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June 2013

The Rise of the Smart In Box and Implications for Email Marketing

Posted @ 17:00:00 on 27 June 2013

email marketing and smart in boxes. Content relevancy , in box management and spam folder customer behaviourIn box deliverability is not a new topic however Email providers such as Gmail have for some time been adding increasing levels of sophistication to help identify email as "relevant" or "spam" and improve UX. We are not just talking about simple spam filters , looking for dodgy content anymore.

Even the best emails can't deliver ROI if they end up invisible in spam

In boxes are getting smarter. Gmail and others are assessing user interest in email content by analysing users past open and click behaviour for each sender. They are using Big Data algorithms to do this. Maintaining customer engagement by providing relevant content is more important than ever.

• Will higher proportions of genuine emails , users opted into receiving, go to spam ?

• Are customers checking their spam folders regularly enough ?

• What are the implications for Email Marketing ?

There are also a wide array of in box tools customers now have to help them manage the rising volume of email. These tools help categorise and prioritise emails.

• How actively are people using these ?

• Are these a risk to email marketing ?

We conducted a small online survey which provides a qualitative steer . We asked customers to think about emails they had signed up to ie opted in to receiving.

In summary .

• There is still more work to be done to improve the relevancy of email content as the majority believe they receive relevant content only sometimes

• Giving fake emails on sign up to avoid unwanted emails appears to be relatively low thankfully

• Tools created by email providers to help organise in boxes appear to have a low take up perhaps because they require some setting up .

• Only a minority have email addresses or aliases reserved just for newsletters/marketing or have in box rules or labels set up. Gmail has recently introduced Tabs that categorise emails into folders such as Primary, Promotions and Social , it is likely we will see more of these "automatic" features in the future

• Asking customers to save emails addresses to contacts can't be relied upon as only a minority appear do this , even so Gmail say this doesn't guarantee in box deliverability

• Hitting the spam button appears to be popular so IP reputation is at risk

• It seems it is common for emails the user wants to see ending up in Spam , but perhaps the good news is at least customers appear to be checking these folders regularly. Emails with time sensitive offers and content will suffer more than those with out.


In conclusion:

• Including relevant content consistently  and creating a , personalised experience is a high priority.

• Ensuring genuine and transparent  opt in and an easy unsubscribe is the best policy to maintain IP reputation

• We would encourage email marketers to research the issues raised in this blog post for their specific markets and customer segments , there may be different themes and some nasty surprises.

• Now is the time to use emails with dynamic content where content is based on past purchasing , past browsing, user preferences and customer life cycle triggers . There are a wide range of email solutions and automation processes for all budgets and levels of sophistication so hopefully the old fashioned broadcast email will soon be a thing of the past


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Infographic : Email Marketing - The rise of the smart in box






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