Author Archives: Laura Chau

What iOS 8 Holds in Store for Email

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.

The Mail app uses Safari to render HTML email, and Apple has indicated that version 8.0.1 will include a fix for problems with “video sometimes not playing” in Safari. Apple should be rolling out this update shortly. 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.

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.

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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.*

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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.

Bass Pro Shops Reels in Holiday Email Revenue!

Back in July Bass Pro Shops’ #REELTHANKS campaign made our list of Emails We Love.

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Their integrated digital campaign sought to increase social engagement and give back to the community through AMVETS.  They used device targeting to send optimized emails for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices as well as streamed live social feeds and used deep linking to make it easier for their subscribers to tweet and post with just a click – and it worked!  The #REELTHANKS campaign generated over 1,500 tweets and 4,000 Facebook shares.

Using agileEMAIL Bass Pro Shops increased click through rates by 23%, transactions to click rate by 53%, and mobile email click rate by 28.5%.  They execute cross-channel promotions and create in-store and digital synergies to drive customer engagement; so you can bet these strategies are going to extend into their holiday planning.

See what Bass Pro Shops has in store for their holiday email strategy and how it will reel in more holiday revenue by creating the ultimate customer experience both in-store and digitally.  Register now for our next Holiday Hit List webinar with Bass Pro Shops so you can tackle your holiday email strategy!

Email is Dead…Think Again!

You’ve heard it many times before – the claim that “email is dead.”  But that’s just not true.  In fact, TechCrunch says that email newsletters are hot right now.  They’ve seen a shift in websites encouraging readers from “liking” them on Facebook, to now getting them to sign-up for an email subscription.

So you keep hearing that email is dead, but why are publishers trying so hard to grow their eNewsletter subscription lists?  And why are readers continuing to invite email into their inboxes?  TechCrunch gives five reasons for this:

  • 1.  Email gives publishers more control: As opposed to social media where you are subject to Facebook’s algorithm or breaking through the noise of someone’s Twitter feed, email will get through to those that have made the conscious choice to sign up for your newsletter.
  • 2.  Readers pay more attention to email: Just do your own comparison.  How many email opens do you receive vs. clicks on a link you tweet about?
  • 3.  Email is cross platform: Email works on everything, even if you’re still on dial-up internet.
  • 4.  Email keeps all your clutter in one place: If you were given the choice to receive all your information in one place (your inbox) or search 12 different (social media) platforms for updates, which would you choose?  Case closed.
  • 5.  Email is the original social media: What social measurements really count when measuring engagement?  Comments and shares!  And wait, email has that too – they’re just called “reply” and “forward.”

Here you have it, email is very much alive and kicking and here to stay.  Now it’s time to be faster, smarter and more measurable about your email marketing.

3 Tips to Create Personalized Holiday Emails

The holiday season is approaching quickly.  Last week Ryan Phelan, VP of Global Agency Shared Services at Acxiom and our very own Matthew Potter, VP of the UK and EMEA delivered our first Holiday Hit List webinar about email personalization for the holidays.  Have you started your holiday planning?  What is your holiday approach?  Here are a few things to think about before you start planning:

  • What have you done so far and have you moved the needle this year?
  • How are you talking to your customers as individuals?
  • Are you just thinking about the tactical execution of your program vs. thinking strategically?

It’s easy to get addicted to a promotional offer strategy or to just send another email when you see that sales are not where you want them to be.  Kick that habit now!  Make your email marketing relevant.  Here are three email personalization tips to help you send relevant, personalized email and crush it this holiday season:

DATA: Matt defined three types of data you can use to personalize your emails.  Combine your learnings to create a message that is personalized to your customer’s environment.

Personaliation Data Sets

RECOGNITION: Ryan Phelan said “the goal of email marketing is to recognize your customer for who they are.”  Using data, figure out who your customers are and what they want to see.  Using segmentation deliver an email with the message and creative that will appeal to them.  If you haven’t segmented your list, you need to start but start simple.  Check out how Ryan show’s you how to go from a simple to complex segmentation.

TEST, TEST, AND TEST SOME MORE: Don’t let the business of holiday prevent you from testing.  Test to see what works and then what works better.  Here are a few ideas about what to test: subject line, lifestyle images, headline, copy length, CTA.  Check out this surprising example of what email won out of 84 tests in the Obama email campaign.

Watch the full webinar recording for more email personalization tips and create truly personalized emails for holiday.  Continue the conversation with @movableink on twitter using #HolidayEmail.

New Research! The UK Consumer Device Preference Report: Q1 2014

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We’re delighted to announce the release of our first-ever UK Consumer Device Preference Report, which looked at aggregate data across all of our UK-based clients in Q1 2014.

What we’ve been calling “The Mobile Takeover” is in full effect across the Atlantic — in fact, even more so than here in the United States. 72 percent of all email opens took place on mobile devices in the UK in Q1, compared to 66 percent in the US.

Strikingly, tablet opens in the UK are already at near parity with desktop opens (26 percent and 28 percent, respectively). This mirrors the trend we’re seeing in the US, and confirms our view that tablets are on their way to becoming the “household PC of record” for consumers’ personal computing needs.

Some other key findings from the “UK Consumer Device Preference Report: Q1 2014″ include:

• Apple asserts its dominance over Android. iPhones and iPads accounted for 62% of all opens
in Q1 compared to just 9% for Android devices. And iPads had a share of opens more than 14 times greater than Android tablets.

• The South East & North West regions of the UK are email marketing hotspots. When it came to opening emails, London, the South East of England, and the North West of England were this quarter’s regional winners with around 50% of all the UK’s measured opens coming from those locations.

• Tablets own the night. Smartphones rule the roost during the early hours and throughout the
middle of the day. As the afternoon turns to evening, tablet usage explodes taking share from
the smartphone and desktop pie.

For an in-depth look at all of the report’s findings, please enjoy your complimentary download of the UK Consumer Device Preference Report.

3 Tips for Boosting Email Marketing Tap-Through Rates

With 66 percent of email opens now taking place on smartphones and tablets, the age-old click-through rate should be taking second fiddle to the “tap-through rate” as email marketing’s most coveted KPI. With that said, we still see too many marketers optimizing for desktop clicks while ignoring mobile taps. This results in poor user experiences and lost opportunities.

Here’s a prime example from LinkedIn (sorry to pick on you LinkedIn, but this needs to be said.) I’d wager to say that LinkedIn enjoys a high mobile app download rate among its business users, but its mobile email experience is completely broken. LinkedIn sends a ton of email trying to drive engagement — from connection requests, to “who’s viewed your profile” notices, to notifications when your connections get new jobs or post something interesting. But clicking through on a mobile device opens a web browser instead of your already-installed app, forcing you to enter your login credentials and undoubtedly leading to incremental drop off.

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Which leads us to… Tip #1: Deep Link to Mobile Apps Deep linking removes friction from the mobile email experience by enabling consumers to launch installed mobile apps and specific pages within apps. This makes it easier to complete actions — and transactions — on mobile devices. Here’s an example from eBay where one tap on an image of a sandal in an email leads to firing up the eBay mobile app and the product that the user wants to see.  With one more tap the item can be added to the user’s shopping cart and one tap later, purchased and shipped since the user’s billing information and address are already stored securely within the app.

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Tip #2: Let Users Tap to Call Users who are on the go and have questions about your products or services that might be easier to answer over the phone than via a mobile app or m-site can be given the option to tap to call via real-time device targeting.  It’s as simple as adding a tap-to-call banner to the smartphone version of your email template.  Here’s an example from TheKnot showing the desktop version adjacent to the smartphone version with the tap to call banner at the top of the message.

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Tip #3: Get Users Social Sometimes your most desired next tap might be getting users to spread the love about your brand or products on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other popular social networking apps, which account for some of the most widely downloaded apps in the world and can be counted on to be installed on their smartphones and tablets even when your own app isn’t. Deep linking technology can be used to launch third party applications, and you can even include a pre-populated message for users to share. Here’s an example from Comedy Central that got thousands of its subscribers tweeting to promote a new show — and it only took two taps for them to do so.

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Mobile email opens keep rising as a percentage of total opens each quarter, and while smartphone opens may be stabilizing at a little under 50%, tablets continue to eat away at desktop market share and aren’t showing any signs of relenting.  The time to optimize for tapping through instead of clicking through is now.

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*For more tips and case studies featuring mobile email tap-through rate optimization, check out the recording of our recent webinar, “The Mobile Takeover“.

Are Tablets The New Household PC of Record?

Surface Pro 3 Launch Event in New York City on May 20, 2014

On the subway ride into work this morning, I read about Microsoft’s unveiling of its latest tablet, the Surface Pro 3. What caught my attention most was the revelation that Microsoft execs aren’t positioning the device as an alternative to Apple’s iPad, but rather, against its most popular laptop, the MacBook Air.

The timing of Microsoft’s product launch couldn’t be better: with our upcoming webinar on “The Mobile Takeover,” our team has been poring over the underlying numbers from our latest US Consumer Device Preference Report, and the data suggests that tablets are, indeed, becoming the new go-to household PC of record.

How so?

First, because over the last year, smartphone email opens have been relatively stable at slightly under 50%, while desktop opens have steadily declined, and tablet opens have steadily risen. You can easily see these trends in the chart below:

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Second, from a day-parting perspective, we’re seeing that tablet email opens peak in the evening hours, when people get home from work (and when they’d be more likely to do their web browsing on a luxurious large screen instead of their smartphone’s small screen). And, in fact, tablet and desktop opens are currently nearly even between 8 and 11pm.

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From an email opens market share perspective, look for tablets to continue making the largest percentage gains quarter over quarter. There is still a lot of room left for tablets to grow.

Desktops and laptops may never completely disappear from the face of our planet, but tablets may someday soon replace them entirely from our living rooms.

*For more information on the latest trends in consumer device adoption and usage, make sure to attend next week’s “The Mobile Takeover” webinar, Thursday, May 29th at 1pm EDT.

[WEBINAR] The Mobile Takeover: It’s Real. It’s Here. Get Used to It.

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Mobile email opens have grown consistently for the 4 quarters that Movable Ink has been releasing the US Consumer Device Preference Report, and it’s a relentless trend that we don’t see abating anytime soon. Our latest study, the US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q1 2014 found that two-thirds of big brand marketers’ email opens now take place on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), and today, even more email is opened on iPhones than all desktops combined.

The age old “click-through rate” has been replaced by the “tap-through rate” and email marketers must evolve their strategies and tactics to effectively engage with consumers in the mobile inbox. This involves everything from changing how emails are designed, to adopting deep linking technology, to re-thinking the way that conversion data is captured and attributed to email marketing campaigns.

To help marketers rise to the challenge of the mobile takeover, we’re excited to announce our next webinar “The Mobile Takeover: It’s Real. It’s Here. Get Used to It.” Taking place on Thursday, May 29th at 1pm EDT, speakers will include yours truly and my brilliant industry colleague and friend Bonnie Malone, Director of Response Consulting at Return Path. (You can watch the two of us teaming up to take on the email append dark side at the MediaPost Email Insider Summit two years ago here).

Bonnie and I are working hard to put together an informative and educational webinar that will include:

  • An in-depth analysis of the latest findings from Movable Ink’s “US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q1, 2014”
  • Innovative approaches for creating winning omni-screen email designs
  • Examples of leading brands who are using agile email marketing technology and best practices to optimize the mobile email experience in real-time

We hope to see you on the line next Thursday. Space is limited, so click here to register today!