Email testing company Litmus announced a partnership with Microsoft on Tuesday to collaborate on the development of Microsoft’s email services, including Outlook, Office 365, MSN and Hotmail.
Microsoft will soon gain access to Litmus’ online community of email marketers and designers, who will be able to provide feedback on Microsoft’s email clients. The partnership will help identify and fix Microsoft bugs, as well as improving email rendering and mobile optimization.
Litmus did not reveal the exact number of its email community members, but CEO Paul Farnell says it numbers in the hundreds of thousands.
“Outlook is one of the most notoriously difficult emails to design for,” says Farnell. “We’ll collect information to make it better, across mobile, desktop and Web mail.”
Litmus will collect any rendering issues from Microsoft’s application and its email community, and then prioritize the issues and report directly back to Microsoft’s engineers. In a feedback loop, Litmus will then share Microsoft design and product updates with the Litmus email community.
“Feedback from end-users is different than getting specific input on rendering and specific aspects on email from professionals in the trenches, living and breathing email design,” says Farnell.
Email rendering and mobile optimization are pivotal components of an email marketing campaign, ensuring that the messages are readable and display correctly in the inbox no matter what device is
Farnell says that email is a powerful channel because subscribers are reaching out to brands and acknowledging they would like to receive more information about the company. But that partnership is broken if marketing messages cannot be displayed properly.
Fifty-four percent of emails opened in June 2016 were on a mobile phone, according to a study of over 1 billion email opens by Litmus. In contrast, only 27% of email opens were on a webmail browser and 19% of opens were on a desktop computer.
Litmus announced the partnership at its annual industry event, The Email Design Conference. Litmus is currently building the product into its platform, but Farnell expects the roll out date to be “very soon.”
The Boston-based company was founded in 2005 and received a $49 million Series A in investment in October, 2015.