Category Archives: Email Marketing Insights

Gmail’s Recent Image Handling Changes

Gmail image caching changes

UPDATE: Since this post was originally published, real-time content and re-open tracking have returned to Gmail. Learn more in our latest post on how Gmail handles images.

Last week, Gmail implemented changes that impact the way the email service renders images that will impact real-time content for a segment of Gmail users.

Below, we hope to clarify the Gmail changes, summarize their impact, and share what actions Movable Ink has taken and is continuing to pursue to address any concerns.

1. What changes were made in Gmail, and what is the impact to Movable Ink?
Traditionally, when a recipient views an email, images are downloaded from the server that hosts the images. This allows information to be communicated back to the image’s host source—such as the user’s current location, device, and time of day.

a.) Gmail is now requesting all images from proxy servers (googleusercontent.com), which incorrectly situates users in its headquarters in Mountain View, California when images are downloaded. This impacts the ability to geo-target image content for those Gmail users who are affected by the changes. (Note: Local Maps using zip codes appended as query parameters are unaffected.)

b.) Gmail is stripping the user-agent headers from the client request, which eliminates the ability to determine the Gmail user’s device and target image content appropriately.

c.) Gmail is removing the cache-control headers from the responses, which forces the user’s images to be stored in their browser’s cache for up to a day. This only impacts live image content if a Gmail user re-opens the email after the first open.

In summary, a limited set of Movable Ink features will not work within a segment of Gmail accounts and, in those cases, will be replaced with default content.

2. What email users are affected by the changes? How big is the impact to my list?
After analyzing our data since the changes were implemented late last week, 2% – 5% of the average enterprise B2C email marketer’s subscriber list is affected by Gmail’s changes, since they only affect recipients that open emails through the Gmail.com desktop client, the Android Gmail app, and the iOS Gmail app.

Not all Gmail users are impacted.

The changes have no impact on Gmail users who access their accounts through Mac Mail, the native Mail app on iOS devices, non-Gmail Android apps, non-Gmail Windows apps, Gmail via Outlook, etc. Additionally, all email domains that are not @gmail.com are not impacted. (Update: As of 12/12, Gmail has rolled out the changes to custom domains as well.)

More Gmail recipients open email on iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) than through any other email service — including web-based Gmail itself, which greatly mitigates the impact of the changes, and is the reason why they only affect 2% – 5% of most email marketers’ subscribers.

Below is a summary of who is affected by the changes:

Gmail Image Caching Impact

3. How is Movable Ink responding to the affected features?
a.) Geo-targeting: We have made it possible for marketers to show default content to users that have images hosted within the Gmail proxy domain. This eliminates any concerns about displaying incorrectly geo-targeted content when a user is falsely identified as being in Mountain View, California.

b.) Device targeting: If a user’s device cannot be detected for any reason, a default version of an email will be rendered and is configurable within the Movable Ink dashboard.

c.) All other real-time content: Other types of real-time content such as countdown timers, social feeds, web crops, and video will appear as intended on the first open of an email. Subsequent opens from an individual recipient will display the original image due to Google’s caching which can last for up to a day.

Our team is in contact with representatives at Google to recommend and discuss alternatives to last week’s changes. We will be sure to share updates as we have more information. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.

For Email Marketers, Black Friday is the New Cyber Monday

Black Friday Cyber Monday email marketing

 38% more email opens took place on Black Friday as online retailers started the battle for consumers’ inboxes earlier than ever

Black Friday was the biggest day of the year for brand email marketers so far this holiday season, with marketers seeing 38% more email opens than they did on Cyber Monday, according to our research. With competition for consumers’ attention – and wallets – fiercer than ever, brands started their holiday email marketing programs early.

Our study also found substantial differences in the devices used to open email marketing messages throughout the holiday weekend:

  • Thanksgiving Day was the biggest day for smartphone opens. On Thanksgiving, 59.9 percent of marketing email opens occurred on smartphones; by comparison, 45.5 percent of all marketing email opens in Q3 2013 took place on smartphones. Black Friday was the second biggest smartphone day, with 57.5 percent.
  • Cyber Monday was the biggest day for desktops. While still beat by smartphone opens (45.5 percent), Cyber Monday showed the strongest showing for desktops, with 40.1 percent of all marketing email opens.
  • Tablet use surged over the weekend. 19.3 percent of Saturday’s opens and 18.7 percent of Sunday’s took place on iPads and Android-based tablets.

In total, the volume of Movable Ink-powered emails between Black Friday and Cyber Monday increased a whopping 3,085% year-over-year, as leading brands continue to embrace innovative Agile Email Marketing technology and strategies to cut through the clutter of the inbox.

“Black Friday is now officially the biggest day of the year for email marketers,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Movable Ink. “It should come as no surprise that in a controversial year where many leading retailers opened their brick and mortar locations on Thanksgiving Day itself, that they’d be just as aggressive in starting their email marketing sales events ahead of Cyber Monday. The surge in mobile opens should also make marketers take notice – without mobile optimization in place, a lot of money could have been left on the table.”

About Movable Ink’s 2013 Black Friday/Cyber Monday Research:
The findings above are based on data collected through Movable Ink’s Agile Email Marketing platform between November 20 and December 2 2013. The data 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. Because determining email opens requires images to load, the percentages for some devices and platforms might be over or underrepresented.

Infographic: The 5 Coolest Email Campaigns You’ll See On Cyber Monday

When you check your inbox this Cyber Monday, get ready to discover a few surprises along the way. This holiday season, many of your favorite brands will be using Agile Email Marketing technology to deliver great deals in eye-catching, interactive, and innovative ways that you’ve never seen before.

Check out our infographic below to see the top 5 emails to look out for this coming Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday email marketing infographic

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The Next Generation of Email Marketing: Interview with Vivek Sharma, CEO of Movable Ink, on Bloomberg West

 

While visiting San Francisco for Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference last week, our Co-Founder and CEO, Vivek Sharma, had the chance to sit down with Bloomberg West to discuss Movable Ink’s role in propelling the next generation of email marketing. View the full video of Vivek’s interview with Jon Erlichman, Sr. West Coast Correspondent for Bloomberg TV, above, and read on for highlights.

In the interview, Vivek describes how email marketing has slowly evolved over time and traditionally has failed to keep pace with the hyper-relevant and real-time nature of the web. This is no longer the case, as the email marketing industry is rapidly moving toward actuality-based marketing, or what we at Movable Ink describe as “agile email marketing“. Today, over 110 Fortune 1000 brands use Movable Ink to create highly innovative agile email marketing campaigns.

Agile email marketing enables marketers to personalize an email’s content at the precise moment when a subscriber opens the message. Email is now able to sense and respond to where a recipient is, what device is being used, and even the weather outside. Beyond delivering powerfully relevant content, agile email marketers also optimize emails on-the-fly and let the audience decide what offers and content are working more effectively while the campaign is still running.

If you’re interested in learning how Movable Ink could benefit your email marketing program, reach out to us at contact@movableink.com or request a demo.

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Infographic: The Evolution of Email Marketing

Gone are the days of “one-size-fits-all” email marketing. Today’s email marketers are sending campaigns that are fully agile, updated in real-time, and highly personalized. Curious how email marketing has evolved over time? Take a look at our infographic below to find out:

Infographic - The Evolution of Email Marketing

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New Research Shows iPad Beats Android for Email Opens

Movable Ink US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q3 2013iPad dominates when it comes to brand marketing email opens on tablets, according to Movable Ink’s latest research, the US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q3 2013. The data reveals that despite the nearly equal market share between the two, consumers are 15 times more likely to open brand emails on an iPad than on an Android tablet.

“This quarter’s report shows that tablets are gaining momentum, quickly becoming a primary driver of email marketing interactions,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Movable Ink.

The report, based on aggregate email open data from over 100 enterprise B2C brands, offers critical insights into the current email marketing landscape:

  • The growing role that tablets are playing in the mobile shift
  • The latest in the battle between iOS and Android
  • Differences in email engagement across smartphones, desktops, and tablets
  • Geographic variances in smartphone adoption

Download the free report here to access all of our findings and analysis.

Movable Ink US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q3 2013, Email Opens By Device

During the third quarter of 2013, 61% of emails were opened on either a smartphone or tablet device.

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In Case You Missed It: “Holiday Email Inspiration: 12 Ways to Stand Out and Boost Sales” Webinar Recap

Holiday Email Inspiration Webinar RecordingLooking for creative holiday email marketing ideas? In our recent webinar, Andre Prevot, Strategy Director, and Alison Lindland, Account Director, of our Client Experience team offered a closer look at the six email examples in our 2013 Holiday Email Marketing Inspiration Guide, and revealed six more innovative ways to use Agile Email Marketing technology in holiday campaigns.

Below is a quick recap of the 12 ideas shared on the webinar:

Holiday Email Inspiration: 12 Ways to Stand Out and Boost Sales
1. Use video-in-email and a countdown clock to unveil a new product
2. Use social media to make emails interactive
3. Personalize an image with the subscriber’s name
4. Optimize creative in real-time to maximize each email’s effectiveness
5. Check back on the same email for new deals every hour
6. Show real-time shipping status information
7. Show nearby store locations and open hours
8. Change the products that are promoted based on each shopper’s current location
9. Use barcodes in mobile emails to drive in-store sales
10. Promote current best-sellers
11.  Include a “click to call” button on mobile email during open hours
12. Promote your mobile app on each device

Questions? Reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.

In Case You Missed It: Webinar on Gmail’s New Inbox

Gmail_IconCurious about how Gmail’s new tabbed inbox will affect email marketing? If you missed our webinar on September 4 with ReturnPath and the Email Experience Council, you’re still in luck.

Access the webinar recording to learn how the Gmail’s tabbed inbox works, get results of early research on customer engagement, and hear the latest strategies for responding to the changes.

Webinar speakers:

  • Jordan Cohen, VP of Marketing, Movable Ink
  • Tom Sather, Sr. Director of Research, ReturnPath
  • Stephanie Miller, VP of Member Engagement, DMA

Watch Video Email Webinar Recording

In Case You Missed It: “Bringing Email to Life with Video” Webinar Recording & Recap

Webinar best practices

Top three best practices for video-in-email from the webinar speakers.

Last week, Movable Ink teamed up with Invodo and Silverpop to host a one-hour webinar on “Bringing Email to Life with Video.” Missed it? Check out the recording of the webinar here.

Below are the top three best practices from the webinar that our VP of Marketing, Jordan Cohen, shared on how to successfully execute video in your email marketing campaigns:

  1. Be timely, relevant, and creative
  2. Give each user the best possible viewing experience: full video, animated gif, or video still
  3. Get agile: optimize video emails on-the-fly based on time, location, and device

For even more tips, check out the one-page PDF of best practices from the webinar.

Interested in learning more about how Movable Ink makes video-in-email possible? Download the video-in-email fact sheet, or reach out to us directly at contact@movableink.com.

Watch Video Email Webinar Recording

Mobile Devices Reign Supreme for Email Opens in Q2 2013

US Consumer Device Preference Report Q2 2013Nearly two-thirds of all email opens occur on smartphones and tablets, as shown in Movable Ink’s latest research, the US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q2 2013.

The report, based on aggregate email open data from over 100 enterprise B2C brands, provides critical insights into the current email marketing landscape:

  • The current breakdown of email opens by device (smartphone, tablet, or desktop)
  • Who’s winning in the smartphone battle between Apple (iOS) and Google (Android)
  • How user engagement varies across devices
  • A map showing which US states are leaning smartphone vs. desktop

Download the free report here to access all of our findings and analysis.

Check out “re: Email Opens—iPhone Eats Android’s Lunch” in Direct Marketing News for additional coverage of this data.

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