A look back at email marketing in 2012

Well. Another year has passed by and sitting here pondering 2012, the first thought that comes to mind is just how much happened last year. It really was a busy year for marketers with so many events happening and email played a big part throughout – from the Olympics emails to the heavy use of email in the US elections.

The biggest topic in the first half of 2012 though, was the cookie law. Having been passed back in May 2011, it finally came into force in May 2012. It generated plenty of discussion here and was by far our most popular post in 2012. If you missed it, you can find the latest guidance from the DMA here and watch Skip Fidura, Vice-Chair of the Email Marketing Council look back on the law here. The latter part of the year saw the discussion start around the new EU Data Protection Regulations, which I encourage you to get involved in – if only through commenting on the various blog posts you can read here.

The most widely covered topic in email marketing last year was of course mobile email design. Christmas Day alone saw 17.4m new smartphones being activated  and mobile email usage grew throughout the year with Litmus showing 38% of all opens were on a mobile back in September. Just don’t forget that people click through from those mobile friendly emails – and the last thing they want is an unfriendly mobile website!

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You should definitely have seen some of these special characters hitting your inboxes last year. There were plenty of marketers making use of them to increase the amount of readable information in subject lines and a few that.. well just took it too far ;)

One of the popular predictions at the end of 2011 was for HTML5 video to take off in emails and whilst there were a few examples of it early in the year, it wasn’t till the end of the year that several  retailers and media companies really made use of it. So it is no surprise then that understanding autoplay and video in emails was our second most popular post in 2012 and similar to Chad’s prediction, I expect to see even more usage in 2013.

Less exciting maybe was the new draft version of DMARC being released - a technical specification that aims to reduce the potential for email-based abuse backed by Google, Microsoft and AOL amongst others. Just before the holidays, Microsoft announced its support for DMARC inside Outlook.com and so the momentum continues to build towards its submission to the IETF  sometime in 2013.

Finally, it was Tim Roe’s approach to developing an email marketing strategy that took the third most popular post gong last year helping marketers to get started using just three different stages. Sometimes it is hard to just get started and this post helps you do that.

So 2013 will of course be another exciting year for email marketing – not least because we are starting to see more and more innovation in the email client space. Gmail (now 8 years old) is finally being challenged by new webmail clients like Outlook.com and AOL’s soon to be launched Altomail.

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Riaz Kanani

About Riaz Kanani

Riaz is the founder at Connected Paths as well as serving on the Email Marketing Council at the DMA where he manages the Council's social media communications (including this blog) and a guest speaker at the Institute of Digital and Direct Marketing.

Previously, Riaz founded Digital Oxygen, the digital marketing services agency that translated sophisticated offline direct marketing techniques to email. Digital Oxygen was later acquired by Silverpop where Riaz built out the international Services, Marketing and Alliances teams.

Prior to this, Riaz founded First Media, the pioneer of online video advertising. He managed the technology and services groups delivering integrated enterprise marketing solutions and global video marketing campaigns. Throughout Riaz has also consulted on cutting edge digital projects for clients internationally.

Riaz also writes on his marketing blog and you can follow his tweets here and his presentations here.