2019 Email Predictions Webinar Q&A and Link

 Dan Stone 

Recently we ran our hugely popular 2019 Email Predictions webinar. For those who couldn’t make it, you can find a recording here, and my colleague Laura Christensen has already summarised the key themes in her own blog post.

In the webinar, we had a lot of really great questions, and we’ll use this blog to answer some of the best ones.

For 2019 predictions, why are ‘forwards’ still a thing? Is it something I should pay more attention to?
Forwarding is one of the positive engagement metrics that mailbox providers (MBPs) consider to determine the relevancy of emails. Gmail has said this on record, and even if this metric is tiny compared with others, it clearly shows subscribers have seen value. If the email wasn’t relevant they wouldn’t have forwarded it. Read our great Hidden Metrics Benchmark for more insights on this.

What exactly is the BIMI Authentication? Should BIMI be configured even after I have my domain configured with SPF & DKIM?
A colleague wrote a great blog post on BIMI which you can read here. If you want more info, email us at rpinfo-uk@returnpath.com.

What is the block chain and deliverability topic about?
Blockchain allows digital information to be distributed but not copied. Blockchain technology provides the backbone of a new type of internet, originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin.

Salesforce has been working on its own blockchain project. The patent application reads: “To address the issues discussed above [deliverability challenges], systems and methods are provided that use blockchain (or equivalent) technologies to address challenges presented in message delivery and integrity. In one embodiment, a messaging system is provided that includes a first message server, a second message server and a distributed database system that stores a blockchain.”

When will this update in Gmail be active?
You can find more details in George Bilbrey’s post: New Year New Gmail Promotions Tab.

How does Personalization/AI work with growing concerns around privacy through GDPR etc.
GDPR requires having clear and transparent consent for the processing of personal data, or a valid legitimate interest. Provided subscribers are clear about how their data will be used, and that there is a valid legal basis for this, use of AI technology will be aligned with this legislation.

Any thoughts on North American email deliverability? Specifically for B2B domains?
Return Path’s latest Deliverability Benchmark report quotes average inbox placement rates for North America of 84 Percent. Interestingly, inbox placement rates for Gmail are higher than that, at 91% globally. This is important – Gmail has 1.5 billion active users globally, and Sendgrid quotes Gmail’s share of inbox in the US at 42.1 percent, 37.9 percent in Canada).

Not only is Gmail one of the most used personal mailboxes; there is also consistent growth of companies moving to Google’s G Suite – 5 million according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai*.

B2B senders should therefore be aware – just as their B2C counterparts are – that good subscriber engagement is increasingly essential for good deliverability. For example, Office 365 and G Suite use the same filtering engines as their Outlook.com and Gmail counterparts—only the weightings differ.

Increased engagement means B2B senders need to recognize contacts as individuals. Marketing to people, not businesses, includes offering personalized journeys throughout the entire customer lifecycle; implementing targeted real-time communication triggers; and keeping your customers top-of-mind in everything from your content and design to email cadence and frequency.

*Source: Q4 2018 Alphabet Earnings Release 

Can you expand on the wearables prediction and give examples of what this might look like?
The first Apple watch was released in April 2015; they are already on series 4. In that time, screen resolution and image quality has improved massively, making them viable for email marketing. Here are some ideas for when designing for wearables:

  • Make sure you still use plain text multi-part along with your HTML, although as the technology develops further they will be able to handle more HTML designed emails.
  • Control use of large images and file sizes. With smart watches now using their own 4G data connections having them download large image files might not be ideal for the customer, also having large images and making the customer scroll on their watch is far from ideal.
  • Have clear calls to action to drive opens on subscribers’ phones or other device. In future all interactions may take place from the watch, but currently user experience remains better on a phone/laptop/etc.

On the Gmail & Yahoo ‘makeover’ retrospectives and the new functionality in the inbox—what impact will this have on how we build email?
The fundamentals of email building will stay the same. Build with a customer first mentality, and always have clear calls to action and content. This becomes even more important with Gmail’s promotions tab highlighting key parts of your content. Learn more by reading this great blog post by our colleague Andrew Bennett.

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About Dan Stone

Dan is an Email Strategist at Return Path. He has over 10 years’ experience, starting off in the publishing sector before taking the leap into online retail. His passion is in Personalisation, one to one marketing and deliverability. Dan received the IDM award in Email Marketing in 2012. A big music festival fan, you'll find Dan spending most of his summer in a muddy field in and around the English Countryside.

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