Reporters are conditioned to expect the unexpected. Some stories come out of left field. But other types of news are more predictable.
So, based on what went down in 2019, here are four significant email marketing trends that will bear watching in 2020:
Compliance — With the California Consumer Privacy Act coming on board hours from this writing, marketers have little choice but to act as if they were headquartered in Europe and under the control of Brussels. In general, that means limiting data transfers, securing data, providing access to consumers and allowing people to be forgotten. More tough state bills are in the hopper.
Some sources say that a federal bill could supersede state laws in ways that are favorable to business, but that’s wishful thinking. Privacy is a bipartisan issue and a national law would probably do little more than codify GDPR in the U.S. Not that Congress is rushing to take this up.
Consolidation — There are fewer vendors, and that list will grow even smaller in 2020. The two biggest acquisitions in 2019 were that of SendGrid by Twilio and Return Path by Validity. And they weren’t the only ones. Just a few weeks ago, Terrninus purchased Sigstr.
Granted, these firms were acquiring new capabilities, not buying out competitors. Who’s next? The attractive targets are in towns like Providence, Duluth, Kansas City, not New York or San Jose. The danger is that they may lose some of their hipness, and that the fighting spirit you see in startups will be lost as people are weighed down by new corporate rules and sales commission plans, etc.
Still, it’s better than venture guys moving in without a clue. Mind you, retailers are also consolidating or going out of business.
Now let’s move on to less worrisome developments:
Interactivity — Wise guys used to joke that email hasn’t changed in 20 years. Well, who’s laughing now? Google announced AMP (accelerated mobile pages) for Email in 2018, and brought it online this year. And it is starting to attract big players, like Adobe Campaign. Braze has added it, too.
In technical terms, AMP is an open-source framework designed to make mobile pages load faster, and it is now supported by Gmail, Outbook and other email clients.
Think of what this means in terms of videos and other forms of content, and how it might drive sales because of the convenience factor. And we can’t even imagine what striking new capabilities will be unveiled. You can expect to see more vendors signing on for AMP in 2020, even if most email marketers haven’t latched onto it yet.
BIMI — BIMI (Brand indicators for Message Identification) is a security standard that allows brands with DMARC protection to display their logos in email subject lines.
This addresses the larger issue of security and the use of email to deliver malware, but it can also be an effective brand-building tool.
Preliminary data from Yahoo indicates that showing the logo increases open rates by around 10%. In 2020, expect to see more big names going public with their support—Google will be running a pilot, and CNN will probably do the same.
And there will an extra layer of protection if the AuthIndicators Working Group, the group developing BIMI, requires a Verified Mark Certificate — proof that you own the logo you’re displaying.
Still, it may take awhile before consumers and many end-user brands grasp the idea.
Happy New Year.