Litmus’ 2019 State of Email report highlights the issues to watch out for (including Google AMP’s email variant) and trends to follow in email this year. Here are the highlights.
One of the most closely watched technical studies about the email marketing space is out, and it argues that email is about to turn a big corner on the interactivity front.
Among the highlights of the latest report:
Mobile, Gmail remain the biggest drivers. The report noted that this past December, 43 percent of all email opens took place in mobile clients, versus 39 percent in webmail and 18 percent in desktop applications. The two most popular email clients in the modern day remain Apple’s iPhone (29 percent) and Google’s Gmail (27 percent). Apple’s iPad saw a slight decline in uptake, while Outlook use improved to 8 percent, from 6 percent the year prior. Yahoo Mail use also grew last year, partly as a result of its acquisition by Verizon, which led the company to combine its technology with that of AOL’s email client.
The AMP factor. Last year, Google made a big splash with its AMP for Email initiative, which aims to modernize email using the same technology that it has been using to speed up mobile pages in recent years. It has yet to launch in Gmail, but it’s expected to do so soon. Litmus sees the benefits of the platform from both sides. “AMP for Gmail promises a new level of interactivity within an email, such as completing surveys, making purchases, or filling out forms without leaving the email,” the report says, but notes that the tool could create added complexities for email service providers and designers. It’s also unclear if other email providers will follow Google’s lead.
Tweaks to watch. Beyond the changes related to AMP, a number of changes to email clients in the past year could prove problematic for web developers—or possibly beneficial. Outlook, for example, changed the way it handles default fonts, ending a long-running frustration for developers. The Litmus report also noted that Apple’s move to implement a dark mode in MacOS could lead lighter-colored emails to look distracting in the new environment. And then there’s the Echo factor: Amazon’s popular device can now read your emails, warts and all. “Email clients drop and add support for critical email elements without warning,” the report warns. “All of these affect how your email looks to your subscribers and performs for your brand.”
How about the technical stuff? Last year was pretty crazy on the data and privacy front, with the implementation of GDPR proving nerve-wracking for marketers. Despite this, the report suggests that any impact might be minimal, with the average list declining by less than 10 percent and having a limited effect on ROI. Litmus says this indicates that marketers shouldn’t fear regulation. The report also goes into the benefits of BIMI, an email verification technology that could provide new branding opportunities to those that meet the technical standard.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations that email marketers can take, including improving inefficiencies, diving into email performance data, and adding more tools to the mix to supplement current email providers.
“We’re in the golden age of email marketing, but many marketers still need to close some big gaps before they can achieve all of the benefits email can bring to an effective digital marketing program,” the report says.