Hotmail have announced a new technology in their inbox called Active Views, which brings more ‘app-like’ technology to email by allowing it’s contents to be up-to-date and more interactive. In the demo video below, a mailing from a hotel site allows the user to search for rooms using a booking widget and browse results, all without leaving the email. The service is currently in a trial with Orbitz, Monster, Netflix and LinkedIn.
Amazon UK are taking an interesting approach introducing a Black Friday campaign to the UK market this year – Traditionally the UK has never really had such an event, perhaps an equivalent is the January sales. It’ll be interesting to see how successful it is for them, and if indeed the concept of ‘Black Friday’ is successful as a sales driver with the British public.
This email from UK fashion retailer asos contains some interesting mobile innovations, but seems to fall at the last hurdle. The single message email includes a call to action to visit m.asos.com, the brand’s mobile optimised site. There’s a lot of consideration for users using a desktop – the url is included in the creative, the email links through to a landing page on asos.com about the mobile services, and there’s a great use of a mobile QR barcode – so recipients can load the mobile site by snapping a photo of the barcode on their phone.
Another clever innovation that’s handled by the website is that when the email is clicked from a desktop, a landing page about the apps is displayed within the regular asos site, but when clicking through from a mobile it loads the mobile site. However when I ‘clicked’ on the link using my iPhone, it forwards through to a mobile version of asos.com, but seems to drop the ball and throw some kind of error finding the content. Ideally this page would contain information driving to an iPhone app or welcoming me to the mobile site.
So some clever ideas here, slightly let down by a lost opportunity for those clicking through directly from a mobile.
The Starbucks Card Newsletter is a great example of using full width background imagery in an email campaign – a useful way to add extra brand elements and style, drawing the email out from the regular email client page background. The main content area of the email is still within a 700px limit, so the extra background space will collapse down for those using smaller browsers.
In terms of the artwork, the coffee-bean-sack texture is on brand and follows the kind of textured look that is very ‘in’ at the moment on the web. Elsewhere there’s some standard newsletter fayre, perhaps it’d be good to bring the account management stuff up so it’s more prominent.
Implementing background images in email
Unlike most background images, those applied to the <body> tag do work in Outlook 2007. A few other email clients don’t though, so it’s best to apply the background to both the <body> and a 100% width table, just to be sure.