Category Archives: Email Marketing Insights

New Strategies for Optimizing Video-in-Email

Video in Email ReportA recent report by veteran email marketing industry analyst David Daniels of The Relevancy Group, “Embedded Video in Email: Exploring its Viability as a Marketing Tactic,” offers a comprehensive look at using embedded video in email, and what marketers can expect from incorporating video in their email campaign strategy.

The Relevancy Group has found that 55% of marketers who use video in email report higher click-through rates than those who do not use embedded video in their email messages.

Additional benefits of using video in email, as shown by the data in this report, include:

  • Increased duration of time that subscribers spend reading the email
  • More sharing and forwarding of the email message
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Increased average sales size of orders

Download the report here to learn more.

Ready to get started with video-in-email?
Join Movable Ink, Silverpop, and Invodo on Wednesday, August 28 at 1:00 EDT for a one-hour webinar on “Bringing Email to Life with Video.” Get examples, technical steps, and tips for incorporating video into your agile email campaigns. Register for the webinar here.

For more information on how Movable Ink optimizes the video-in-email experience, download our video-in-email one-pager today.

The Impact of Gmail’s New Inbox: Top Three Considerations for Email Marketers

Gmail's new "Promotions" tab

At the end of May, Gmail announced a “new inbox” that automatically sorts users’ email into three different tabs: “Primary,” “Social,” and “Promotions.” Now that Gmail’s redesigned inbox has started to roll out—what have we observed so far, and what key considerations should email marketers keep in mind for future promotional campaigns?

Our VP of Marketing, Jordan Cohen, shared his perspective on this subject in a few different publications recently. Below are his top three considerations for email marketers:

1.    Send-time optimization will be an exercise in futility.
“Is Gmail’s New Inbox an Email Marketing Killer?” July 19, 2013, EContent Magazine
“Marketers do need to account for the greater length of time that will take place between the moment they hit the send button, and the moment the recipient actually opens the email. A marketer’s ever-popular ‘One Day Only Sale’ email might be expired by the time the recipient gets around to visiting the Promotions tab. Travel and event tickets, and limited availability inventory might be sold out.”

2. When users do check the “Promotions” tab, they will be in a buying mode.
“Gmail Inbox revamp spells trouble for time-sensitive mobile offers,” July 23, 2013, Mobile Marketer
“If people click on the promotions tab, it means they are in a higher-intent buying mode… It means they are clicking the tab thinking I want to go and see what commercial offers are waiting for me in my email inbox as opposed to having all email in a single inbox and missing some stuff there.”

3. The macro-trend of rising smartphone adoption may offset the impact of Gmail’s new inbox, but this change cannot be ignored.
“Coping With The New Gmail Inbox,” July 24, 2013, MediaPost
By last count (June 2012), there were 425 million Gmail users in the world, and it may be up to half a billion by now—so the effect can potentially be substantial. That said, the larger macro-trend of rising smartphone adoption means that the number of consumers who actually use the tabbed Gmail interface will be smaller.

BUT even though not all Gmail users will be using the new, tabbed inbox system, there will still be millions — if not hundreds of millions — who will, representing anywhere from 10% to 20% of an average B2C email marketer’s list. Marketers will have to rise to the occasion and adopt new strategies and technologies if they want to stay relevant with their Gmail-using recipients.”

 

Have questions on Gmail’s new inbox? Leave a comment below, or reach out to us directly at contact@movableink.com.

Interested in learning more about how agile email marketing can benefit your email marketing goals? Get started with Movable Ink here.

Mastering Mobile Email: Part 3- Contextual Optimization

Mastering Mobile Email PDF

Click to see a list of all 15 tips for Mastering Mobile Email.

Earlier in this three-part “Mastering Mobile Email” series, we shared 5 tips for optimizing your email template and design, and 5 tips for using mobile email to drive cross-channel interactions.

But why stop there? Let’s take mobile optimization one-step further. The nature of mobile devices themselves allows for real-time optimization and advanced targeting. How can marketers take full advantage of the unique possibilities inherent in mobile email?

Here are 5 ways to optimize your emails based on the real-time context of your mobile consumers:

Contextual Optimization
1.     Optimize creative for different mobile devices. Show the most relevant creative based on which mobile device is being used to open the email. RadioShack promoted certain mobile products based on the user’s open device (see example).
2.     Promote device-specific app downloads. In our last post, we explained how it’s possible to deep link to your brand’s mobile app using email. But you can also target users in real-time with app download calls-to-action based on the device used to open the email. Check out these examples from Comedy Central and Starbucks.
3.     Target by current weather conditions. Show recipients’ creative specific to the weather conditions at their location when they open the email. Seamless, the food delivery service, showed a weather forecast and encouraged readers to order in on rainy days (see example).
4.     Optimize for mobile connection strength. Serve lower resolution images if a mobile carrier is detected, since the email recipient is not connected to a WiFi network. Learn more about mobile carrier targeting here.
5.     Optimize video-in-email. Use device-targeting to ensure mobile email recipients enjoy the best possible video-in-email experience available to them at time of open, depending on ISP/email client. Learn more about video-in-email here.

Have questions on any of the tips covered in the “Master Mobile Email” series? Give us a shout at contact@movableink.com.

Looking for a full list of the 15 tips on fully optimizing for mobile in one place? Download the 15 Tips for Mastering Mobile Email list here.

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Mastering Mobile Email: Part 2- Cross-Channel Integration


In our last post in the three-part “Mastering Mobile Email” series, we shared 5 tips for optimizing your email templates and designing for mobile. In today’s post, we highlight 5 creative ways to integrate mobile email with other channels:

Cross-Channel Integration
1.     Include a “click-to-call” button when appropriate. Don’t forget that smartphones are also actual phones! When it makes sense to use, a “click to call” button is a simple way to directly connect mobile email recipients to a customer service hotline or other important phone number.
2.     Social media sharing. Make it as easy as possible for readers to connect with your brand in social media by incorporating deep linking to social media mobile apps. Learn more about deep linking here. Try out social media deep linking for yourself by clicking the image in this post. If you’re reading this post on a mobile device, clicking the link will automatically detect whether or not you have the Twitter app installed, and if so, will launch the app with the pre-populated tweet ready-to-go.
3.     Deep link to your own mobile app. In addition to deep linking to social media apps, it’s also possible to deep link to your brand’s mobile app when it is detected as installed on a user’s mobile device. If the app is not detected, the user can automatically be linked to the appropriate mobile app download store, whether it’s Apple’s AppStore or Google’s Play. Learn more about how Seamless, the food delivery service, did this in this case study.
4.     Use barcodes to drive offline sales. Barcodes in emails help mobile consumers take advantage of coupons when in-store. Express does an excellent job of incorporating barcodes in mobile emails to encourage cross-channel conversions (see example).
5.     Add a real-time local map to drive in-store sales. Mobile customers are on-the-go, so make use of real-time geo-targeting to show mobile users the store locations closest to them. We love how Matrix used a local map to show subscribers where they could find Matrix products near them in a recent newsletter (see example).

Now that you’ve mastered mobile email design and cross-channel integration, check out these 5 tips on optimizing emails based on the real-time context of mobile users.

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Mastering Mobile Email: Part 1- Template and Design

Mobile use can no longer be described as a consumer trend—it’s now a mainstay of modern media consumption. Email use on mobile devices is no exception, as we recently reported that over 69% of emails from leading B2C brands were opened on a smartphone or tablet.

However, the concept of “mobile optimization” represents much more than making your email fit a specific pixel width. In this “Mastering Mobile Email” three-part series, we’ll feature a total of 15 tips to help you fully optimize your mobile email campaigns. Let’s get started with 5 tips for making the most of your email template and design:

Template and Design
1.     Edit your content. Simplify your mobile template to include your highest-priority content. When it comes to mobile, less can mean more.
2.     Use a single-column layout. A single-column layout that stacks content vertically enables scrolling and avoids forcing your readers to zoom in and navigate around the email.
3.     Mobile-friendly fonts. Increase font sizes and place text on high-contrast backgrounds.
4.     Put primary calls-to-action “above-the-fold.” Follow a vertical hierarchy, and place your most important call-to-action above-the-fold – i.e., the part of the email template that is immediately viewable when opened on a mobile screen. For a one-stop guide to mobile screen sizes, check out this list from screensiz.es.
5.     Think “all thumbs.” Enlarged buttons allow for easier click-through. Apple guidelines suggest using at least 44 x 44 pixels for any tappable elements. Incorporate ample white space between the elements of an email to help each piece stand out and make it easy to click-through on links. Bare Necessities does an excellent job of optimizing mobile call-to-action links (see example).

Ready for more mobile tips? Check out how to fully optimize your emails for the mobile inbox using cross-channel integration.

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Do You Live in a Smartphone State or Desktop State?

Do you live in a smartphone state or desktop state? Some U.S. states have adopted smartphones more broadly than others – especially when it comes to the web’s most popular activity: checking email. While Texas leads the way with over 55% of emails opened on a smartphone, nearly 54% of consumers in Maine continue to choose desktop as the preferred device for checking email. On the whole, the majority of the East is trending toward smartphone use, whereas large states in the Central and Western parts of the country still trend towards desktops.

Hover over this interactive infographic to see the breakdown of device use for each state.

Click here to download the PDF version of this infographic and to see a summary of the Top 10 Smartphone States and Desktop States: Movable Ink- Infographic- Email Opens by State.

About the Map
The map is based on real-time email open data collected by Movable Ink’s Advanced Analytics platform between May 1 – 31, 2013. These data reflect aggregate statistics across Movable Ink’s customer base, which includes more than 100 enterprise B2C email marketers from the retail, travel, financial, media, and telecommunications industries. 

“Heavy” means that more than 50% of recipients in the state open email on a smartphone or desktop. “Leaning” means that fewer than 50% of recipients in the state open email on a smartphone or desktop, but that those devices are currently the most widely used in the state (e.g., if desktop had the highest percentage of opens when compared to smartphones and tablets, but not the combination of the two, the state is labeled as “Leaning desktop.”)

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

Entrepreneur.com Video Highlights Movable Ink’s Impact on Agile Marketing

Delivering the right message, to the right person, in the right place, at the right time is no longer a “nice-to-have.” This video by Entrepreneur.com (view above, or click here to read more on Entrepreneur.com) highlights three entrepreneurs that are making this mission achievable for marketers, including our own Co-Founder and CEO, Vivek Sharma. Here, Vivek explains how Movable Ink’s agile email marketing platform makes it not only possible, but easy, for marketers to build highly relevant campaigns that are more engaging to consumers.

Want to learn more? Check out our Platform page, or download “The Inkredible Five” to see examples of agile email marketing in action from five leading consumer brands.

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

index

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.

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?

Display images to show real-time content

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.