Monthly Archives: April 2013

It’s Here! The Inkredible Five: The Best Agile Emails of Spring 2013

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We are excited to introduce the first edition of The Inkredible Five. Each season, the Movable Ink team will look back on the best agile email marketing campaigns we’ve seen over the past few months, and recognize a few for being truly exceptional.

So, what makes an agile email campaign stand out? We’re looking for brands that are breaking the mold like we’ve never seen before. Campaigns that are innovative and dynamic in ways that maximize engagement and delight the consumer. In no particular order, we honor the top five campaigns of Spring 2013. Congratulations to these companies for unleashing their creativity.

Click here to download The Inkredible Five.

Movable Ink Partners with PulseConnect to offer Agile Email Solutions

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We’re pleased to announce our partnership with PulseConnect, a technology platform that helps brands manage the customer lifecycle through the delivery of personalized and timely messaging across email, mobile and social.

Our Agile Email Marketing solutions will allow PulseConnect clients to make their emails responsive in real-time to each recipient’s context at the moment of open.   

“The PulseConnect team understands that their clients are fighting for attention in a crowded inbox, and that implementing Agile Email Marketing solutions will allow those engagements to be as relevant as possible. We are happy to be working closely with a partner who sees this value clearly,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Movable Ink.

“Our clients are very agile and adaptive when it comes to their websites. Movable Ink solutions will allow our clients to do the same in email. This is a huge change from static email content at the time of send to interactive real-time email based on context,” said Shelly Alvarez, Director of Strategic Services for PulseConnect.

For more information on Movable Ink’s partnership with PulseConnect, please visit PulseConnect’s blog.

Movable Ink engineers featured in article on Amazon Web Services

Two of our engineers, Olivier Lauzon and Lee Bankewitz, were quoted earlier this week in a TechTarget article on their SearchCloudComputing site entitled “Startups omit in-house IT with Amazon Web Services.” Read on for the excerpt below, or view the full article here.

Startup companies, in particular, are focused on growth. Since those organizations are intent on expanding, they choose cloud computing for its ability to scale.

Movable Ink, a New York-based email provider startup, deployed AWS for its scalability and storage savings. Engineer Olivier Lauzon said the cloud helped the company decrease host provisioning times and costs, and it reduced the amount of restarts IT had to do. 

“The cost of storage on the hosts we were using was prohibitive,” he said. “Initially, it was mostly about savings, but once we were storing the data properly, we realized there was a whole ecosystem of AWS tools.”

Small businesses also are drawn to AWS because those companies are less likely than enterprises to afford in-house security tools and encryption capabilities. AWS bundles in encryption features for which startups would otherwise have to pay a hefty price. 

“Especially for startups, having a good encryption infrastructure is really key,” Lauzon said. “Enterprises are used to having that already.”

Plus, enterprises are more bureaucratic and have internal politics that dictate cloud decision-making, said Movable Ink engineer Lee Bankewitz. That could prevent those companies from adopting AWS, but there are plenty of reasons enterprises might need the cloud. They can deploy cloud services to separate groups within the organization if certain divisions want autonomy and less interaction with IT, he said. “Data processing is where enterprises will need AWS,” he added.

Reactions to our “Shock Study”: Mobile Opens & the Android Surge

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Earlier this week, a new study from Movable Ink was featured in The Magill Report, “Shock Study Reveals 69 Percent Email Opens on Mobile.” Here’s the link to the article, and here’s the link to our original study and infographics.

As we mentioned in our interview with The Magill Report – other companies have reported on mobile opens before, but our numbers reflect a special data given our enterprise B2C marketer focus (others’ reports haven’t necessarily broken out B2B vs. B2C or enterprise vs. SMB). We’d also characterize our dataset as heavily drawn from very well known and trusted retail and apparel brands, with consumer financial, travel, media, and telco brands included in the mix.

A lot of things stood out to us when looking at the numbers, but one thing that stood out the most which wasn’t a focus in the article was how high Android smartphones showed up: almost 24% of total opens. Recipients have to proactively enable images in most, if not all, Android smartphone email clients—as opposed to iOS, which loads images by default—which has historically resulted in Android opens being dwarfed by iOS, not under by the mere net 10% we found in our March 2013 study.

To get to the bottom of this, we asked some of the email marketing industry’s best and brightest minds to share their thoughts on why our Android smartphone numbers were so strong.  Below is a round up of what they said.

Manny Ju, Director of Product Management, BlueHornet

“I’ve never believed that the primary role of reading emails on smartphones was to triage them. How did people triage their emails before smartphones were invented? By reading the subject lines. Do people suddenly overnight change their email reading habits of the past ten years just because they bought a smartphone? No; people triage their emails the way they always have been even before smartphones. People do use their smartphones to read emails and use it as their primary email reading device. Glad to see that more studies such as those from Knotice, ReturnPath and now Movable Ink are dispelling that urban myth.”

Anna Yeaman, Creative Director, StyleCampaign:

“I’d planned to email you to get your take on the Android numbers. I don’t doubt them or the ~70% findings especially for enterprise B2C, we’ve many clients over 50% and I just did some work for a client with 71% mobile. 

Are users more likely to enable images from enterprise retailers – giving you more accurate Droid stats – as there’s so little HTML text so it’s enable or get nothing? Also the dynamic nature of the content might play a small role, in that designers made a bigger effort to get users to enable images or users have come to anticipate the dynamic content.

As you mentioned Galaxy S3 is going head to head with the iPhone (as is the HTC One X amongst my dev friends) so this brings more affluent – possibly female – shoppers to Android (not just techies and people looking for a cheap phone).”

Jay Jhun, Vice President of Strategic Services, BrightWave Marketing:

“With so many people reading email on smartphones, I’m wondering whether people using Gmail for Android are finally getting tired of tapping the ‘Show Pictures’ or ‘Display Images’ for every email that they open.  Each tap is becoming more valuable as people spend more time using their smartphones.

There’s also a select few retailers who’ve included a snippet of dynamic content for their gmail domain audience where recipients are encouraged to ‘star’ the email whereby the images come on by default.”

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George DiGuido, Head of Email Marketing, Airbnb:

George asked, “Are these international mailers or primarily US domestic? I can tell you that our numbers vary pretty drastically when comparing countries against one another.”

George made a great point – and we would expect that smartphone vs. tablet vs. desktop email breakdowns will vary based on geography.The dataset in our March 2013 study was mostly composed of US-based (and focused) companies, with a handful of big brands based in the UK and EMEA.

Tom Sather, Director of Professional Services, ReturnPath:

Tom chimed in to echo George’s perspective: “When we looked at opens by region, we saw great variances across countries. Brazil, for example, overwhelmingly opens email through webmail and desktop, but only 14% do so on mobile, see: http://www.returnpath.com/resource/email-mostly-mobile/.

“It also varies greatly by industry (which we have broken out in the above infographic). We actually found similar results to Movable Ink when it came to B2C, specifically retailers. Where over half of subscribers check email on mobile, and in our last report on the holiday period, we saw mobile opens at about 60% for the top 100 retailers: http://landing.returnpath.com/email-intelligence-report. It doesn’t surprise me that the number is higher now considering more people probably received iPad Minis and iPhone 5s under the tree for Christmas.”

Tim Watson, Founder, Zettasphere:

“The default images-on for iOS skews open figures higher. I did some analysis of clicks by mobile device to remove the default images on/off question with opens. Android was under-represented in terms of opens based on the click analysis.”

We don’t doubt Tim’s findings, but would be interested to learn more about the dataset that he analyzed and what his findings were in terms of how many users actually clicked through on messages when images weren’t loaded.

Campaign of the Week: Finish Line’s Jordan Retro 8s

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This week’s featured Agile Email Marketing campaign is from Finish Line, and shows the power of pairing social media with a countdown clock to drum up excitement for a highly anticipated product launch. Vince PeGan from our Customer Success team worked with Finish Line on this campaign, and gave his perspective on what made this email stand out. 

Brooke Burdge, Marketing Manager: What was Finish Line looking to accomplish with the Jordan Retro 8s campaign?

Vince PeGan, Customer Success: The Jordan Retro 8s have a huge following, and sneaker fans were extremely excited about the upcoming release. The team at Finish Line wanted to build buzz around the start of the sale, while also giving their customers answers to questions they might have about the shoe’s launch.

BB: How did this email achieve their goals?

VP:  They accomplished their campaign goals in two main ways: First, Finish Line used our Countdown Clock app to embed a dynamic, ticking clock in the email that showed the hours, minutes, and seconds remaining until the Retro 8s would be available. Doing this added a sense of urgency and transparency around the time-sensitive promotion.

Second, they used our Tweets app to embed the @FinishLine Twitter handle and the company’s latest tweets directly into the email message. This allowed customers to easily see some of the latest questions and answers related to the Jordan Retro 8s. Showing real-time conversations about the shoe added a powerful element of social-proof. Sneaker fans were able to see the conversation happening live online, which gave them a more compelling reason to join in.

BB: What do you think is the big takeaway from this Agile Email Marketing campaign?

VP: It all comes down to the customer’s experience. Finish Line kept their customers in mind throughout each step of this campaign’s development. They understood how much their customers were anticipating the release of this shoe, and used live tweets to address customer inquiries by answering the most common questions ahead of time, and pushing those conversations into email. At the end of the day, by utilizing multiple Movable Ink apps, Finish Line was able to deliver a truly engaging experience to their customers.

To learn more about incorporating live content into emails, visit the Movable Ink Platform page.

Infographic: Email Opens, March 2013

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Charts are based on data collected by Movable Ink’s Advanced Analytics platform between March 1 – 31, 2013. They reflect aggregate statistics across Movable Ink’s customer base, which includes more than 100 enterprise B2C marketers from the retail, travel, financial, media, and telecommunications industries.

Because determining email opens requires images to load, the percentages for some device-types and platforms might be over or underrepresented.

For additional coverage of this data, read The Magill Report’s interview with our vice president of marketing, Jordan Cohen, “Shock Study Reveals 69 Percent Email Opens on Mobile.”

Movable Ink Appoints Industry Expert Matthew Potter as VP of UK and EMEA

Today we announced that industry expert Matthew Potter has joined the company as Vice President of UK and EMEA. Based in London, Potter is charged with leading Movable Ink’s growth in the region through strategic sales, partnership, and customer success initiatives.

Potter brings deep industry experience and expertise to his new role. Prior to joining Movable Ink, he had spent 10 years at Experian Marketing Services and was one of the founding members of Experian CheetahMail in the UK. Potter’s progressive experience at Experian included senior leadership roles in client services, product marketing, and strategy.

“I believe that the world of marketing is changing, and that email marketing in particular is ripe for innovation,” said Potter. “What attracted me to Movable Ink was its vision of the future of email marketing, its cutting-edge technology, and the traction it’s seeing with brands of global scale.”

Movable Ink has seen increased overseas demand for its platform in recent months, and has signed agreements to power Agile Email Marketing campaigns for leading UK and EMEA-based organizations, including Barclays, Emirates, Lastminute.com, Playfish, and others.

“We are thrilled to have an executive of Matt’s caliber join the team to lead our continued growth in the UK and EMEA,” said Vivek Sharma, co-founder and CEO, Movable Ink. “Matt will be instrumental in educating the market on how Movable Ink can help organizations conduct email marketing more efficiently and effectively through the use of agile communications that adapt to the recipient in real-time.”

Full press release available here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/4/prweb10635508.htm

Campaign of the Week: American Eagle Outfitters’ T’s and Tanks

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Once a week, we’ll be sharing a recent campaign that stood out to the Movable Ink team as a creative use of our Agile Email Marketing technology.

This week, I sat down with Customer Success Manager Andre Prevot to discuss a stand-out campaign from American Eagle Outfitters.

Brooke Burdge, Marketing Manager: What was the main goal of this campaign?

Andre Prevot, Customer Success: The goal was to use Movable Ink’s Creative Optimizer app in order to test user engagement and response to two very different presentations of a promotion in real-time, and to optimize the campaign on the fly based on which one was receiving the most clicks.

BB: How did this campaign differ from others you’ve seen that make use of Movable Ink’s Creative Optimizer app?

AP:  With the Creative Optimizer app, we are able to see mid-send how an A/B split test is performing, and change to the better-performing creative after the email has already been sent and is sitting in a user’s inboxes.

Typically, marketers swap a single image for another. However with this campaign, each presentation of the promotion consisted of several image slices and had two different click-through destinations. Furthermore, the white and yellow variations were drastically different, which is the basis for a compelling test.

BB: Can you share more details about the campaign, including any results?

AP: The campaign was launched on a Sunday in the late afternoon, and by early Monday morning, we could see that the white variation was drastically outperforming the yellow one. After seeing the test results, we were able to push the white creative to replace the yellow in real-time. This meant that even though the email was already sent out, anyone who opened it going forward would only see the white creative.

Changing the creative resulted in a 101% lift in click-through rate, at a 100% confidence level.

BB: What’s the biggest takeaway from this Agile Email Marketing campaign?

AP: The key takeaway here is that when you test creatives that are drastically different — that’s when you’re able to achieve the most substantial lifts in click-through rates. This was an elaborate test design, but was certainly worth it.

BB: Thanks, Andre!

To learn more about how to maximize your click-through rates and campaign performance, give us a shout at sales@movableink.com.

Deep Linking in Email Marketing: How it Works, and Why it Rocks!

We were excited to hear that Twitter unveiled new “Twitter Card” types at its latest developer conference last week. These cards enable “deeper linking and engagement into other apps you may have on your phone.”

According to a post on Twitter’s blog:

“One of the most important features in the new Cards is the ability to allow users to download your app (if the user doesn’t already have it installed), or deep-link into your own app (if the app is already installed on the user’s mobile device). The ability to enable app installs and deep-linking is globally available across all Twitter Card types…”

The beauty of deep linking is that it eliminates extra clicks, brings content closer to consumers, and enables people to more easily take the actions they intend on taking. This eliminates friction from the process of taking action (for example, launching and using a mobile app), resulting in more people actually taking the action that you’d like them to.

We’ve been a big fan of deep linking at Movable Ink for a long time now, and proudly offer it as a core feature of our Agile Email Marketing platform.  Below, Movable Ink’s Co-Founder and CTO Michael Nutt explains how the technology works:

“Deep linking in email works like so: When you create an app and submit it to the app store, you can register what are called “protocol handlers” that are name spaced to your company, for example Facebook’s is fb://.  Anytime someone clicks on a URL using the protocol handler and they have your app installed, the app will open and receive instructions within the URL to launch a specific action – for example, opening a Facebook message composer with a pre-written note. However, if someone clicks on the URL and your app is NOT installed, they will receive an error message indicating that there are no registered handlers for that protocol.

Movable Ink enables deep linking in email while avoiding the error-message problem using an iframe technique in a web page. When an email link is clicked, a web page is loaded, and the iframe’s source is set to the protocol handler URL. If the app is already installed, it launches immediately. If the app is not installed, the click – rather than returning an error message – automatically directs the user to download the app. Failing both those conditions, a timer will trigger after half a second in order to seamlessly redirect the user to a mobile web page.  This creates an optimal user experience across all possible situations.”

Here are some recent examples of emails that leveraged device detection with deep linking from Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” Seamless (the food delivery experts), and American Eagle Outfitters.   You can also read a case study about Seamless’s use of deep linking to increase app downloads by 50% and food delivery orders by 90% here: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/case-study/email-mobile-app-downloads.

If you’d like to learn more about deep linking in email, give us a shout!