Interactive email campaigns have higher engagement rates when compared to traditional email messages, according to a recent study by Experian Marketing Services.
When compared to non-interactive messages, kinetic emails increased unique clicks by 18.3% and click-to-open rates by more than 10% in Experian’s Q4 2016 Email Benchmark Report.
“Interactive email is all about keeping your subscribers playfully engaged,” says Logan Baird, design services lead at Emma, a Web-based email marketing service. “Playful engagement is key to focusing the precious resource of your recipient’s attention squarely on your brand and even creates pleasant anticipation of your marketing emails.”
For example, Baird says email marketers could create an interactive game in email messages that encourages social media shares. Marketers could also create puzzles that unlock discount codes, which Baird says makes a mental connection between the brand and a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction in the subscriber.
Email marketers eager to pursue interactive campaigns, however, need to first know whether or not their subscribers’ inboxes accept kinetic content.
It’s critical that email marketers consider what email clients accept dynamic campaigns before hitting the "send" button. Interactive email is supported by iOS Mail, Apple Mail, Yahoo Mail and AOL, but other big-name companies have yet to integrate full support.
“That’s why having data indicating which email clients your subscribers are using is key,” says Baird. “I wouldn’t recommend investing in this approach if you don’t have solid data to back it up.”
Baird believes there are two primary challenges in creating interactive email campaigns.
“First, not all email clients support the code used for interactive email, so you have to know your audience and what clients they use,” he says. “The other challenge is that the design and development time for interactive email take longer. You have to figure out the ways in which you want it to be interactive, how to translate that into code, and how to test to make sure there’s no unexpected behavior.”
Although Gmail and Outlook have yet to full integrate support for interactive content, both Google and Microsoft have begun the necessary steps to incorporate full support in future product iterations. Gmail began supporting responsive email design in September, and Microsoft has partnered with email testing and design company Litmus to receive feedback from the email marketing community.
Baird recommends that marketers have a fallback plan in place if email clients don’t recognize the interactive code, with a back-up message ready for those affected subscribers.
Baird envisions interactive emails growing in popularity over the coming years, especially as more email clients support the necessary code.
“While it’s not a silver bullet and should only be employed where it makes sense, being able to grab your subscriber’s attention and associate your brand with playful, positive emotions is simply too valuable to be overlooked,” he says.