Commentary

Email Marketers Need A Quickie Message For Wearable Campaigns

According to a wearable analysis by MailerMailer, with the release of the Apple Watch, wearable technology has officially arrived. Wearables, as they are often called, place limitations on both email design and metrics. More importantly though, they shift the way people interact with mobile email. Here's what email marketers should know to prepare for wearable technology, says the analysis.

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As background, wearable technology has experienced an uptick in both popularity and sophistication. In 2013, both the Google Glass prototype and Pebble Smartwatch were released. The LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360, Samsung Gear S, and Sony Smartwatch 3 were all released during 2014, and Apple announced “the Watch,” its first smartwatch in April 2015.

The Watch has redefined and formalized its respective market. It offers the greatest variety of features, and seamlessly integrates with the iPhone. According to forecasts, over 22 million Apple Watches will ship this calendar year.

Smartwatches, and wearables in general, fundamentally change the way people interact with email. Most wearable email clients only provide a summary or simplified version of an email message. If the user needs to fully engage with the email or reply to it, they must transfer to another device (i.e., smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc). Some wearables do offer a limited set of email actions.

Many people remain skeptical as to the value of wearables in daily life, yet, wearables do offer a number of benefits, says the report:

  • They reduce how often one needs to pull out their smartphone and engage with it
  • With a quick glance at one's wrist, the user can see calendar reminders, text messages, phone calls, emails, social media notifications, and more
  • Most wearables offer fitness tracking, and some support payment options.

Like many other smartwatches, the Apple Watch usually displays the plain text version of an email. If the Watch detects a remote image within the email, it considers the HTML version too complex to display, and will display a warning/failure message, followed by the plain text version.

For now, email marketers can optimize their campaigns for wearables by crafting more thoughtful plain text messages. In addition, important notices and CTAs should occur earlier within the email content. And the subject line, preheader text, and "from name" will perform best if they provide vital information at a quick glance, says the report.

Open tracking relies on recipients opening the HTML version of an email. This is because email service providers typically include a small transparent image which is downloaded when the HTML version is viewed, and images are enabled.

Opens cannot be tracked, since smartwatches typically display the plain text version of an email. Clicks also cannot be tracked since smartwatches disable links within emails, since no web browser exists to open them, notes the report. Without open and click tracking, engagement on smartwatches will be a black box, and email marketers may experience an apparent decline in email performance.

Blaise Lucey, from Movable Ink, concludes the report by saying that “… the Apple Watch is a sign of things to come… “ Even if Apple doesn't sell 22 million this year, it's clear that wearables are trending. Email marketers should be thinking about how wearables will impact their campaigns, with new limitations and new opportunities. Wearables have the potential to bring the inbox and email marketing efforts, that much closer to the audience.

The original analysis for MailerMailer, posted by Chelsea Reo, may be found here. 

1 comment about "Email Marketers Need A Quickie Message For Wearable Campaigns".
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  1. Chad White from Litmus, July 16, 2015 at 3:25 p.m.

    Marketers can best optmize the Apple Watch email experience by using watch-HTML, which is a new version of HTML recognized by Apple's watches. For all the details >> https://litmus.com/blog/how-to-send-hidden-version-email-apple-watch

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