What Were The Biggest Email Trends of 2016?

By Noemi Gobel

2017-02-01

 

Does “the segment of one” sound familiar? It was definitely mentioned a lot in 2016 - and, as any digital marketer will tell you, it also became the unofficial Holy Grail for anyone marketing their product to a mass audience.

To put it another way, “the segment of one” signifies that personalised communication is no longer just a good-to-have feature for businesses, but a must-have one. In 2016, this meant that email marketers started taking segmented lists and behaviour-based triggered emails became matter-of-fact, for one.

Also, email retargeting in general enjoyed a significant upsurge - in fact, one study shows that retargeted email CTRs and conversion rates (combined with display retargeting) were 3-5% higher than standard display retargeting.

What does this mean for 2017? We can expect personalisation to gain even more ground in email marketing, now that people have seen its benefits - and for automated personalisation to become increasingly more popular, since it saves time and energy for marketers everywhere.

Want some more details about personalisation? Check out our guide to website personalisation, chock-full of handy tips! Get it here!

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: when it comes to planning, writing and designing emails, you need to keep mobile very much in your mind. In 2016, our own servers recorded that email opens on a mobile device (56%) were more than email opens on a desktop or laptop (43%).

And since this will only shift more in mobile’s favour, it’s time to start thinking of the length and complexity of your emails too. We’re past the time where it was enough to make your email design mobile-friendly, with comfortably clickable CTAs and small screen-friendly font sizes: this year, we saw that the emails with no more than 50-125 words were the ones that got the best response rates, which means you need to really think over your email copy, too.  

Find out when and how the mobile revolution really blew up from our free Mobile Marketing report!

 

Speaking about email design: with the exception of Outlook, email clients are finally starting to catch up to the newer trends email designers are trying nowadays. One such trend is animation: whether we’re talking GIFs, cinemagraphs or other innovations, 2016 saw a significant rise in animated emails hitting inboxes.

For 2017, you should expect animation to keep its place at the forefront of email design, but to move past being an entertaining/decorative feature. Why? Because email consumers increasingly want to engage with the content in their inboxes. So animations should support your email’s content and/or purpose, helping to make your emails into a truly interactive experience.

Our Email Design Guide for Savvy Marketers has further tips and tricks about designing for email - get your copy today!

One of the biggest realisations of 2016: you can’t speak of email any more without mentioning data. The two have become truly inseparable: as more and more companies are connecting their data silos to enhance their customer insights, naturally it’s affecting the way they use email marketing too.

Last year, we saw contextual data (like location, device use or even the weather!) become crucial for email marketing send-outs; in 2017, not only will it continue to gain ground, but it will happen increasingly in real-time.

In addition to this - just like we predicted earlier! - chatbot-powered emails and the use of artificial intelligence will also define the email marketing of tomorrow. Not to mention data privacy! Because of regulations like the GDPR, we may be seeing less (or even none) of those pre-ticked “subscribe” checkboxes in sign-up forms any more...

No longer the sole domain of developers, technology and all its advances have become a vital part of all marketing communications. So much so, in fact, that all previous trends are built and based on it!

One of these innovations that defined 2016 were integrations - and make no mistake that it will carry on to 2017 as well. Now that marketers have gotten a glimpse of the many benefits integrating multiple data sources (such as email marketing) can bring, it’s now only a question of technology when and where the integration fever will end.

This stands true for several long-awaited trends too, from full HTML5 video support to automatic subscriber segmentation and highly interactive emails (i.e. where you can carry out actions within the email environment itself), just to name a few. These are all things email analysts have predicted for years already - but in 2017, technology might finally catch up to and even overtake our wildest dreams!


Any more email trends you want to know more about? Just let us know and we’ll dig into them ASAP!

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