Email behaviour

Email is here to stay, and so is the way most people use it. Unfortunately, email interruptions are a productivity killer.

A study by the Danwood Group found that it takes on average 64 seconds to recover from an email interruption (regardless of the email’s importance) and to return to the same productivity level. Therefore, the biggest change in email will come from recognizing the fact that people are bad at managing their email.

The key is helping people simplify and focus without making them drastically change behavior. Innovative providers will make the entire email experience more intuitive and less demanding while seamlessly dealing with increasing volume and complexity.

Smarter and more easily customizable notifications that allow users to filter out noise to focus on what’s important, overlaying more order on what can seem like a never-ending sea of chaos.

What will become less relevant?

As more email functionality arrives in people’s inboxes, the need for a click through to a separate page will become less important.

From embedded videos to surveys and beyond, functionality that once required people to click through to landing pages can be achieved within a person’s inbox. This development may have unintended consequences for marketers, who must then balance the value of getting people to more easily engage against removing the incentive for customers to visit their websites.

Video integration in email?

The video email has finally arrived.

Apple’s renewed commitment to video support underscores that fact, and it means this huge segment of users will continue to have videos play directly from email. However, although video content has proven to be engaging, and auto-playing it even more so, the realities of how people check email can raise some potential issues.

People frequently check emails on their phones. This presents a number of video challenges. For example, people typically spend just seconds scanning an email, this translates that a video must be worthy within the first 3-5 seconds or it’s going to be deleted. Add to this that auto-playing a video when a person is checking email in a meeting can cause problems. Finally, some people may have their sound turned off, in which case your carefully crafted video production becomes a silent movie.

So video should be complementary to the email’s purpose, and more importantly its inclusion should be necessary and add value. In short, it video needs to add something that can’t be communicated in through static images.

To sum up, this is the year to start looking at ways to experiment with interactive emails. There is no single “right” approach, but you should make sure whatever interactivity you add is appropriate for your brand and your customers.

Also, not every email needs to have interactivity embedded. Keep it purpose-driven, and think of each as a self-contained micro site that allows your customers to do something they find interesting or valuable.

The promise of delivering a truly personalized email takes a significant amount of data to know each individual customer, and what they would find most relevant, but also a tremendous amount of effort to define all the logic and content required to make the resulting emails seem personal.

Better AI should allow more marketers to take steps toward realizing the potential of personalization beyond the token greeting or account information. Personalization should demonstrate you know your customers.

If done right, interactive email is more convenient for the customer and will greatly improve engagement and true personalization requires that you really understand what information your customers are looking for and the ways in which it can add value.

Both of these are no easy task but make 2018 the year you start to explore how to better understand your customers email habits and begin to experiment with interactive emails.