2016 Email Marketing Predictions Revisited

Anna Pfeiffer, Senior Marketing Strategist

Anna Pfeiffer, Senior Marketing Strategist

2016 is quickly coming to a close, and what a year it’s been! Back in Q1, we asked a few of today’s top commerce marketers for their predictions on what the year would bring. I thought it would be fun to look back at their responses and see which ones actually came to fruition.

Prediction: “I think the biggest breakthrough (or at least I hope) is going to be accurate cross-device retargeting.” Brett Rudolph – Director of Email Marketing and Native Acquisition, GlassesUSA

Results: I don’t know about you, but I think Brett was right on here! I have definitely noticed, anecdotally, more cross-device retargeting in my personal online shopping experiences. While I have yet to see many retailers truly master the accurate tracking of cross-device conversions, I have seen more of my clients invest in passing more conversion data back and forth across multiple sources. It isn’t always seamless or perfect by any means, but I do believe it’s getting better! Here’s to hoping we see even more improvements in this area across 2017.

Prediction: “Mobile, mobile, mobile! Mobile is driving over 60% of our traffic and just about 50% of our revenue. We only see this continuing to increase in 2016 and beyond.” Bruce Cabral – Director of Ecommerce, PHE, Inc.

Results: For 2016, opens on mobile have only been slightly higher than the 55% we saw in 2015, and there were even a few times when opens on mobile actually dipped: January, May, June and August. But at the end of October, it was clear that the numbers were rebounding and continuing on an upward trend. While October of 2015 saw mobile opens of a little over 50%, October 2016 ended the month at 56%.

While the growth has been a little less than anticipated by most, the overall trend has still been slightly up. Optimizing for mobile has certainly become more mainstream this year.

environmental growthPrediction: “Reducing the friction in the shopping journey will continue to be important – one-click buying, same-day delivery, location-based offers, etc. It’s incumbent upon us as retailers to meet the consumer where they are, when they want.” Frederique Meijer – former Ecommerce Marketing Manager, JOHNNY WAS

Results: Retailers have certainly gotten more and more creative with their omnichannel marketing strategies this year. Our own Melanie Alfano wrote two great blog posts highlighting some of the advances we’ve seen in this area.

As she mentioned, using Snapchat in retail marketing is a great opportunity to reach customers in a different way. We’ve seen commercials doing double duty across multiple channels. Have you noticed the tendency toward shooting television commercials in a way that makes them appropriate for use on Snapchat as well? Think vertical, or keep all of the action in the center third of the shot.

And we’ve also seen a rise in brick-and-mortar stores using interactive mirrors or screens that connect with their online store or social media presence, as well as virtual dressing rooms on ecommerce websites. These attempts to connect with the consumer however and whenever they like speak to the truth in Frederique’s prediction.

Prediction: “I think the biggest improvement we’ll see is hyper-personalization across the web, email, social and mobile.” Holly Wright – Email Marketing Manager, Phoenix Direct

Results: The increase in cross-device retargeting I mentioned earlier supports Holly’s prediction as well. I would have hoped to have seen hyper-personalization efforts go more mainstream, but for the most part, I am only seeing this from select retailers with lots of resources, smart marketing departments, and help from innovative third parties. But any progress in this area is positive, as the technical challenges are great. For more on effective uses of hyper-personalization this year, check out my recent webinar.

I can’t wait to see the final round-up on email marketing for 2016, especially once the holiday stats start rolling in. And I’m excited to see what 2017 brings. How is your planning going? We’d love to hear your ideas and predictions!