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6 Popular Email Marketing Trends 2017: Expectations Vs Reality

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This article was last updated on September 1, 2020

The stakes for email marketing trends 2017 were set high by experts in the industry. Marketers have been predicting this year’s email marketing innovations since the last quarter of 2016. It was expected that this year would be big… real big for email marketing. With billions of emails sent and received daily (and the traffic’s growing!), the email marketing trends 2017 are all about presenting the recipients with more relevant information and improved experience. But is this the case?

Now that half the year has passed, let’s see how these highly promising predictions of email marketing trends 2017 are going.

1. Videos in email

  • Expectation:

Videos are one of the most engaging marketing tool nowadays. Since video usage is rapidly on the rise, marketers were betting that video-based email content would be one of the leading email marketing trends 2017. Cool, right? Everyone would prefer to stream a video right in their inbox.

  • Reality:

As much as we’d love to see this trend bloom, email marketers are still limited by most webmail services and email clients not supporting videos in email templates. The guys from Email on Acid have put together a list of email clients which support videos and those who still don’t.


There are a few solutions to this issue:

  • A GIF would be an alternative you simply want to bring motion into your template.
  • Segmentation and targeting only users of email clients supporting video format.
  • Otherwise, you will still need to take the recipient to another page in order to view your video content. Your goal would be to make this a one-click process. Design a “Play” button on your video screenshot and link it to the actual video page with an autoplay. Just like the following example.

GraphicMama-video-email-campaign email marketing trends 2017

2. Automation

  • Expectation:

Automation is not new to email marketing but professionals predicted that this trend would rise in 2017. Automated emails are all about sending the right content to the right users at the right time by using pre-defined triggers.

  • Reality:

It’s highly probable that automation would be one of the email marketing trends 2017 that will reach levels that will reach new heights. Now that MailChimp has made automation free to anyone, more and more companies will be sending emails automatically based on certain triggers – e.g. users signing up, abandoning a shopping cart, etc. This might be one of the email marketing trends 2017 predictions that will turn out right.


3. Personalization of a new generation

  • Expectation:

Sending email campaigns crafted exclusively for the recipient does not merely end with including the recipient’s name in the copy. Well, at least, this is what marketers wished for in 2017. The ultimate prediction for this year: the ability to offer customers exactly the product that they want to buy at a price they are ready to pay, at a time they are in the mood to do it.

  • Reality:

Well, not quite. There are certain breakthroughs in the email personalization category such as this case below, including personalization points such as name, signup date, and years since then. However, the ultimate level of personalization marketers dream for is still a mirage that is yet to be achieved.


4. Dynamic content

  • Expectation:

This was one super brave prediction. Professionals in the email marketing field have been buzzing about content being generated the moment the email is opened, not sent, thus offering experience never seen so far.

  • Reality:

Too good to be true. The only email dynamics available right now is changing an image linked to a certain URL. This way, the email template will load the new image every time it is opened.


5. Interactivity

  • Expectation:

Professionals predicted that in 2017 emails would act like mini websites. Such functionality would allow users to take valuable actions without leaving the inbox.

  • Reality:

Interactive emails have been trending for about 2 years now and 2017 hasn’t bring anything new to the table, yet. As much as email marketers and users want templates to act like mini sites already, this is still not a thing. The available interactive elements so far are carousels, tabbed content, collapsible menus, image rollovers, CSS animations and GIFs.


demo-tabbed-content demo-collapsible-menus

6. Cross-channel collaboration

  • Expectation:

Working tightly with other digital channels is a part of the whole concept built on presenting relevant information in a timely manner. Email activity was expected to be highly integrated with other channels in 2017. Therefore, this would allow users to be presented with consistent content and super personalized offers.

  • Reality:

There are sporadic cases of email integration with native apps and chat bots sending emails with relevant content. However, mass cross-channel integration is still not the case in the first half of 2017.

Turns out,

Email marketing trends 2017 have been more like wish-to-be trends than actual trends. Nothing has changed very notably as much as we wished it has.

On the bright side, there is still half an year ahead. So, who knows what surprises await in the future! Meanwhile, we will keep on designing and code the same old email templates that have been around for quite some time now. Fingers crossed for a brighter future!

Wanna read about Email Design Trends 2017?