Email: Past, present and future

Email: Past, present and future

We’ve left you with our top articles written by Industry leaders, summarising how 2018 played out. It now only seems fit to follow with our own email industry roundup and what we think 2019 holds for email.

Now we’re very vocal with our indifference of predictions which is perfectly summed up by Peter Drucker below… but… we have listed some ideas to focus on to make your email programmes better as we’re all about smart programmes and amazing design, executed well!

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window”  Peter Drucker



GDPR legislations enforced

  • GDPR didn’t kill email marketing! Even if it did cause a bit of a flurry of worry. Making sure emails are compliant has become second nature to email marketers along with how data is captured and used. We don’t think this is a bad thing!

Gmail redesigned

  • Gmail bought in a lot of changes for users in 2018, including the top picks, unsubscribe banner, annotations, snooze an email, reminders and auto-reply. Keeping marketers on their toes! Litmus summed up the changes back in April.


Campaign Monitor acquiring Emma and Delivra

  • Delivra the marketing automation software and Emma the personalisation and automation company were acquired under the Campaign Monitor umbrella, but as yet are still separate.


Salesforce acquires Rebel

  • The king of interactive email and an API to help email developers create interactive and live email elements, Rebel mail was acquired by the email service provider giant Salesforce. We look forward to seeing what comes out of the new partnership.


Gmail Promotions Tab

  • Big news! Everyone now wants their emails in the promotions tab, with the new Gmail annotations feature which can be developed within an email. Checkout all the tools now available from Litmus, Email On Acid and Fresh Inbox.


AMP for Email

  • Exciting news that Gmail will be launching the new email Mime type amp4email in January 2019. This will bring a curated list of amp features into email, allowing developers to more easily integrate interactive elements and live data into emails going into Gmail. There is some opposition to the Gmail only solution, with some in the email community wanting better integration with web standards rather than a separate type just for Google.
  • Jay has been experimenting with the amp features in the developer playground here and it looks exciting, but we are still waiting to get hands on with live email testing. Read his first thoughts here and the latest from Kevin Mandeville here.


So, how can email programmes improve in 2019?


“The thing with annual predictions is, the annual bit. Really, as marketers, we should strive to do better every day, making small steps as often as we can. Email is a great channel for this, as we send stuff so often. So every time you send something in 2019, try to make a tweak or try something new, no matter how small, and those gradual improvements will add up.” Elliot Ross


Automated journeys being given a bit of love

  • As brands struggle with the shear weight of content they need to produce in order to get a personalised message out the door, we hope brands will turn to their automated journeys and give them a new lease of life. Focus on stand out design, witty copy, live content and some thought-out user journeys, then over time the triggers will outperform the draining weekly campaigns.


A shift from hybrid into responsive

  • As media query support is rapidly improving we would like to see a shift from more complex ‘hybrid’ coding techniques, into the simpler/quicker ‘responsive’ style of code.


Design for mobile as standard

  • We would like to see the term ‘mobile email’ used less frequently, all email designs should be fit for mobile as standard.


An increase in personalised tactics within email

  • We expect to see a lot more brands creatively use data to retain customers, a great example is Spotify – ‘Your year in review’. This is a creative way to showcase the data that has been collected, using it to personalise email communication, making content more relevant and bringing email to the forefront of a users day-to-day journey.


Gmail’s client share will continue to increase

  • With its amp4email, we believe Gmail’s client share will continue to grow. Which will create a new wave of interactivity, along with webkit clients, use of forms and interactivity within email will grow.


Outlook will look to support media queries and interactivity within email

  • Early testing on saw (for a brief period) support for min/max-width media  queries and some interactive support. However what has changed right now – Outlook no longer  removes role and aria tags, Outlook 2019 support SVGs and the Times New Roman fallback font has been fixed.


Post GRPR world will stabilize but that leaves educated consumers demanding more

  • Hopefully 2019 will see brands relax and see that safety in numbers isn’t always accurate. GDPR has purged databases and given power to the people with awareness on how brands ‘should’ be using their data. The countdown is on to see which brand will be fined first. With interpretations on the new legislation varying it will be interesting to see how the repercussions play out from hitting brands wallets to pushing them to fight for a place in their customers inboxes.


With raising customer expectations brands need to do better

  • Data can uncover a lot about customer buying behaviour, and the better brands leverage that data to understand different personas, the better their email marketing results will be. With predictive technologies largely driving inbox behaviour, from personalisation through to AI customers expect a personalised buyer experience to be delivered. Marketers will be able to make smarter decisions by predicting which marketing actions are most likely to succeed, and therefore dramatically improving their results.


Here is what we will be doing in 2019


ActionRocket will be continuing to grow whilst staying passionate about email. We will be working with great clients to help their email strategy, creativity, design and development.


EmailWeekly will be testing new developments, segmentation and pushing the boundaries of email.


EmailDesignReview will continue to be the hub of all our thoughts, our platform to push industry insights, opinion pieces, and a place to share great email design!


Bex Highfield
Marketing Manager @ Action Rocket