During this very important and formative period, marketers started having trouble getting their emails into consumers’ inboxes. With the rise of email and the increase of virus-containing or pharmaceutical ad spam, consumers became considerably less likely to open and engage with email. New filtering rules were put in place by internet service providers (ISPs), and in 2004 some of these ISPs, such as AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo began introducing recipient feedback schemes. Marketers could now see what consumers thought of their emails, and start tracking spam complaints as a metric. This small update on behalf of ISPs was the very beginning of what we now know as anti-spam strategy.
As social media started growing, there was more of an emphasis on customer feedback and engagement. New methods to protect customers from unwanted emails were introduced. Hotmail and Gmail started allowing customers to filter emails into different folders, based on priority. Windows Live Sender Reputation Data allowed customers to flag companies based on whether their emails were spam or not. These simple but effective techniques ‘encouraged’ brands to put more work into building relationships with their subscribers ultimately leading to better inbox placements.
How Mobile Changed Email
With the rise of the smartphone starting in 2007/2008 more and more users started checking email on their phones instead of on their computers. According to our Q3 2016 email benchmark report the proportion of mobile to desktop clicks has surpassed the 50 percent mark. It’s now essential for content development teams to craft emails that provide excellent user experience across all devices (desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet).
Email and Personalization
Fast-forward to the final weeks of 2016 and email marketing has changed considerably even in the last few years, let alone the past 40. Now more than ever, it’s important to capture the attention of a customer, and engage with them in a meaningful way. No longer can marketers make general assumptions about their subscriber base. Instead, they must create highly personalized experiences based on data-driven insights about consumers’ unique preferences and lifestyles.