations

Holiday marketing initiatives take on a life of their own, and for many take over the entire store. For example, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade generates a lot of social buzz and Bass Pro Shops converts their floor space into a holiday winter wonderland. Consumers like to share their experiences and turn to Facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest to do it. Pull in social feeds around your handle or promoted hashtags this holiday to add consumer sentiment and authenticity to your email. This not only shows what your company is up to, but also highlights and utilizes user-generated content. Further, you can set up your email to deep link with pre-populated tweets that the recipient can share. Measuring engagement is easy by tracking participation, such as the number of hashtag uses, @ mentions, and new followers compared to a regular day. I’m sure your social team can tell you the value they bring!

7_for_all_mankind_social7 for all mankind ran a friends and family promotional series that included twitter feeds and ran contests driven by pre-populated tweets (click-to-tweet via deep linking in agileEMAIL).  The social integrations worked making their friends and family promotions successful.

 

 

 

 

4. Measure Success

For short-term engagement measurement, look to the click through rate and email read length. Test how creative performs and see how localizing store information improves performance. In the control version, specifically look at the click-through rate of a generic “Find your nearest store” call to action vs. click-through rate of the dynamic localized version. What percentage of people clicked through to the store locator page versus the percentage of people who likely saw the map in the email? To measure foot traffic and dollars, collect email addresses at the point of sale and tie these back to those who received the email with the store information versus those who did not. These quick tips will help impact the performance of email to drive traffic to the store.

Driving consumers to the store through email can seem like a big challenge. You can start tackling it by providing your customers with the relevant information they need to know about nearby locations, promotions, and more. We’re here to help too and are available around the clock this holiday season. Email us at contact@movableink.com if you have questions about how you can use email to drive more traffic to your stores.

Introducing Movable Pink!

Movable Pink Est. 2014

We are excited to announce Movable Pink!  This Spring we officially launched Movable Pink, the women’s employee network here at Movable Ink.  Last Wednesday we took Movable Pink public with the first external event, in the form of a networking cocktail party for women in Digital Media and Tech. – check out the pictures and recap here: www.MovablePink.com.

Stay tuned for more information on future Movable Pink events and great updates on this new blog.

The Movable Pink Team

Holiday Is Almost Here! Are You Ready?

Steal These IdeasSeptember is in full swing and so is planning for the upcoming holiday season. Over the last few weeks we have hosted the first two 2014 Holiday Hit List webinars and next Tuesday at 1 pm we’ll be hosting our third called “Steal These Ideas.” Our client experience team pulled together some of the best email strategies we’ve seen over the last year and put them into an “easy to steal” and/or replicate format for you to use this year.

To foreshadow the webinar, we pulled together a post for the Only Influencers blog.  With just 74 days left until Black Friday, we wanted to share it here with you to help spark some ideas.  You can also use it as a guide to get a jump start on your 2014 holiday email too.

Over the last few years, there has been a shift from Black Friday & Cyber Monday “events” to a weeklong Thanksgiving extravaganza! A few clients we work with said they’ve seen sales tick upward before their “sales” even start, as much as a week or two before Thanksgiving. Let’s start thinking about how to best serve our customers and help achieve our own targets at the same time. Consumers are on the hunt for a good deal, and they want to know what’s happening and when. But they don’t want their inbox to be so full that they can’t get the information they were looking for before buying.

With that said, here are a few quick ways that you can effectively strike that balance and drive success during the 2014 holiday season. 

1. Mobile Optimize Email – Each quarter Movable Ink releases a consumer device preference report. It shows how consumers use smartphones, tablets, and PC’s for email. In the latest edition, almost 2/3 of brand marketing emails were opened on mobile devices. This is no longer a new trend but the norm. Further – tablets are the choice device at night and on the weekends. Over 50% of your traffic could come from smartphones and tablets this holiday season. Think about how you can take advantage of that traffic through mobile optimization to capitalize this holiday season.

2. Personalize Email – Personalized email drives 3-5x returns over traditional messages. It can be as simple as adding the recipients name and account information into the email, or as complex as a truly 1:1 triggered message. If you have not incorporated some personalization into your email program, look into ways to start doing it today. Product recommendations are a quick win, or go further and start personalizing content and offers within each message too.

3. Location, Location, Location – Geo-targeting can increase your performance by as much as 25%. Simply considering the cultural and weather differences across the country will impact response rates to emails received. So when it’s snowing up north and warm down south tailor your messages, offers, and calls to action based off of regional differences to increase engagement and click rates.

4. Email For Store – Within your holiday email, promote nearest store locations or promotions happening in the store. It’s a fast way to start utilizing cross-channel promotion. Don’t forget the consumer doesn’t see your email, website, or storefront as different channels, they see it as one company they buy from. Integration will improve the customer experience.

5. Flash Sales – Black Friday built its name on retail sales volume, and deals available to consumers. Turn your Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails into marketing machines and promote time sensitive deals through them. Send a few emails over the course of the day promoting the next available offer, or even update the same email every hour with a new deal. We helped a retailer execute this strategy and they drove a 99% increase in email revenue year over year for cyber Monday in 2012. They got great results again in 2013.

6. In The Moment Email – One of the biggest innovations in email is the ability to pick what to display in real-time at the moment of open. We have been locked into a pre-send decisioning world for so long that we haven’t even thought about what could be done if we could target and adapt messages after we click send. This is an emerging capability that when mixed with any of the five above can drive upwards of 20% increases in dollars per message. Use the data in the world around you to optimize on the fly, find out what creative drives the best results, and get better insight this holiday season too. 

We’ll dive into these and more next Tuesday at 1 pm eastern during our “Steal These Ideas” webinar.  Click here to register today.  As always, if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance please reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.