Now that 2021 is here, a lot of email marketing professionals have been taking stock of the state of the industry and positing where things are likely to go. Of course, it goes without saying that 2020 was something of an unprecedented year in email: with a pandemic that raged around the globe, and the attendant back-and-forth restrictions that always seemed to land last minute, there were shifts and changes in priorities and tactics that just wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Even with the promise of a vaccine, Site Impact’s experts know that some of the changes that 2020 brought with it are only going to continue into 2021 and even beyond--and most of the rest of the industry leaders agree. Looking ahead, it’s a good idea to figure out what trends are likely to be important as the year marches forward.
Last year saw a major rise in the amount of emails sent and received--and it also saw an increase in engagement metrics across audiences, as people more than ever paid close attention to their emails. According to Validity’s research on the subject, email sends were up 25% year-over-year at the end of 2020, and with that increase in sending comes a major issue: the attention span of recipients isn’t infinite, and the engagement will inevitably begin to wane. To a degree, we’ve seen some of this already, in the dip between summer and winter campaigns, lasting from about August to just before Halloween. But this year, the inbox is going to be more competitive than ever--and brands and marketers alike are going to need to step up their game in order to stand out and keep the attention of their audiences.
Open rate has long been a KPI for email marketing--and of course, it makes sense that this is the case. But inconsistencies in the way that it is tracked have resulted in many in the industry looking for alternatives. Those alternatives have risen to prominence increasingly in recent years, and this year many industry experts are expecting those alternative KPIs to rise even more to prominence. Different factors--including image captures on mobile devices and legal considerations with tracking pixels considered a “cookie” under GDPR rules--mean that other indicators may in fact be better for marketers and brands alike. Time spent reading the email, conversion rates, and other metrics are likely to assume a greater role in evaluating email marketing effectiveness.
2020 was a year of big shifts in email marketing, and this year is projected to bring about a similar number of changes. From KPIs gaining new prominence to a more competitive inbox, 2021 is going to be a challenge to brands and marketers looking to reach out to consumers through email. The best-positioned businesses will be those who are prepared for the changes, and adaptable to sudden shifts in priorities, as the year marches onward and more possibilities make themselves known. Contact Site Impact to learn how we can help you stay ahead of the curve at every turn.