The Evolution of Email Design and the Impact on Marketing

Jul, 31 2018

AdobeStock_171028224Over the past decade, the email industry has been rapidly evolving. We have seen three key phases during this time that have revolutionized the way marketers use email.


  1. The increase in internet speed and prevalence of mobile phone usage.
    In 2013, email opens on mobile officially surpassed desktop. This rise in mobile phone usage enabled marketers to reach customers at virtually any time, as mobile phone owners check emails regularly throughout the day.
  2. The ability to turn video into gifs. This phase came about in 2014, and it changed the way consumers interact with emails. They no longer had to click an email and be taken to a video that lives somewhere else; consumers could now engage with video directly in the email. This meant that marketers could now more easily showcase products or events within the channel customers were already engaging. And most importantly, videos let marketers communicate without relying on the user to actually read anything, because, well, we know how people feel about reading...
  3. Kinetic design. Email kinetic design began to gain traction as early as 2015, but didn’t become mainstream until 2017. Kinetic design provides an interactive experience, making emails resemble a landing page. This is seen as a major step in the revolution of email marketing.

Kinetic Email Design and Its Impact on Customer Engagement

With an email using kinetic design, the goal is to make the customer feel like they are engaging with your website instead of reading an email. This includes components such as:

Kinetic design has only been around for a few years, but it is quickly gaining traction as marketers see the increase in engagement and conversions coming from kinetic-style emails. The key reason for kinetic design’s success is that it allows the email medium to take advantage of our mobile-first world and a gamified experience, which of course leads to improving customer engagement.

The ultimate goal of kinetic email design is for brands to showcase their products and services just like they would on a website landing page, and entice users into engaging and purchasing right from their mobile device. This minimizes steps in the buyer journey by making the purchase path more effortless and providing a better customer experience. With the direction kinetic design is headed, coupled with advancements in mobile payments like Venmo and Apple Pay, younger generations are going to quickly become accustomed to purchasing directly off of email.

Integrating Personalization into the New Era of Email Marketing

As technology has evolved, so has consumer expectation for the ways brands engage and interact with them. It’s no longer enough to send a “personalized” email with a first name; consumers expect the emails in their inbox to promote items and services that are personalized and relevant to their interests. If you have a developer designing amazingly engaging kinetic emails for your brand, but you are including irrelevant content in the email, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

In order for brands to send personalized emails based on preferences and past engagement history, they must first collect both online and offline customer data in a way that is actionable. With a customer data platform (CDP) like AgilOne, customer data is first ingested, cleansed, deduped, and stitched from an infinite number of sources, allowing all transaction, engagement, and profile data to be combined into one single customer record. From there, AgilOne can create any number of customer segments to be used in email personalization; a CDP allows personalization to go well beyond mentioning a product a customer previously purchased in an email. With CDP technology, marketers can cross-sell and upsell using propensity to purchase lists, easily let customers know how close they are to a reward in a reward program, or even send discounts based on geolocation and preference to purchase in store or online.

If you are looking to up the ante on your email marketing strategy, you must approach it with a two-pronged strategy: improve your overall email design (think kinetic, engaging, easy to use) and ensure you are hyper-targeting your offerings based on your customer’s preferences. This is the future of email marketing, and the sooner brands can get on board, the sooner they can reap the benefits.