3 minute read

Email Trends We’re Tracking in 2018

We’re fortunate to have great clients utilizing SmarterHQ's platform to drive ROI and continuously evolve their marketing programs. In addition to keeping things interesting, working with a diverse set of clients across multiple ESPs and verticals allows visibility into a variety of development techniques and campaign use cases that help push our own work forward. Here are the email trends the SmarterHQ Campaign Services team is watching in 2018.  

Continued HTML and CSS Support Improvement 


Overall market share of older, more troublesome email clients (looking at you Outlook) has fallen away, and with Gmail now supporting CSS, the ability to use ‘modern’ HTML in email development has improved significantly. It’s still important to have fallbacks, as our B2B customers tend to have greater constraints on email clients. However, we have had success using CSS across a variety of our campaigns that would have been limited only a couple of years ago. Campaign Monitor maintains a list of CSS for email that is an invaluable resource when developing our campaigns. It can be found here.

Interactive Email

Interactive Email was first brought to my attention as a viable entity by Mark Robbins and the team at Rebelmail who are doing some pretty interesting things with shopping carts in email.

The conversation around interactive email has reached fever pitch as a talking point in the last couple of weeks with the announcement that Gmail will soon support AMP (accelerated mobile pages). This piece by Justin Khoo at FreshInbox covers what these changes mean along with the impact to marketers.

Opinions are varied on the use case of AMP in Gmail. Jason Rodriguez wrote an excellent response as to why he believes that AMP for email is a bad idea, and Fabio Carneiro wrote this piece, making a valid point about the goal of a marketer utilizing email as a means to drive traffic to the site.     

No matter your view as a marketer or email developer, it’s certainly an interesting development that opens up new discussion about the use and goals for campaigns. More on this to come.

Modeling Campaigns

Our clients regularly bring new ideas for campaign data personalization and audience engagement. Beyond simply utilizing the visitors first name in the subject line, personalized content, and promotional sends, targeting subscribers is becoming more complex. Utilizing SmaterHQ's modeling data to power campaigns, the possibilities are wide open for engaging with your subscribers in a meaningful, relevant way. A large retail client saw success with site visitors who were frequently on site, but not completing purchase. They targeted these shoppers utilizing modeling campaigns, segmenting those who shopped in 6+ months in store or online, delivering an average order value of $220 with this audience, and a return per email delivered of $0.34. They also ran a High Value, but disengaging campaign. Generally, these are people who spend more typically but have recently disengaged from the site. The client saw a jump in average order value to $367 for this campaign.

Segmentation and More Segmentation

I’ve previously written about the performance of mop up campaigns, targeting visitors who have been on the site during a sale or promotional period. We’re seeing strong performance with additional audience segmentation introducing sales and promotional events. By utilizing this type of segmentation, we’re seeing open rates of 24%, click through rates of 3%, as well as 5% click to conversion. The revenue per email delivered averages $0.36. Typically, a standard sale announcement generates only around $.05 per email. The difference? The right personalized content delivered at the right time.

SmarterHQ Product Recommendations

With SmarterHQ product recommendations launching in 2017 our clients have been pushing use cases beyond transactional campaigns, implementing recommendations in daily marketing sends, one off promotions and other campaigns that fall outside of the traditional use case. A retailer saw a click through rate of 5.1% for campaigns containing recommendations vs. 0.7% without, and the transaction rate was 100x higher. These campaigns generated 2x the revenue with only 20% of total sends.