Prime 2022: The Big Email Stories Of The Year

Compared to 2021, the year 2022 seemed almost peaceful in email marketing.  

There was nothing as dramatic as last year’s launch of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection. Instead, pressure continued on the privacy front in a more insidious way. 

Here are some of the big stories of 2022, and what they mean. 

Email Marketing Is Slipping?

A shocking report from ANA showed that email, long known as producing the best ROI, has fallen to third, behind direct mail and SMS. Forgive us if we’re skeptical: direct mail, with its prohibitive postal/printing costs? But there it is, and it is only one of several studies that say email is being challenged by SMS and social media. Don’t worry, email teams, your jobs should be safe. The channel remains a workhorse, driving ecommerce, financial services and even auto sales. It is especially critical on the back end—for triggered and transactional messaging.    



Marketers Face A Plethora Of State Privacy Bills 

When marketers wake up this Sunday morning, the California Privacy Rights Act, a bill that removes the B2B exception and requires that so-called data brokers communicate directly with consumers to offer an opt-out, among other things, will have taken effect. Many firms are unprepared, lacking automated systems for handling Data Subject Access requests (DSARs) from consumers.  

And the CPRA is only one of several state laws that are coming. “Unfortunately, we’re not yet headed to a singular national privacy law,” said Chad Engelgau,  CEO of Acxiom, earlier this year. “It’s potentially a trillion-dollar issue due to the cost of compliance for businesses to constantly update their practices going from state to state.”

States are not the only enforcers: A growing number of companies are also taking on this good work. For instance, Edison Mail gives consumers a one-tap way to eliminate unwanted emails. And DuckDuckGo offers a service that detects and removes hidden trackers in emails. 

Email marketers are generally safe from regulatory menace if they have consent and allow the user to opt out. This advantage will grow as brands restrict themselves to first-party and zero-party: email addresses are voluntarily given. 

But there are many other privacy risks—for example, data breaches. Brands can end up owing millions to governments and class-action litigants if they let breaches occur.  

Vendors Keep Buying Each Other

Maybe the merger action wasn't on the level of Intuit buying Mailchimp last year. But there were several mergers in 2022, like Mastercard buying Dynamic Yield, Clevertap purchasing Leanplum, and Validity taking over MailCharts. The result of this trend is that clients have fewer vendor choices, but are gaining dashboards that cover everything. 

At the same time, there were several stories about VC funding rounds. For example, MessageGears raised $62 million and Movable Ink snared $55 million. The downside of taking venture capital is that the recipients do not really own themselves. And when they manage to get acquired, they have to share the proceeds with their VC benefactors. 

Apple Embraces BIMI 

We’re getting tired of predicting growth for BIMI (brand indicators for message identification) every year. But there was one big breakthrough in 2022: Apple started rolling out BIMI in its iOS 16 and macOS Ventura releases. Apple thus joins Yahoo, AOL Fastmail and a host of email support companies -- Gmail embedded BIMI in all of its inboxes last year.  

To explain: BIMI allows brands to place their logos in the subject lines of DMARC-authenticated emails. This will enable them to stand out—no small thing given the fact that consumers are complaining about the vast number of marketing emails cluttering their inboxes. One businessperson told the Washington Post he was getting 800 emails a day, mostly “marketing spam.” The brand logos will reassure consumers and make the emails stand out in the mix. As for DMARC, there are hints that it will become mandatory, according to Forbes 

Surprise: Firm Offers AMP For Email

To end on a happy note, marketing platform Insider announced it is supporting AMP (accelerated mobile pages) for email, a platform that allows consumers to make purchases, experience products, and interact in other ways within emails. 

The email field has been slow in taking on AMP—one expert called it “dead on arrival.” But many marketers are moving toward interactivity in emails. To make the case for AMP, brands can use  it to offer web-like experiences within an email, including click-to-submit NPS surveys, newsletters with collapsible content, swipe-able gallery experiences, travel booking, and zero-party data collection.

In another seeming technical advance, Twilio is offering an authentication method that lets brands quickly move users through registration without passwords, thanks to deterministic mobile carrier signals. What can be next? The technology is there for brands ready to use it in a compliant way.  

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