Published November 7, 2022
Email is Dead?
Email’s obituary has been written for many years. It has also been said that the younger generation has moved on from email. Social was the first ‘killer’, then push notifications, then messaging apps. And yet email is very much alive and kicking. Brands continue to send emails, and consumers continue to open, read and act. Yes, some of our interactions have moved away from email to other messaging channels, but that has not reduced the importance of email in our lives. Just in the past year, email companies saw multiple acquisitions amounting to over $13 billion – not bad for a ‘dying’ technology. What keeps email flourishing – even though there has been hardly any change in how it works? What innovations can we expect in the near future and what impact will it have on email, our inbox, and brand-customer relationships?
Let’s first look at the doomsday predictions and analysis.
This is from Fast Company in 2007:
The context was corporate email. “Remember when a new email in your inbox was as exciting as the postman dropping off a card from grandma with a $5 bill in it? Those days are over. Now email is a crushing tsunami. The average corporate email account receives 18 MB of mail and attachments each business day, according to the analyst firm Radicati Group; the figure is projected to grow to 28 MB a day by 2011. No wonder there’s a fledgling movement afoot to periodically declare “email bankruptcy”–delete all your saved emails and start over.”
And this from a few months ago in Pymnts:
At its inaugural “Conversations” event, … Meta revealed new products, pilots and plans to make messaging the heart of next-level social commerce, leveraging demographic tailwinds that are now sunsetting email as the prime means of B2C communication.
… All but declaring email over for business use, Meta vice president of business messaging Matt Idema said, “Our research shows that 7 out of 10 people feel more connected to a business they can message, and over 65% of people said they actually prefer messaging over email and phone.”
Sharing a story from his own recent travel experience, Idema noted hours-long wait times that are becoming common for airline call centers, saying “imagine messaging with an airline agent the moment your flight is canceled. Right in your messaging app you see options and can rebook your flight, and someone responds right away if you have questions. Even if you’re frustrated, you know someone’s hearing you and being responsive.”
This is from Wrike in 2021: “[T]he days when email was the primary tool for completing collaborative projects is over. Email’s rise to primacy as a project management tool was due to its convenience and speed at the start. The barrier to entry was low since everyone had an email address, an email program built into their desktops or browsers, and no learning curve. So we used it not just for short, immediate messages, which were its raison d’être, but for its ability to bring people together virtually and collaborate. But it’s been eclipsed by better tools. Once you need to collaborate with a team and oversee a dozen simultaneously moving parts, email suffers from a load which it wasn’t meant to bear, and makes it increasingly difficult to find information or consolidate feedback.”
This is from Inc in 2018:
Email is like a foreign country to Gen-Z workers. You visit infrequently, and when you’re there, you have no idea how anything works. The food tastes terrible and you don’t even like the water. You ask the “locals” for help, but they are just as confused.
Now, that student does respond by text message, Facebook chat, on Slack, and sometimes by finding me in person. In fact, she’s an excellent communicator. Most people in her generation communicate constantly, almost too much.
What’s happened is that email has lost all power as far as a form of digital communication for her age group. I once predicted that email would die by 2020. It’s 2018, and it is already firmly in the dead pool for many young workers; Gen-Z don’t even bother.
… The truth is, email doesn’t really match their entire persona. It’s too slow and dated, too cumbersome, to ornate. Why spell everything out in 500 words of well-crafted text when you can discuss over chat in 20 seconds?
Email serves many purposes: personal communications, work messaging, and brand marketing. Personal communications has moved to messaging apps like Whatspp, business messaging has moved to apps like Slack and Flock, and some brand messaging has also migrated to other channels like SMS, push notifications, and WhatsApp. Yet, email is still with us – for some or all of the above. Why? And will it stay in the future?
Email Power – 1
Email has multiple uses – 1:1 and groups with people we know (friends and colleagues at work), newsletters, brand communications (transactional, triggered and marketing messages), and then of course, there are the unsolicited emails (spam). Email has also become an identity for sign-in to websites and apps. While some of its usage has migrated elsewhere, email still remains a dominant channel for many of us and for brands.
An answer on Quora by Auren Hoffman to a thread on email captures its power:
Asynchronous communication is really, really important: Email is beautiful because it is asynchronous. When you get an email, it is not assumed you will respond that second. You can take a day, think about the message, and respond thoughtfully. Sometimes it is just used to convey information and you do not need to respond at all. Synchronous written communication (like SMS, chat, etc.) have their place and can be really important when real-time is a priority … but most things do not need to be real time.
Email is open: Anyone using any system can email anyone else. You use Google Apps and I use Microsoft Exchange? We can still communicate. The soldier using Military email can communicate with her grandmother using AOL. You can take your history with you. You can forward your messages to a new system. Don’t like using Gmail? No problem, you can forward your old gmail address email to the new one you like. Messages go through a common protocol. Most of the “new” cool systems are closed. They are not portable. They lock you in. They don’t actually have your best interest at heart.
Email has a long history that you can search: The older you are, the more useful this is. You can figure out when you met that cool person twelve years ago. You can read old communications. You can easily search. And, because it is open, you can take your history with you (though admittedly this is more difficult than it needs to be).
Many “new” modes of communication are just email: SMS: synchronous email with threads. (Gmail is asynchronous email with threads). Facebook messaging: email with nice graphics. Slack: email that only works for internal communication. WeChat: synchronous email for people that live in China.
This is from Momchil Kyurkchiev writing in Forbes in 2019:
Email is central to the mobile experience: In a recent survey…of 1,000 consumers measuring their sentiment toward mobile brand engagement, less than 9% said they never open emails from companies. Email is mobile users’ preferred type of notification (cited by 46% of respondents); it’s strongly preferred over push notifications (15%) and in-app messaging (20%)…The crucial point is that email lives side by side with these and other modes of communication in a dynamic mobile ecology with a host of interactions and synergies. You might get a WeChat message that points you to open a follow-up email, and then you move over to texting from there. Or let’s say your car insurance is due and the actual notice is in email — a push notification comes through and directs your attention to the email so you don’t miss a payment. All of the new channels interact with email in a tightly integrated, native mobile experience. They all increase the value of email and vice versa.
Email is thriving in the shift to real-time: In the desktop world, as we all know from experience, email is far from instant. It’s treated almost like an offline means of communication. People take hours (and sometimes even days) to open and respond to emails. But on your phone, email can behave more like a push notification and can be opened in a matter of minutes. That raises the exciting prospect of communicating with customers in near real-time as their short-term needs arise. Marketers can capitalize on email’s warm, richly informative, more personal tone to bring relevant information to time-sensitive contexts.
Email can be a powerful engine of customer engagement: Email’s potential for personalization and relationship-building is enormous, though still largely untapped. Marketing pros know that simply adding the recipient’s name to an email’s subject line hugely increases open rates.
Email Power – 2
Paul Holland wrote on TechNative a few months ago about why email is still thriving:
Versatile Usability: As digital mediums continually adapt and change, many tend to get more complex, creating an issue for those who simply want to communicate efficiently. There are a variety of file sharing applications available online, but how does one know which is the best, the most effective or even the least complicated to use? For those unused to using newer tech, utilising email is a far easier option. Not to mention that it’s free – a checkmark in anyone’s book. An estimated 99% of email users are thought to check their personal and professional inboxes daily.
Highly accessible, highly reliable: With the ability to quickly and easily send electronic files – documents, images, data sheets and more – to contacts located anywhere in the world, email has become the default option for businesses worldwide, now ingrained into a vast range of processes. The DMA has revealed that the majority of individuals keep their email addresses for 10 years or longer, demonstrating the longevity of the platform and the attachment people have towards it.
There is even a site Email is not Dead (maintained by Jordie van Rijn) which offers compelling stats about email:
There are 4.037 billion email users worldwide who send and receive 306.4 billion emails per day. – Radicatti Group (2020)
The number of email users is still growing. 73% of EU individuals aged 16 to 78 use internet to send / receive emails in 2018. Compare this to only 48% in 2007. – Eurostat “Individuals using the internet for sending/receiving e-mails” (2021)
96% of consumers check their email every day. – DMA Consumer Tracker (2021)
81% of US online shoppers are more likely to make additional purchases, either online or in a store, as a result of emails based on previous shopping behaviors and preferences. – Harris Interactive
Over 70% of Consumers believe email is the best channel for company contact, preferring it almost twice as much as any other channel: 46% compared to 26% for post, and 24% for text or face-to-face. DMA Consumer Tracker (2021)
Email is almost 40x better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter – McKinsey & Company
More users ages 12–17 are using email than are using either Snapchat or Facebook. Even as monthly Snapchat usage among 12–17-year-olds jumped from 39% in 2014 to 67% in 2017, email adoption grew from 69% to 82% over the same period. – Forrester Analytics “Email Marketing Forecast, 2018 To 2023” (2019)
Email Power – 3
The Atlantic wrote about the power of email newsletters and more broadly about email in 2021:
How did the unpretentious and simple newsletter outlive empires and technological transformation, not only displaying the survivability of the tardigrade but also somehow becoming the cool new thing without much reinvention at all?
The typically digestible length, coupled with the simple, minimalist format—an easily shareable, single page of content written on papyrus, pecked out on a typewriter, or thumbed on an iPhone—helps explain the longevity. But the solid fuel-thruster that rocketed the newsletter format to the edge of the atmosphere during the decades since your 14.4K modem first connected to the web, and that has pushed it into the stratosphere in 2021, is the newsletter’s inseparability from its ancient-by-internet-standards delivery mechanism: email.
Rumors of email’s demise have circulated for half a century, ever since the first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson in 1971. Five minutes later, someone promised that their new communication platform would kill off email forever. How’d that go? Check your inbox. Email isn’t going anywhere, and it doesn’t need anyone to “save” it. Trying to do so would be like giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to an elite athlete in perfect health. It might be fun, but it’s not necessary.
Fast Company (which in 2007 had written about the death of email) had this in 2020:
From the Inc article by Dvir Ben-Aroya, discussing the post-pandemic rise of email: “In 2020, we’ve all been thrown into a tailspin, thanks to a global pandemic. We’ve become ever more reliant on technology to keep our organizations and our work moving forward. As much as people have tried to get away from email, they’ve realized it’s still the most efficient way to communicate. People have realized that they still need and use email daily even with new tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack, especially as entire companies have transitioned to remote work … It’s clear that we need to redesign email from the ground up and simplify the way people communicate with each other now—not in 1969. We need to rethink our communications from a 21st century perspective. We need solutions that are as powerful as they are simple—but the bottom line is, we need email.”
Email is not Dead shows a graphic of two stories ten years apart from Wall Street Journal:
Need one say more?!
We at Netcore have been helping brands with email for almost 15 years. Netcore helps brands send 20 billion emails each month to their customers. We love email – it is one of our key profit drivers. Of course, through the years, we have expanded beyond email to building an AI-powered martech platform for journey orchestration, campaign management, and omnichannel personalisation.
What is clear is that email, while still alive and kicking, needs to evolve to meet growing competition from other communication channels. I have been writing about Email 2.0 as part of my new trends in marketing for the past couple of years. It is time to bring all the ideas together and envision what email’s new future looks like.
My Email Essays – 1
Here is a summary of some of my past writings where I discuss email, Email 2.0 and AMP.
The rise of email also saw the rise of spam. Inboxes started becoming crowded as the years went by. The email ‘subscription’ relationship started getting abused. Email lists were available for sale and unsolicited emails matched legitimate emails in the inbox. This cat-and-mouse game has continued through the years. Gmail and other inbox providers work hard to ensure clean inboxes even as spammers work to get their emails into the inbox. Email’s huge RoI is what has ensured it has remained the most attractive communications channel for brands in the face of alternatives like WhatsApp, push notifications, Twitter, other social media, and even SMS. In fact, in the past few years, email has seen a renaissance in its popularity and volumes have continued to rise rapidly.
… Even as the cat-and-mouse game continues between spammers and the mailbox providers to ensure clean inboxes, the use of email for both transactional and promotional emails has continued to skyrocket through the years. Along with the mobile number, email has become the ubiquitous digital identity that provides entry for social media and ecommerce. For push-based brand communications, email has no competition – A2P SMSes are too expensive, WhatsApp is too restrictive and even more costly for commercial use, and push notifications are more blocked than delivered. Brands need scale and certainty; only email can deliver both cost-effectively.
Email is also one of the oldest communications channels. The first email (person-to-person) was sent more than 50 years ago. For many years, the discussion has been around what after email? And yet email continues to grow in strength – even in the new age of messaging apps, email has managed to hold its own. This is because email, along with the mobile number, has become identity; the email address and mobile number are the only two open and direct channels to reach people. The likes of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snap and others are all controlled by a tech entity which can determine (and change) the rules of engagement. Not so with email or SMS. Push notifications need an app to be installed, while the email inbox is default on every mobile phone.
For brands to sell, their messages need to be seen. Email2 is the way to make that happen. By switching focus from transactions and money to attention and time, Email2 can energise engagement between brands and their existing customers, and become one of the key pillars for the coming martech era and the subscription economy.
Solving the attention recession problem, eliminating data poverty, reducing CAC is the pathway to driving profitable growth and must become the top priority of every marketer. The starting point has to be reinvigorating push messaging because the only alternative to bring customers back to the website or app for transaction push messaging is massive spending on branding. Email remains the best of the push messaging channels and can in fact improve the efficacy of the other channels. Therefore, the focus needs to be to make email cool again – Email 2.0 … with its five innovations: Hooked Score, Atomic Rewards, Ems, AMP, and Progency. Together, they can engineer a habit revolution, convert the end customer’s “delete” mindset into “delight”, and make email cool again.
… Email 2.0 is the Tesla-like innovation, changing the customer mindset from delete to delight, driving engagement and habit creation, and powering exponential forever profitable growth. It is the only antidote to brand extinction because if customers are not listening, there is no point for a brand to keep speaking. Email 2.0 creates habits by making the sent seen and the seen actioned. It drives mental availability for the brand by becoming a utility in the lives of customers. The power and value of Email 2.0 can transform CMOs into Chief Profitability Officers of their businesses, and perhaps into future CEOs. Email 2.0, like Tesla, can truly make tomorrow’s world a better place for all of us as custodians of brands and customers of products.
The breakthrough technology that can transform and modernise email is AMP.
My Email Essays – 2
AMP is a technology from Google that brings interactivity to emails.
Email has been around for 50 years. I have been using email for 30+ years. And yet, the first time I actually did something within an email was only a few weeks ago. I received an email with a quiz with multiple options. Ordinarily, one would have to click through to a web page, respond and see the right answer. In this particular instance, I answered in the email and saw the response (right/wrong) right within the email. All in my Gmail inbox. Without clicking and going out of it.
This ‘magic’ is called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). It was introduced by Google a few years ago to bring interactivity to emails. Until recently, all I had seen were the demo videos on sites. While Gmail supports it (along with Yahoo Mail), AMP is not yet supported by most other email service providers and mail clients. As a result, its adoption has been very slow. I had first seen AMP as a hot new email technology at a conference in April 2019. Little has changed in the two years since.
AMP gives email marketers the opportunity to transform the user experience. Emails can do so much more – forms, image galleries, product cards, games, dynamic data, and of course, quizzes. One has to really experience it to feel the possibilities and imagine a new future for emails.
I had written about the power and potential of AMP in my recent Email 2.0 series (part 7): “[AMP] enables the creation of microsites in emails. Think of AMP as enabling email apps. AMP is a big leap forward. It eliminates a click to the website or app for a wide range of use cases: filling a form, gathering feedback, scheduling appointments, showing live content, creating interactive games and collecting zero-party data. AMP makes email a two-way channel … AMPlets which can be easily inserted into emails are another innovative solution. In fact, brands should consider creating an AMP-based interactive footer with multiple AMPlets … Whether it is 50% or 90% of their base, brands should make use of it because the benefits in terms of attention and engagement are big.”
You can experience the power of AMP from Netcore’s demo site. Just make sure to open the emails in your Gmail mobile app or on the desktop. (AMP is not supported by Apple so it does not work in iOS mail clients.) Netcore’s AMP microsite offers in-depth case studies and information.
I wrote the following in a section entitled “Living Email” as part of my essay “Building the Hotline Right”:
For too long, emails have been static and lifeless. Brands create the email, send it and it stays that way forever in the inbox. At best, there is some dynamic image that can be pulled in when the email is opened. As such, the email becomes a single-use message – never to be opened again. What if this could change? Let’s consider the possibilities of an idea I call “All in Email” – search, browse, chat, cart, rate, review – many of the verbs we associate with actions on websites or apps can now be done in emails. Instead of a customer going to the brand property (website or app), what if the property came to the customer?! That is the promise of AMP – combined with the power of our imagination.
A Living Email could have a search box embedded in it. I could then search in the email itself and see the results right there. Popular categories could be listed for me to browse inside the email itself. In both cases, even the addition to the cart could be done within the AMP email. Since an AMP email does not retain its “AMP nature” when forwarded, the checkout process too can be done right inside the email. No click throughs, no landing pages! A Living Email could lead to the initiation of a chat session from inside the email. I see a product I like in the email, and I could initiate a conversation with a chatbot or a human for resolving my queries. The context-specificity of the chat could lead to faster closures. Features like search, browse and chat could be standard components in every AMP email – so all I have to do is to go to my inbox and open any email from a brand and get started.
A Living Email can show news and stock quotes in real-time – every time I open the email, I would get the latest info. In fact, take this idea to its logical extreme, and all a media brand would need to do is to just have a single email ever in the inbox. Think WhatsApp – we have a single conversation thread with an individual or a brand. A Living Email would be the only email a media entity would need to send. When a breaking news or a daily update needs to be communicated, the email would just rise to the top of the inbox. (More on this when we discuss the Micronbox idea.)
A Living Email could have changing questions for collecting zero-party data. Depending on what the brand knows about me, it could throw up a different question each time I opened the same email. A Living Email therefore is just a placeholder in the inbox – with each side (brand or customer) having the ability to initiate a conversation.
AMP is what makes the Living Email possible.
In the rest of this series, I will dig deeper into the possibilities of AMP. Email 1.0 has had an amazing run; Email 2.0 with the power of AMP promises to make it even better. This is great news for marketers struggling with rising customer acquisition cost (CAC). AMP can help marketers build hotlines to propel a path to profitability (P2P).
Conversions, Subject, Body
AMP & Conversions: AMP in Email accelerates the conversion funnel. In fact, it does better: it brings the conversion funnel into email. Currently, for brands to convert customers, they need to bring them to their website or app. That is where all the interactions happen. The interactivity of AMP ensures that brands can work towards closure right inside the email by coding mini-apps. These actions do not need a clickthrough to a landing page. An item can be added to cart with a single click. An interactive calculator can show results right inside the email. In fact, with search and payments integration, a transaction could even be completed without the need to go to the brand’s properties. From early campaigns that Netcore has done, the uplift from the elimination of the clickthrough to the landing page can result in 3-10 times more actions. Less friction means more engagement. AMP does exactly that.
AMP & Subject: While Gmail has a helpful ‘lightning bolt’ symbol to denote an AMP email, it can easily be missed. See the yellow highlighted portion below.
What brands should do is to have an indication in the Subject of the email with a helpful note in the Body. This is necessary to educate recipients: an AMP email means less wasted time and richer interactivity. By adding an emoticon signal in the Subject (perhaps at the start), brands could persuade more recipients to open the email. Most marketing emails today are the same – a clickable image. An AMP email with its interactivity could be a welcome change!
AMP & Body: The Body of the email is where the primary marketing message is. This is where creative design meets software to create the magic of interactivity. A few examples below: spin the wheel, SIP calculator, and Wordex (Wordle-like game)
The Body of the email is where marketers need to focus on: how can the landing page actions be done within the email itself. There are many AMP elements which can help them: carousels, accordions, in-mail forms, and many more. Appointments could be scheduled inside the email, chatbots can help provide additional information, quizzes can educate. The important thing is that the design must clearly indicate that the recipient need not clickthrough to a landing page but can complete actions in-place.
While some of the above examples are standalone AMP modules, the real power comes from being able to connect in real-time via APIs to the brand’s servers and have two-way information flows in real-time.
Atomic Rewards, Footer
AMP & Atomic Rewards: Imagine incentivising and gamifying the in-mail interaction via micro rewards. This is the idea of Atomic Rewards – Mu as pan-brand points/tokens which users can earn and redeem. Here is what I wrote in my Email 2.0 essay (Part 9): “Atomic Rewards bring gamification to emails. They are micro-incentives to help marketers get attention, drive engagement, nudge behaviour and create habits. Think of Atomic Rewards as a loyalty program – linked with attention (time) rather than transactions (money). Atomic Rewards offer the perfect solution to Attention Recession; these rewards can be embedded in AMP-enabled emails or in Ems to reward streaks. Atomic Rewards will work best when they are offered across brands because no single brand can offer enough to make it exciting. Rewards filling the email inbox is when we will get a mindset change from “delete” to “delight”. Atomic Rewards make perfect economic sense for brands – for a small cost, they can ensure the hotline to the customers stays active because if the customer becomes inactive or churns, the cost for the same attention will be many times higher via the adtech platforms.”
AMP & Footer: I have written previously about how AMP can help completely re-imagine the footer by thinking of it in two parts with the help of “AMPlets” (small AMP widgets which can be strung together):
Brand footer: This can be used by the brand to engage with customers. Examples of AMPlets: rating (feedback on the brand or email content), chat, cart, search, preference collection, and so on. By combining with pan-brand Atomic Rewards, customers can earn Mu tokens for their actions. A “µ.[MuCount]” in the subject of the email can signal that this is an email with rewards (a micron).
MuCo footer: This can give opportunities to burn Mu…AMPlets with content subscriptions for news, stock quotes, weather, health tips, quotes, casual games, puzzles and even comics and cartoons can make the MuCo footer very attractive and a “must-see”.
More from another essay “Reimagining the Email Footer”:
The first of the Email Footer sections is the Brand Footer. In contrast to the Email Body which is crafted as a campaign and can change with every message, the Brand Footer is a constant. It can thus be a part of every email. The AMPlets in it enable recipients to share data, earn Mu, and engage better with the brand.
The [second part is the] MuCo Footer follows the Brand Footer and provides opportunities to redeem the Mu earned through actions in the Email Body or Brand Footer. These AMPlets may not have any linkage to the brand, and yet offer enough exciting options to ensure the email is opened and scrolled through.
Here is an example of an AMP footer with four AMPlets: two for earning Mu (and collecting feedback and data for the brand), and two for redeeming Mu (horizontal Roulette and a quiz).
Search, Payments, Ads
AMP & Search: The search bar is the most used facet of the Internet. We typically use it from our browser or on our phones. We also use the search option on websites and in apps. But, the search bar has never been integrated with emails. AMP can change that. Every brand email can have a search bar right at the top of the email. Just type something and the results show up below in the email itself. Since the identity of the person searching is known, the results could even be personalised. For ecommerce companies, an ‘Add to Cart’ option can accompany each of the items shown. The power of search combined with the scale of emails can be truly transformational for brands.
For example, a travel site’s email could have this option for flight backing in every email:
Do a search and the results would show up right below:
AMP & Payments: The next frontier beyond integrating search within emails is to embed the ability to make payments. In countries where an OTP is needed, this would be trivial – and secure. The credit card info could be shown (last few digits), a CVV could be taken as input, and the validation could be done at the backend to confirm the transaction. In India, if banks and the regulator (RBI) permit, the OTP could be entered in a secure form within the email to facilitate the transaction. A UPI transaction would be straightforward though it would mean leaving the email app to go to the UPI app. The security that AMP offers (AMP gets disabled when forwarded) could be a huge driver for accelerating transactions.
AMP & Ads: I wrote previously about Reimagining Email Ads: “To rethink email advertising, we need to bring … three ideas together: consider email ads as AMPlets with Mu in the email footer. For brands and consumers, Email 2.0 ads can be the next leap beyond programmatic. With billions of daily emails already being sent, the traffic and attention is there. What is needed is innovative thinking to reimagine the power of email ads. There are five possible use cases: Search, Sale, Say Yes, Survey and Second Life.” I then added: “A bank could show an EMI or SIP calculator. OTT platforms could enable a single click addition to the watchlist for future viewing. A real estate company could show a carousel of possible options. A book seller could offer more details to accelerate the sale. A media company’s ad could show the latest headlines. The point to note is that Email 2.0 Ads become much more engaging and exciting – going beyond the standard banner or text option. It is up to the creativity of advertisers to push the envelope on possibilities combining identity and interactivity to reimagine email advertising … In fact, ESPs could let brands send emails for free in return for a cut of the ad revenue generated!”
Hooked Score, Reactivation, Apple, Micronbox
AMP & Hooked Score: AMP emails need measurement metrics beyond just tracking opens and clicks. Brands can track a higher order of engagement – every interaction done, time spent in email, and so on. This is what I had written in my series on Email 2.0 (Part 6): “Hooked Score shifts the focus from measuring just aggregate opens and clicks to (a) measuring stickiness and streaks, and (b) getting these metrics for individuals. It can thus create cohorts based on engagement intensity. A simple way to measure Hooked Score is to use a multi-point exponential moving average. This places greater importance on recent actions.” There is more in Part 6 of an earlier essay. Of course, by bringing in search and payments into emails, the ultimate metric to track would be conversions.
AMP & Reactivation: I wrote about the reactivation problem in a previous series. “Reactivation hasn’t been looked at seriously since it falls between the two stools of acquisition and engagement. The adtech team wants to acquire new customers – which is also what the top management would like to see and show. The martech team wants to drive engagement and retention, and ignores customers who were once new but are now inactive. No one is responsible for reactivation. This is the whitespace for marketers – it can give faster success at lower spends.” AMP can be a booster for targeting those consumers who are not responding to the brand’s regular emails. Using the lure of Atomic Rewards (duly identified with <µ.MuCount> in the Subject) and some gamification, long dormant consumers could be persuaded to re-engage. A Progency (product-led agency) could do this on a pay-for-performance basis. Reactivation can cut the cost of new customer acquisition by half by eliminating the need for reacquisition.
AMP & Apple: Apple’s mail clients do not support AMP. iOS now accounts for more than half of the installed base in mobile devices in the US. This means those viewing AMP emails will not see the AMP features, and instead just see the ordinary non-AMP email. Of course, users on iOS can use the Gmail or Yahoo app and view the glory of AMP. If this shift becomes a stampede, perhaps Apple will change its mind and support AMP in its native email client!
AMP & Micronbox: I have written about the Micronbox earlier. Think of the micronbox as an inbox dedicated to emails with AMP (and Atomic Rewards) – thus decluttering the present inbox and providing a single place for all brand communications. “The micronbox’s interactive capabilities will convert the email inbox into a conversational interface. While WhatsApp and SMS have this today, the challenge is that the brand channels are mixed up with the personal communications channels. The customer mindset in WhatsApp is to communicate with friends and family, not with brands. Brands are important enough that they deserve a dedicated inbox – brands now have the requisite data to do 1:1 engagement with each of us. AI-powered chatbots can power infinite such parallel brand conversations with customers.”
I have also written about the possibility of combining the micronbox with a Mu wallet into the MuApp. “[T]he MuApp is an inbox for brand messages linked to a customer’s email address and mobile number, a wallet to store Mu tokens and XRTs, and an interface to the Mu marketplace and exchange. The MuApp enables the easy flow of Mu between brands and customers, thus enabling the monetisation of attention and data. It integrates Email 2.0 and Loyalty 2.0. It is the hotline that creates a win-win by enabling brands to cut their Adwaste by building better relationships with their existing customers, who can in turn become promoters to assist with better new customer acquisition, providing a Big Tech bypass and an entry point to the µniverse.”
Hotlines, Consumers, CMOs
AMP & Hotlines: AMP is the hotline enabler – enabling two-way engagement between brand and consumers. Not having the hotline has forced brands into overspending on adtech with the result that almost half their digital marketing budget is being wasted. The hotline is the crux of the brand-customer relationship: “More than a shiny, new feature of the website or app, what brands need to realise is that it is the hotline that is the crux for their customer relationships. If they can shift the mindset from “delete” to “delight” in their messaging, it would solve every other problem for them … The combination of AMP and Atomic Rewards offers a very powerful combo to build the hotline. AMP offers an “All-in-Email” approach – Shop in Email, Search in Email, Play in Email, Browse in Email, Earn in Email, Chat in Email, and so on. There is no need to leave the email at all – no need for click-throughs and landing pages! Atomic Rewards offers the foundation for Loyalty 2.0 – incentives for marketers to nudge customer actions. Mu tokens can be used to get attention and zero-party data; they can also be used to drive referrals and reviews because every customer also has a network and voice. Think of Mu tokens as the non-monetary equivalent of loyalty points which are linked to money and transactions … The message to marketers: make the Hotline via Email 2.0 as the crux for customer relationships. It will not only improve customer experience but also drive profitable growth. In an uncertain tomorrow, the Email 2.0 Hotline offers comfort and certainty for brands and their (Best) customers.”
AMP & Consumers: The only innovation email has seen in the past 15 years has been the introduction of HTML. And yet, it has survived and thrived. That’s the power of the email address and channel. AMP gives email a makeover. It provides consumers a “third place” beyond the brand’s website and app to engage and transact. Consumers can now get away from the sameness of the clickable image to something more exciting – not just in the email body but also the footer.
AMP combined with Atomic Rewards creates a new channel. (That’s why I think a new name is needed for such emails; “microns” is what I have termed such messages.) Gamification and asset appreciation via Atomic Rewards can be the icing on the AMP cake. Hopefully, AMP can drive industry open rates up from 10% — there is massive room for improvement with 90% emails being ignored. And every increase will be less “delete” and more “delight.”
AMP & CMOs: For marketers, AMP and Atomic Rewards offer the best tool to reduce the AdWaste. As an industry, $200 billion is being wasted annually in reacquisition and wrong acquisition. The hotline, powered by AMP and incentivised with Mu, can be the solution for the brand’s requirements of retention, repetition, reactivation, and referrals. What happens qin an AMP email is now only limited by the creativity and imagination of the marketing team. Only by reducing the cost of acquiring new customers will CMOs propel their brands towards profitability. CMOs therefore need an AMP strategy and team – just like they have for their website and app.
AMP is new. So was HTML once upon a time. HTML began by transforming the way we consumed information, and then everything else in our life. AMP in emails can have a similar impact. It is for the pioneers – email service providers, marketers, and other innovators – to lead the way and create the AMP ecosystem.
PS: See Netcore’s AMP microsite for more.