Design Sketch: How Email Marketing Improved Its Look In 2021

Most major news about email concerned Apple MPP and vendor consolidation in 2021. But there were developments in other areas — for example, design, according to 2021: The Year In Retrospect, a quarterly report from Essence of Email.

Consider these advances: 

AMP for Email — This may surprise observers who recall that web developer Jeremy Keith resigned from the AMP Advisory Committee, saying that “AMP remains a Google product, with only a subset of pieces that could even be considered open source.”

It must also come as news to experts who say EMP for Email just isn’t being adopted. So what’s the truth?

“Many people think that AMP is another side-project made by Google and that it’s not very useful and it will be cut off by Google, as many projects have been so far,” writes Vladimir Bosheski, deliverability expert at Essence for Email. 

Not so. “The truth is that Google has set this one free and it’s now an open-source project,” Bosheski says. “Even though it’s not supported by Apple, it’s supported by Google, Yahoo, and Mail.Ru and that’s still a big part of the market.”



3D Imagery  —  Online shopping has become an “almost-real” experience thanks to 3D techniques like photorealism, 3D and isometric illustration, and clever shading.

What did this do for email? It helped email designers “make different email elements pop out, highlight important sections, and make the overall experience enjoyable and interactive,” the study states. 

Typography and 3D Typography — Typography is a great tool for brands that “don’t rely on photography that much. It looks fun, it helps build a hierarchy, it emphasizes copy over design, and it’s great for storytelling in emails.” 3D typography, meanwhile, is “realistic and provides texture and pattern,” it continues.  

Design aside, there also were improvements in SMS, a tool that Essence of Email encourages based on the fact that “74% of consumers prefer texting with businesses if they know that a real person is on the other end. 

For instance, Klaviyo released two-way conversation and “the ability to subscribe at checkout in order to make communication more personal and the process of gathering consent easier and cheaper.”  

And Remarkety launched Multimedia Messaging Services to “help them incorporate pictures, GIFs, videos, or audio into their mobile efforts to grab even more attention and capitalize on mobile marketing.”

But back to the big news: Some users reacted to Apple MPP by “stepping up their own first-party data and prioritizing opt-in messaging,” the study notes. “This meant users could choose if they’d like to receive emails from advertisers and therefore, advertisers can personalize messages so users are more likely to interact. From there, the focus should be on clicks and conversions.” 


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