The future of email automation: A mid-year outlook
Published July 7, 2017 3:59 pm by
Categories: The business of marketing
At the beginning of 2017, Jordie van Rijn, founder and chief editor of emailvendorselection.com, asked a variety of experts to predict forthcoming email marketing trends and developments. Now that we’re over halfway through the year, it’s time to gut check a couple of these prognostications to determine whether they’ve fared well … or have crashed and burned in a Steve “The iPhone won’t get any significant market share” Ballmer-like conflagration.
Prediction #1: Artificial intelligence takes over campaign execution
Krzysztof Jarecki, VP, Business Development at ExpertSender, believes AI will continue to improve the campaign execution processes, including “greater automation of segmentation and matching of customers with the most appropriate content for their business goals” resulting in people “[having] more time to focus on the more creative and fun aspects of marketing.”
Gut Check: Getting close
Advancements are developing at a rapid clip—for proof just look at the recent announcements of Demandbase’s AI-based personalization, Oracle’s AI tools for marketers and IBM’s new AI-powered Marketing Insights.
And then there’s what may be the biggest leap forward in terms of marketing execution and big data components, an AI tool developed by Adgorithms called “Albert.”
As noted in Barb Mosher Zinck’s recent article in diginomica.com, Albert—created in 2010 by Or Shani to remove the hard manual work inherent to online marketing—“does your media mix for you, runs cross-channel campaigns, tests and optimizes and analyzes, doing more than giving you insights, but adapting automatically based on what he’s learning.” All the marketer needs to do is develop campaign creative, assign a budget and timeframe and—voila!—“Albert figures out the best mix of advertising and communications across all your channels. He creates the message, sends the message, tracks the message. He learns in real time what is working and what isn’t and he adapts the mix accordingly.”
While the majority of AI in this vein happens in digital media campaign management, AI for email marketing content personalization/automation is the next frontier.
Prediction #2: Video as the up-and-coming functionality
David Raab, Independent Consultant and Founder at CDP Institute, feels that “we can expect tools that make it vastly easier to create videos…accompanied by changes that make it easier to deploy video, perhaps through sampling mechanisms similar to .gifs.”
Gut Check: Happening now
According to eMarketer, approximately half of the marketers who used video in email campaigns saw increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email and increased sharing and forwarding.
Luckily, content development continues to become easier, cheaper and less of a time drain with apps like Camera Plus Pro, Nutshell, Magisto, Animoto, Videoshop and iMovie.
From a deployment standpoint, the recent launch of iOS 10 allows for support of HTML5 video, no small thing considering that almost 68% of emails were opened on mobile devices and, of those, 53% were opened on iPhones. (source: zeroabove.co.uk). As noted in the blog Kissmetrics, HTML5, “with features like improved functionality and the video playing feature within web pages, creates great interaction with the user.” What more, “Apple Mail 4, 5, or 6, iPhone Mail, iPad Mail, and Outlook support HTML5 videos.”
Finally, according to a recent article on tweakyourbiz.com, an “array of tools offered on the Internet provide vast features that can analyze the video content and allow AI system to orchestrate their usage. Hence, the knowledge gained is the key to understanding real-time development within markets.”
Prediction #3: Campaign workflow automation embraced by small market
Mr. van Rijn contends “before long this type of email marketing automation will be table stakes. Already prevalent in mid-market, small-market providers will have some kind of event-triggered email, not…rudimentary auto-responders [but rather] a version of…fancy drag and drop interfaces.”
Gut Check: Happening now
The great benefit of event-triggered e-mail is, of course, that once set up and tested, it’s a low-cost method of boosting response. To that end, niche automation companies such as Get Response, Marketing 360 and Drip currently feature affordable, easy-to-use and scalable visual campaign builders that allow users to track subscriber behaviors in real time and react to completed purchases, abandoned carts, delays, etc.
What email automation trends are you seeing proliferate in the market?