Monthly Archives: May 2013

Gmail’s “New Inbox” Heightens Urgency to Adopt Real-Time Email Technology

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The email marketing industry is all abuzz over the announcement of Gmail’s “New Inbox”.  According to Gmail Product Manager Itamar Gilad, “the new inbox groups your mail into categories which appear as different tabs. You simply choose which categories you want and voilà! Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when.”

Based on this promotional video, it appears that those tabs will include “Primary” (personal emails), “Social” (Facebook and Twitter notifications), “Promotional” (marketing), and “Updates” (transactional messages, e.g., order confirmations).

Gilad’s post states that “The new inbox is rolling out gradually” and “If the new inbox isn’t quite your style, you can simply switch off all optional tabs to go back to classic view, or switch to any of your other favorite inbox types.”

There are conflicting messages in Gilad’s “New Inbox” post. Specifically, the big question is whether users will in fact “choose which categories” they want and tag messages, or if the tabs and sorting will be done for them, with the option to then “switch off” the new tabs.

The New Inbox X Factor

Marketers should keep in mind that this isn’t the first time Gmail has rolled out a “sorting” feature. “Priority Inbox” was rolled out 3 years ago, which classified some messages as more important than others. I can’t find data to back it up, but my sense is that most “regular folks” opted to not use Priority.

The big X factor around yesterday’s announcement will be whether users actually adopt the “New Inbox” or say “No thanks, keep me on Classic”.  People who use email have their own, age-old systems for organizing and managing it, and in general the human condition is resistant to change. But, we’ll have to wait and see.

What Happens if the “New Inbox” Takes Hold?

If the New Inbox does, in fact, become widely adopted, marketers would be right to be concerned about declining Gmail open rates. But, at the same time, opens in the “Promotions” folder will likely be more engaged, higher intent opens.

The other thing to consider is that opens in the Promotions folder will likely occur well after marketers click the “send” button. “One day only” sales might expire by the time a recipient views the email. Inventory might no longer be available. The urgency around adopting agile, real-time email technology will heighten in order to ensure that messages are relevant at the moment of open, as opposed to the moment of send.

The inbox will continue to evolve. The tough question marketers have to ask themselves is whether they’re up to the challenge of evolving with it.

Off Topic: The [Mis]pronunciation of “GIF”

An innocent email forwarded by one of our Sales Directors, Chris Tucker, set off a chain of unfortunate reply-alls. Chris shared an article that made him come to the shocking realization that he’s been mispronouncing “GIF” (the acronym for Graphics Interchange Format) all his life, which caused him to react as follows:

dramatic chipmunk

Below is the geeky office banter that ensued:

Michael Nutt, Co-Founder and CTO: “GIF” as in “gift” forever!
Vince PeGan, Customer Success Manager: GIF for life, no peanut butter.
Alison Lindland, Customer Success Manager: Just don’t look a GIF horse in the mouth.
Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO: Ok, ok… enough. GIF me a break, I’m trying to get work done.
Olivier Lauzon, Senior Engineer: This is a GIF that keeps on giffing.
Jason Valdina, VP of Product: Forgif me for asking this, but how do you pronounce “JPG”?
Matthew Potter, VP of UK and EMEA: Never known a bunch of people could get so ‘animated’ over GIFs.

Emails We Love: Hyatt Reservation Reminder

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Hyatt together with pinkUsing Movable Ink’s agile email marketing platform, Hyatt added a real-time weather forecast into reservation reminder emails. For example, the email to the left (click to view full-size) was sent from the Hyatt Regency Chicago to upcoming hotel guests and contained the 7-day forecast for Chicago that you see above, in addition to itinerary details.

By including weather information in the reservation reminder email, Hyatt not only helped their guests pack accordingly, but simultaneously demonstrated a high level of customer service before guests even stepped foot on the hotel property.

With Movable Ink, it’s also possible to show a real-time weather forecast based on the email recipient’s current location at the time of open, rather than a pre-specified location. Click here to see an example of personalized weather targeting in an email from Seamless.

Questions? Email us at contact@movableink.com.

Infographic: Read Length, April 2013

Movable Ink Infographic - Read Length by Device April 2013

Chart is based on data collected by Movable Ink’s Advanced Analytics platform between April 1 – 30, 2013. The chart reflects 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. Read length is ascertained through a Movable Ink tracking pixel embedded in the email.

Below is a collection of reactions to this infographic from the Movable Ink team. What do you think about the data? Add your comments below, or share reactions on Twitter by mentioning @movableink

“On mobile devices with smaller screens, it takes longer to read the entire content of an email. Read length might therefore be inversely correlated to device size, usability, and readability.” – Olivier Lauzon, Senior Engineer

“Folks on mobile devices are oftentimes multitasking—walking and reading, having a conversation while the inbox is open, etc. Maybe these users are getting distracted while their email messages are still open!” –Lee Bankewitz, Director of Engineering

“The mobile experience provides windows of time for immersion into content. Little moments, like waiting for a train or standing on line to pay for something, may provide those precious 15 seconds that allow us to spend more time reading through an email. This is likely one aspect of why we are seeing longer email read lengths on mobile phones.” – Jason Valdina, Vice President of Product

Click here to download the Read Length, April 2013 infographic as a PDF.

Is Mobile the Trojan Horse of Social-Email Integration?

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There has been plenty of discourse on “mobile-email” and “social-email” integration, but are marketers taking full advantage of the opportunity to tightly integrate all three?

As our infographic from March 2013 revealed, as many as 69% of B2C enterprise email marketing campaigns are viewed on smartphones or tablets, with desktop representing just 31% of total opens. In addition, recent research from Forrester forecasts that by 2018, the number of U.S. social media users accessing Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn on mobile devices will exceed 200 million (to put that number in perspective, the total U.S. population is currently about 315 million). Forrester also noted that the share of time spent on mobile social networking apps continues to increase, and social media apps are among the top apps that smartphone users use.

So how can marketers make all three of these popular digital channels—mobile, social, and email—integrate more seamlessly? 

Forward-thinking email marketers are doing this by deep linking to mobile apps. We covered deep linking last month (check out the blog post: “Deep Linking in Email Marketing: How it Works, and Why it Rocks!”), and shared a few examples of how brands like Comedy Central, Seamless, and American Eagle Outfitters have used deep linking to promote downloads and usage of their brand’s own mobile apps in email campaigns, and have seen great results.

But the macro-trends point to another, major untapped opportunity: Deep linking in email to native-installed social media apps that are ubiquitous on most users’ mobile devices—like Facebook and Twitter. The chances of these apps being on your users’ phones is greater than your own mobile app being installed, after all.

How it works: A mobile email user can click on the Facebook icon next to your logo, and be brought directly to your company’s page inside his or her installed Facebook mobile app, as opposed to prompting www.facebook.com to open in their mobile browser. Yet, if they opened the same exact email on a desktop, www.facebook.com would open. Movable Ink’s technology can detect the open device and check for mobile app installs all within milliseconds, allowing for an optimal user experience.

Twitter stands out as a unique social media use case for deep-linking. We’ve helped leading consumer brands enable pre-populated tweets in email by using deep-linking to the Twitter app. For example, an email recipient can “click to tweet” and if on a mobile device, their Twitter app will open with a pre-populated tweet of the marketer’s choosing. If the recipient opens the same email on a desktop, www.twitter.com is loaded with the same pre-populated tweet ready to send out. Customers can more easily engage with brands on Twitter, and marketers can prompt consumers to share specific language, links, or hashtags.

We’re excited about the ability to deep link to social media apps on mobile, and see this innovation as a game changer for marketers who are hoping to integrate their digital channels. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or reach out to us at contact@movableink.com with any questions or thoughts.

Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Movable Ink, featured in “Pulse of the Alley” article

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Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Movable Ink, spoke with AlleyWatch about our recently-announced $11 million Series B funding round. The new funding will enable Movable Ink to accelerate our aggressive growth, expand our global footprint, and further develop our platform to meet the increasing demand for agile email marketing solutions.

Below is an excerpt from Vivek’s interview with AlleyWatch. You can read the full Q&A here.

What was the funding process like working with some notable investors?
Far easier than raising our first $50,000! A seed round is a bigger leap of faith for an investor.  B rounds require real traction, a great team, and multiple signals that a company can become a category leader. We also learned a lot about running an effective and streamlined fundraising process.  You want to find the people that will be great partners to the company. We are delighted to be working with the team at Intel Capital.

For more of Vivek’s thoughts on what the new round of funding means for Movable Ink’s customers and the future of agile email marketing, read his post on the Movable Ink Blog. If interested in reading more coverage of the funding, check out the articles in Business Insider, TechCrunch, and PandoDaily.

Emails We Love: Seamless (Weather targeting)

Seamless Weather

This email promotion from Seamless included a 3-day weather forecast at the bottom, targeted for each recipient’s location at the time of open. On days that showed rain or thunderstorms, the creative beneath the forecast read: “Don’t get drenched. Order in!”

Click image to the left to view full-size.

 

A look inside Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer email

Get Inside Amy Schumer w pink

Last week, Comedy Central launched an innovative agile email as part of the overall promotional campaign for the cable network’s new series, Inside Amy Schumer.

The email, shown to the left with live content highlighted in pink, was sent in advance of the premiere and included live tweets from Amy, as well as an embedded video of the show’s trailer. To learn more about this email, I spoke with Vince PeGan from our Customer Success team who collaborated with Comedy Central to create this campaign.

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

Vince PeGan, Customer Success Manager: Comedy Central wanted to encourage viewers to tune-in to the premiere of Inside Amy Schumer. To do this, they incorporated a video teaser of the show and a live Twitter feed of Amy Schumer’s tweets.

BB: What do you think adding the latest tweet from Amy Schumer into the email helped accomplish?

VP: Adding the latest live tweets informed fans Amy that was live-tweeting during the show’s premiere. It also gave fans a glimpse into Amy’s personality and humor while as she interacted with fans. Social is a real-time activity. If you want to engage more subscribers in these conversations, showing live tweets is the best way to get participation.

BB: What do you see as the biggest advantage to having video, like the show’s trailer, play directly within the email, rather than alternative ways to share video content?

VP: The biggest advantage is how this significantly simplifies the experience for the user. The video can play immediately within the email itself instead of opening in a browser. The video will optimize based on the user’s email client, allowing the viewer to see the best possible experience—whether it’s video, an animated GIF, or a static image.

BB: What do you think is the biggest takeaway from this campaign?

VP: This campaign is a perfect example of how email has the power to successfully integrate with other marketing channels. When you integrate social media and video with email, this significantly improves the subscriber experience.

 

Thanks, Vince! To learn more about the benefits of agile email marketing, check out the Movable Ink platform or contact us directly.

Movable Ink Secures $11 Million in Series B Funding Round Led by Intel Capital

Investment will accelerate Movable Ink’s growth and strategic product development initiatives

NEW YORK, NY, May 9, 2013 – Movable Ink, the leading provider of Agile Email Marketing technology, today announced that it has raised $11 million in a Series B funding round led by Intel Capital. Previous investors Contour Venture Partners, Metamorphic Ventures, and ff Ventures also participated in the round. The new funding will enable Movable Ink to accelerate its aggressive growth, expand its global footprint, and further develop its platform to meet the increasing demand for agile email marketing solutions.

“We believe that email marketing can deliver real value to consumers and enable brands to shine a positive light on their great products. But the process for creating relevancy has been extremely difficult. Our mission is to make email marketing faster, smarter, and goal-driven,” said Vivek Sharma, co-founder & CEO, Movable Ink. “This new funding will enable us to bring unprecedented innovation to leading email marketers and their customers by leveraging Intel Capital’s successful track record and the global network they bring to their portfolio companies.”

Movable Ink’s platform enables marketers to create agile email marketing campaigns that adapt and are optimized in real-time based on each recipient’s time, location, device, and social graph, at the moment of open. More than 100 brands including American Eagle Outfitters, Barclays, and Verizon use the technology to deepen engagement with their consumers and drive greater response to email marketing campaigns.

“Movable Ink revolutionizes the most entrenched global communications channel – email,” said Christine Herron, Director, Intel Capital. “The company’s platform transforms email marketing by making each e-mail as dynamic as a web page, creating tremendous value for brands and consumers. The team has established market leadership through major partnerships with top brands in a remarkably short amount of time and we are excited to help them continue to disrupt the email market.”

Movable Ink previously raised $1.3 million in its seed and Series A rounds, bringing the total raised to date to $12.3 million.

About Movable Ink
Movable Ink is the leading provider of Agile Email Marketing technology. Since the channel’s inception, email has been frozen in time when a marketer hits the “Send” button. With Agile Email Marketing from Movable Ink, email can now be dynamically updated in real-time based on each recipient’s time, location, device, and social context at the moment of open. Hundreds of innovative brands such as American Eagle Outfitters, Seamless, Lilly Pulitzer, and Finish Line use Movable Ink to enhance customer engagement and increase marketing ROI. The company is based in New York City and is backed by Intel Capital, Contour Venture Partners, Metamorphic Ventures, ff Ventures, Kima Ventures and email veterans such as Bob Pittman, Andy Russell, Josh Baer, and Alan Laifer. For more information, visit www.movableink.com and www.pinterest.com/movableink.

About Intel Capital
Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment and M&A organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, mobility, health, consumer Internet, digital media and semiconductor manufacturing. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$10.8 billion in over 1,276 companies in 54 countries. In that timeframe, 201 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 317 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2012, Intel Capital invested US$352 million in 150 investments with approximately 57 percent of funds invested outside North America. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit www.intelcapital.com or follow @Intelcapital.

Movable Ink Raises $11 Million

As you may have read today in TechCrunchBusiness Insider, and PandoDaily, Movable Ink just announced a $11 million raise in a round led by Intel Capital.

It seems like yesterday, but in October 2010 – just two and a half years ago – Michael Nutt and I were bouncing around email-centric product ideas after a decade of having built web-based products. Email? Isn’t that a passé form of communication in a real-time, Tweeted, Facebooked, Instagrammed world? It turns out that email is far more exciting than we could ever have imagined.

Email is a ubiquitous communication standard – a garden with no walls – and the connective tissue that drives engagement with websites, mobile apps, and social media. But it is also a channel that had been under-explored by digital innovators. While the web, mobile, and social media marketing had been moving at a real-time pace, email – potentially the most impactful marketing channel – wasn’t keeping up with this speed.

When we discovered a way to deliver content inside an email in a live fashion, we didn’t anticipate it evolving so quickly into a full-fledged Agile Email Marketing platform that over 120 global brands have now come to depend upon. Our investors and customers believed in our vision and continue to bet on this huge area of innovation. We wouldn’t be here without them, and for that I am forever grateful.

The $11 million raised in our Series B will go towards building out a more comprehensive vision for the future. We now have the resources to tackle a very ambitious product roadmap, expand our presence into international markets, and continue to attract the brightest minds to a world-class team executing on the vision of Agile Email Marketing. Most importantly, we will remain laser-focused on delighting our customers by helping them, in turn, delight theirs: Great marketing adapts to the consumer and shines a spotlight on the best facets of a brand and its products.

Movable Ink is eager to move the marketing industry in a positive direction, at the speed of real-time. Thanks again for all of your support.

Sincerely,

Vivek Sharma
Co-Founder & CEO, Movable Ink