How Recent Gmail Changes Impact Mobile Deep Linking In Chrome

mobileoptimizerLast week, we hosted the latest in our series of agileEMAIL tutorial webinars, this one on integrating social media features like live Twitter feeds and deep linking into mobile apps. Deep linking is a powerful way to drive subscribers to your various social channels, and we’d like to fill you in on some recent updates Google has made to Chrome that affect how deep linking works on Android devices.

First, if you’re directing Android users to a mobile app in your emails but they don’t have the app installed, users are now directed to the app’s download page on Google Play; this means that they can’t be taken to a default URL that you specify. In addition, when you’re setting up deep linking for Android, you must now use an app link scheme called an Android intent, which requires you to specify the package that’s associated with the app (for more information on this, see App link structures for mobile deep linking and Deep linking into Android apps on our Support Center).

To accommodate these changes, we’ve updated agileEMAIL to fully support the new app link scheme required for Android.  If you have specific questions about this, please each out to your Client Experience team directly, or contact us at support@movableink.com.

For more information, please send an email to us at contact@movableink.com.

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.

comedy_central_horizontal

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.*

tosh.O

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.

Holiday Email & Beyond: Drive Store Traffic Through Email

One of the hottest topics in e-commerce is how to successfully deploy an integrated cross-channel marketing strategy. It’s a focal point because we live in a world where you can buy online and have the order delivered before brushing your teeth that night (well almost that quickly). You have to start somewhere, and fast because holiday is right around the corner. Why not test some tactics to drive in-store traffic through email to boost store visits this holiday?

Whether you’re selling limited inventory items, providing an in-person service, selling consumable goods, or simply being the digital marketer tasked with driving traffic to your store, we can all leverage email to achieve our goals. It’s no easy task getting a shopper to move from their chair to your store, but we’re here to help you tackle the mountainous challenge. Here are a few things you can do (all made easy to execute through agileEMAIL) to start integrating your stores with your email in time for holiday 2014.

1. Local Store Information In Email

A quick win you can implement to drive foot traffic through email is to include local store information right in the message the recipient is reading. Make it as easy as possible by displaying information consumers need to know such as your store name, address of nearest location, hours of operation, a local map, phone number, and/or store events. Take it a step further and use a web crop to show real-time inventory or available appointment times right in the message. This can all be done through geo-targeting based on the current location or a zip code on file.

Finish Line Maps & Coupon         Finish Line used local maps to share the nearest store location and hours with their subscribers.  They also included coupons to use in the store.  Steve Madden included deep linked social icons to promote social sharing alongside of store visits in their email to accomplish the same goal.

2. Classic Couponing, With A Twist

Express Mobile CouponCouponing, discounts, and deals aren’t new news (especially at holiday). But they are easy to make, easy to display, and easy to redeem. Including them in email is a no brainer but the call to action and how they render can drive more traffic to the store. According Movable Ink’s Q2 2014 U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report, almost 2 out of every 3 emails are opened on a smartphone or tablet. Mobile optimize your email creative (like Express did to the right) and enable customers to bring the email to the store via their mobile phone for the clerk to scan for use, or to reveal its true value. Using mobile optimization email marketers can create device specific HTML that could render a barcode at the top of the screen for ease of redemption and search in the inbox too.

3. Promote Holiday Events Through Social Integrations

Holiday marketing initiatives take on a life of their own, and for many take over the entire store. For example, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade generates a lot of social buzz and Bass Pro Shops converts their floor space into a holiday winter wonderland. Consumers like to share their experiences and turn to Facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest to do it. Pull in social feeds around your handle or promoted hashtags this holiday to add consumer sentiment and authenticity to your email. This not only shows what your company is up to, but also highlights and utilizes user-generated content. Further, you can set up your email to deep link with pre-populated tweets that the recipient can share. Measuring engagement is easy by tracking participation, such as the number of hashtag uses, @ mentions, and new followers compared to a regular day. I’m sure your social team can tell you the value they bring!

7_for_all_mankind_social7 for all mankind ran a friends and family promotional series that included twitter feeds and ran contests driven by pre-populated tweets (click-to-tweet via deep linking in agileEMAIL).  The social integrations worked making their friends and family promotions successful.

 

 

 

 

4. Measure Success

For short-term engagement measurement, look to the click through rate and email read length. Test how creative performs and see how localizing store information improves performance. In the control version, specifically look at the click-through rate of a generic “Find your nearest store” call to action vs. click-through rate of the dynamic localized version. What percentage of people clicked through to the store locator page versus the percentage of people who likely saw the map in the email? To measure foot traffic and dollars, collect email addresses at the point of sale and tie these back to those who received the email with the store information versus those who did not. These quick tips will help impact the performance of email to drive traffic to the store.

Driving consumers to the store through email can seem like a big challenge. You can start tackling it by providing your customers with the relevant information they need to know about nearby locations, promotions, and more. We’re here to help too and are available around the clock this holiday season. Email us at contact@movableink.com if you have questions about how you can use email to drive more traffic to your stores.

Introducing Movable Pink!

Movable Pink Est. 2014

We are excited to announce Movable Pink!  This Spring we officially launched Movable Pink, the women’s employee network here at Movable Ink.  Last Wednesday we took Movable Pink public with the first external event, in the form of a networking cocktail party for women in Digital Media and Tech. – check out the pictures and recap here: www.MovablePink.com.

Stay tuned for more information on future Movable Pink events and great updates on this new blog.

The Movable Pink Team

Holiday Is Almost Here! Are You Ready?

Steal These IdeasSeptember is in full swing and so is planning for the upcoming holiday season. Over the last few weeks we have hosted the first two 2014 Holiday Hit List webinars and next Tuesday at 1 pm we’ll be hosting our third called “Steal These Ideas.” Our client experience team pulled together some of the best email strategies we’ve seen over the last year and put them into an “easy to steal” and/or replicate format for you to use this year.

To foreshadow the webinar, we pulled together a post for the Only Influencers blog.  With just 74 days left until Black Friday, we wanted to share it here with you to help spark some ideas.  You can also use it as a guide to get a jump start on your 2014 holiday email too.

Over the last few years, there has been a shift from Black Friday & Cyber Monday “events” to a weeklong Thanksgiving extravaganza! A few clients we work with said they’ve seen sales tick upward before their “sales” even start, as much as a week or two before Thanksgiving. Let’s start thinking about how to best serve our customers and help achieve our own targets at the same time. Consumers are on the hunt for a good deal, and they want to know what’s happening and when. But they don’t want their inbox to be so full that they can’t get the information they were looking for before buying.

With that said, here are a few quick ways that you can effectively strike that balance and drive success during the 2014 holiday season. 

1. Mobile Optimize Email – Each quarter Movable Ink releases a consumer device preference report. It shows how consumers use smartphones, tablets, and PC’s for email. In the latest edition, almost 2/3 of brand marketing emails were opened on mobile devices. This is no longer a new trend but the norm. Further – tablets are the choice device at night and on the weekends. Over 50% of your traffic could come from smartphones and tablets this holiday season. Think about how you can take advantage of that traffic through mobile optimization to capitalize this holiday season.

2. Personalize Email – Personalized email drives 3-5x returns over traditional messages. It can be as simple as adding the recipients name and account information into the email, or as complex as a truly 1:1 triggered message. If you have not incorporated some personalization into your email program, look into ways to start doing it today. Product recommendations are a quick win, or go further and start personalizing content and offers within each message too.

3. Location, Location, Location – Geo-targeting can increase your performance by as much as 25%. Simply considering the cultural and weather differences across the country will impact response rates to emails received. So when it’s snowing up north and warm down south tailor your messages, offers, and calls to action based off of regional differences to increase engagement and click rates.

4. Email For Store – Within your holiday email, promote nearest store locations or promotions happening in the store. It’s a fast way to start utilizing cross-channel promotion. Don’t forget the consumer doesn’t see your email, website, or storefront as different channels, they see it as one company they buy from. Integration will improve the customer experience.

5. Flash Sales – Black Friday built its name on retail sales volume, and deals available to consumers. Turn your Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails into marketing machines and promote time sensitive deals through them. Send a few emails over the course of the day promoting the next available offer, or even update the same email every hour with a new deal. We helped a retailer execute this strategy and they drove a 99% increase in email revenue year over year for cyber Monday in 2012. They got great results again in 2013.

6. In The Moment Email – One of the biggest innovations in email is the ability to pick what to display in real-time at the moment of open. We have been locked into a pre-send decisioning world for so long that we haven’t even thought about what could be done if we could target and adapt messages after we click send. This is an emerging capability that when mixed with any of the five above can drive upwards of 20% increases in dollars per message. Use the data in the world around you to optimize on the fly, find out what creative drives the best results, and get better insight this holiday season too. 

We’ll dive into these and more next Tuesday at 1 pm eastern during our “Steal These Ideas” webinar.  Click here to register today.  As always, if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance please reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.

Tips and Tricks to Engage Trick-or-Treaters: Halloween Email Marketing (Pt. 2)

Last week we posted our first installment of Tips and Tricks for Halloween Email Marketing. It was filled with reasons, ideas and recommendations to consider using Halloween to bump up email performance this year. So is it in your best interest to add some “Boo!” factor to your email in October? Long-story short, it is! Your customers want to see that you are just as agile, current and relevant as brands need to be these days to keep recipients invested in what you offer and engaged in how you offer it to them.

As a follow up, we’ve put together a few more hair-raising tricks to deliver personalized content for part two of our Tips and Tricks To Engage Trick-or-Treaters.

Your email might not even need to be offering anything. Think about sending a nice sentiment to show you’re looking out for your customers. Show you care with some weather-based trick-or-treating tips:

Weather

Think about time-targeting your content for before, during and after Halloween. It will drive customers back to your site for items they may not have realized they needed. Or you can engage them with general advice or tips for Halloween with video content. Here we have three videos swapping out of the message, depending on when it’s being read. Before Halloween weekend, we’ve featured make-up ideas and inspiration. During, we’re offering make-up application tips and after, make-up removal product recommendations. All while swapping out the below featured products and letting customers know where their nearest store is if they need to run in an buy these last-minute items:

 Before Halloween Show:            During Halloween Show:            After Halloween Show:

Before Halloween                     During Holloween                     After Halloween

But Most Importantly….Get Results! Still on the fence? TEST, TEST, TEST! We can run your holiday-targeted content versus your regularly scheduled content and optimize in real time based on click-through rate or conversions so you can see what your customers respond best to. agileEMAIL gives you a great way to let your customers show you what they want to see from you, but you won’t know until you try, test, and optimize.

However you decide to pump up your Boo! factor, we hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween. Stay agile!

If you have any questions please contact us at contact@movableink.com.  We are glad to help!

Tips and Tricks to Engage Trick-or-Treaters: Halloween Email Marketing (Pt. 1)

Halloween is fast approaching but there is still time to get in some last minute messaging to keep your emails engaging and relevant. Over the past few years, consumers have spent roughly $6.5-8 billion a year on Halloween alone. So if you’re not tailoring messages to try and get a piece of that pumpkin pie, we’ve compiled some easy ways for you to start now.

Think Halloween is just for kids? According to a National Retail Federation Survey, 71.5% of Adults (18+) planned to celebrate or participate in Halloween activities, 75.7% said they would hand out candy, 51.4% indicated they would decorate their home or yard and 36.2% planned to throw or attend a party themselves.

Getting your subscriber’s attention doesn’t have to be an exclusive party, either; you don’t have to be selling costumes, candy or decorations in order to spook-up your October marketing campaigns. Halloween is a hauntingly fun time of year that can keep up engagement and/or revenue between your Back-to-School and Holiday marketing pushes.

We’ve referenced a post from Marketing Sherpa’s Article Archive and have compiled a list of tips and suggestions if you’re still on the fence:

1.  Get Social! “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is” (Scott Cook, Co-Founder Intuit). Getting your customers involved in a conversation or photo-sharing is a great way to increase email engagement and brand awareness! We recommend having your customers use an Instagram hashtag of their costumes or decorations and deep-linking a pre-populated tweet of their #scariestmoment. Using Movable Ink’s social capabilities, we can include one or both of these feeds in your October campaigns. American Apparel ran a campaign similar to this idea but didn’t incorporate any of the submissions into their email campaign or deep-link to their social sites for submissions. Here’s what they did (on the left) versus what they could’ve done (on the right) to maximize their social engagement and number of submissions:

   

2.  Get Personal! Movable Ink offers a plethora of personalization and real-time targeting applications to help you deliver that 1-to-1 experience that consumers prefer. Personalization is an easy way to utilize your database to increase click-through rates and conversions on your next campaigns. You can start off with a simple image personalization and work your way towards hyper-personalized API integrations which serve up true personalized live content from your website. The below example from Krispy Kreme is a screen shot of a campaign that had been sent out (on the left) versus how it could have gone out using Movable Ink’s image personalization tool (on the right), which is now easier to use than ever before!

KrispyKreme_Original KrispyKreme_Updated

3.  Get Creative! Feature some DIY or How-to videos for your customers that show creative ways to use your products for costumes or decorations. This great email from American Eagle and Rent the Runway with Etsy suggests great DIY costume compilations using items from their own product line. These can be compiled on your website and fed into your emails via Web Crop to ensure you only serve up compilations which are still in stock.

American Eagle Halloween     RTR-Etsy

All in all, Halloween is about fun and we’d hate for you and your recipients to miss out. Reach out to your account team to discuss and strategize any of these ideas for your next campaign and keep an eye out for our next installment for Halloween coming soon! (update: click here to read part two)

For more information, please 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.

BassProMessage

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!

Is Consumer Device Preference Swinging Back Toward Desktops?

Movable Ink Q2 U.S. Consumer Device Report

New research from Movable Ink shows smartphones account for almost 1 out of every 2 consumer brand marketing emails opened

We’re excited to release the latest edition of the U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report today! The quarterly report provides deep insight into the popularity of various devices, examines differences in consumer engagement based on the devices they use, and shows how device preferences vary across the nation. Unlike other studies, this data set exclusively includes results from large, enterprise B2C & B2B marketers.

The Q2 edition revealed the continued strength that smartphones have as the preferred device for email in America, accounting for 46% of all messages opened. However by geography, desktops rebounded and reclaimed preferred device status in eight more states this quarter, accounting for a total of 37.5% of all opens. The previous edition of the report highlighted the growth of consumer tablet use. Overall, tablets pulled back 2%, accounting for 16.5% of email opens during the quarter.

“Over the last year and a half we have seen a quick progression from desktop use to mobile dominance in email,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Movable Ink. “With desktops rebounding in Q2 of 2014, it shows that marketers have to be ready for their emails to be opened anywhere, at any time, on any device. Having that type of agility in your email program will pay huge dividends during the upcoming holiday season.” Key findings include: • The gap between mobile devices and desktop computers used for email closed a little bit over the quarter. In total volume, desktops gained 4% on smartphone and tablet devices, returning to similar levels from a year ago.

• Apple’s iOS devices continued to widen its lead over Google’s Android devices. iOS devices accounted for 55.7% of all emails opened while Android accounted for 6.4%. However, Android users stay engaged longer with email. 53% of Android users viewed emails for 15 seconds or longer, a 13% increase over Q1 2014.

Mobile optimized email matters. Smartphone use peaks in the morning but stays dominant throughout the day. At any given point, there are more emails being opened on a smartphone than on a desktop or tablet. This puts an emphasis on mobile optimized email, and marketers should take advantage of it.

The full report is available as a free download here. If you have any questions about the report, please ask us at research@movableink.com.

About the Movable Ink U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report: Q2 2014 The U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report is based on data collected through Movable Ink’s agileEMAIL platform between April 1 – June 30, 2014. They reflect aggregate statistics across Movable Ink’s customer base, which includes more than 150 enterprise B2C & B2B marketers from the retail, travel, financial, media, and telecommunication industries. Because determining email opens requires images to load, the percentages for some devices might be over or underrepresented.

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.