What Apple Watch Could Mean for Email Marketers

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When a new iteration of an iPhone is released, more attention is devoted to smartphones. When an iPad is released, more attention is directed onto tablets… also known as the “Apple Effect”. Although ‘wearables’ and smartwatches have been on the market for a little while now, the most valuable brand’s introduction into the space could mean wider and more rapid adoption of smartwatches as a whole.

The Apple Watch was finally released on Friday April 24th and as is the case with most Apple product releases, the spotlight on that particular product category shone especially bright. Millions of people have already begun using the device to check their notifications, send messages, monitor their heart rates, and interact with emails.

The Apple Watch could be very significant for marketers because it will be a new platform that they will have to be prepared for when deploying emails. Read on to learn what we know today in terms of the email features on the Apple Watch and what they could possibly mean for marketers.

1.  Plain-text email will make a comeback

Emails that contain images and well-designed layouts will now appear as plain-text messages on the Apple Watch if there is a plain-text version available alongside the HTML version. If there is no plain-text version, then the watch will prompt the user to view the email content on their iPhone (similar to the ‘view this email on your browser’ prompt). Since emails will display as text, tracking opens will not be possible since the open tracking pixels will not display/load on the watch.

2.  Most links in emails won’t work

Links that are normally integrated in email content will now be disabled on the Apple Watch. This is due to the fact that the Apple Watch does not have a browser and links that are clicked usually drive users to a page on a browser. So if a user were to tap on a line that resembles a link, nothing will happen.

As of now the only links that would be actionable would be addresses (tapping on an address would open the Apple Maps application) and phone numbers (clicking a number will connect the watch with the accompanying iPhone to make a call). It remains to be seen if links to social posts would open an accompanying application on the watch itself (e.g. a link to a tweet opens in the Twitter app). Because links will not be actionable, click-throughs also won’t be trackable.

Whether smartwatches become widespread enough to change how consumers interact with emails on the go remains to be seen. This potential change in user behavior will also depend on whether the email viewing experience on the Apple Watch today will be the same tomorrow.

What we do know is that smartwatches are designed for users to have quick and surface-level interactions so email elements such as effective subject lines (to-the-point and eye-catching) and personalization will become even more important. When a user receives an email notification on an Apple Watch, it will need to be compelling enough for him/her to flag and view it on a smartphone or computer later on.

Our Deliverability team is continuously monitoring the email landscape and will continue digging deep into updates around email on wearables.