Marketers Predict the Future ... of Email
What’s the first thing you do after your alarm goes off in the morning? For many, that answer is “check my email.” That’s not too shocking considering there were over 205 billion emails sent per day in 2015.
Employees check their email an average of 74 times a day — about nine times per hour in an eight-hour workday. Add a few more tallies for your personal email account that you are most likely checking multiple times throughout the day, too.
It seems email inboxes are taking over lives, and the majority of marketers and consumers believe it’s here to stay. In the report "Email Marketing in 2020" conducted by Litmus of Cambridge, Mass., 70 percent of consumers surveyed said they believe email will still exist 10 years from now. More consumers believe in the longevity of email over Facebook and cable television (both coming in at 67 percent).What will email be like 10 years from now? We can’t predict the future (that might be different in 10 years), but we can look at changes marketers predict will take place over the next five to 10 years.
1. Email Will Become “Smarter”
More companies are beginning to use artificial intelligence (AI). During Facebook’s F8 Developer’s Conference earlier this month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that companies are able to use “bots” on Facebook Messenger to talk to customers in real time. Zuckerberg said these bots can help with customer service, product orders and inquiries.
AI has the ability to work the same way through email. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed in the Litmus study responded that they believe AI will determine the majority of email content by 2020. This results in email becoming “smarter.”Three quarters of marketers surveyed believe AI will lead to emails becoming completely personalized over the next five years. In the future, campaigns will be driven by each customer’s geo-location, area weather, time stamp or behavior, rather than the same email being sent to hundreds or thousands of customers at once.
2. Email Will Become More Profitable
As emails become smarter, profits will become higher — at least that’s what marketers believe. Forty-six percent of those surveyed optimistically said emails will lead to high ROIs by 2020.
Emails containing real-time advertising have the possibility of influencing buyers as they are looking at a specific product. Len Shneyder, VP of industry relations at SparkPost, an email delivery service, said, “More real-time advertising within email will become important given the increasingly shorter half-life of trends in fashion, retail, music, etc. The future buying and planning of department stores is changing into a more immediate, on-demand model — or at least they should be. Therefore, the content of messages will have to keep pace and change upon opening — a morning offer vs. an evening offer, for example.”
Real-time advertising can drive customer loyalty because the customer believes the company is catering to him or her specifically. More loyal customers = higher profits.Eighty-four percent of marketers said email will be fully integrated with other marketing channels over the next five years. This creates a consistent subscriber and customer experience.
3. Email Regulation Will Become Stricter
Fifty-three percent of people surveyed believe email will be “highly automated” by 2020. However, automated emails can be associated with spam.
In the future, marketers will have to prove they are authentic. This might be a verified “check mark” (like you see on Instagram or Twitter) or a personal message on top of each email. This ensures the subscribers’ information is safe and the email can be trusted.
According to Andrew Bonar, founder of Deliverabilty Ltd., a collection of deliverability and compliance tools, permission, personalization and relevance will be considered a minimum acceptable standard for marketers sending email campaigns.
“Marketers will not only need to justify and deliver real value in exchange for permission, but will also need to justify tracking and storing subscriber data, and be able to adapt their messaging to varying degrees of visibility into engagement,” said Bonar.
Marketers need to prepare for this change, and many have accepted it as fact. Almost 47 percent of those surveyed believe anti-spam laws will be strengthened by 2020.
Although these are just some opinions of marketers, the reality is that email is changing. Email has been changing over the past 40 or so years. Marketers have already reacted to and learned new email marketing techniques, so don’t be intimidated by email of the future.