What does the future of email marketing hold? These are the changes, trends, and constant factors the industry thinkers have laid out for us. Summarized for your reading pleasure. Let’s gaze into the future of email marketing; always a good excuse to take note of what’s happening right now, and what’s coming up.

As more and more future of email marketing articles are published, I’ll be updating this list. If you have any additions, do let me know.

Industry experts on the future of email marketing and marketing automation

What will be the most interesting developments and trends in the coming years? Industry experts share their views on the future of Email Marketing & Marketing Automation.

  1. René Kulka – “hyper-personalization” is becoming a reality. Specialist third-party services pop up in deliverability, testing, live content, remarketing, predictive analytics, email advertising & customer intelligence.
  2. Dave Chaffey – Guidance for triggered marketing sequences is a necessity. Effective experiences will form the starting point.
  3. Tom De Baere – Consumer expectations are pushing marketing automation technology vendors, while enterpise supplier-agency-model is needed for digital transformation.
  4. Jordie van Rijn – Email marketing and marketing automation will be stealing from each other. “Functional Chunks” will be the next step in modular evolution.
  5. Stewart Rogers – No big changes in the email marketing ecosystem through 2016. Yet personalisation will be the bigger trend.
  6. Parry Malm – The new focus on optimising is a huge movement in the industry. Innovation will come from outside the industry feature-set arms race.
  7. John Caldwell – Easier multi-channel multi-touch campaigns thanks to better UI. While mid-market platforms are proven big game hunters.
  8. David Raab – Widespread integration of machine learning. It will become substantially easier to import third party data to enhance the marketer’s own (first party) information about her customers.
  9. Todd Lebo – Technological advancement of marketing tools will be extremely valuable, while 59% of marketers are only using a limited amount of the marketing automation tools.

Read on about hyper-personalisation, functional chuncks and where the expected (r)evolutions in the arena will come from: Industry experts on the future of email marketing and marketing automation

The crowd is thinking 5 years ahead…

The wisdom of the crowd has something to say about the way that email marketing will evolve. Econsultancy asked marketers: “What do you think the single biggest to change to email marketing will be, when looking ahead 5 years.” Data, content and personalisation were the most prominent themes, resulting in the following word cloud.
email in five years

Furthermore, in five years most company respondents (76%) see email communication completely personalized and 74% sees it still being one of the channels with the highest return on investment. Only a 9% sees email being redundant as a channel. email_in_five_years

10 epic email marketing predictions for 2016

Ten of the top minds in the email marketing industry have come together for some Epic crystalball gazing over at Campaignmonitor. With predictions about what the future holds for email marketing in 2016. Below a short summary. Read the full article here: 10 epic email marketing predictions for 2016

  1. Chad White of Litmus: Email marketing will experience a second coming of age in 2016, thanks to mobile strategies, more integrations and more insights from data.
  2. Alex Williams of Trendline Interactive: Gmail will add style support to their webmail clients and media query support to their mobile apps allowing email designers, marketers and ESPs to finally provide a great experience to Gmail users on desktop and mobile.
  3. Daniel Codella of Zurb: Email automation tools become even more useful, offering email marketers more ways to creatively use them and an ever expanding list of triggers
  4. Elliot Ross of Action Rocket: 2016 will be the big year for modular template design, where marketers can have versions of the same template instead of each one being different, heavy and complex.
  5. Philip Storey of Enchant: More of marketers’ time will be spent on automation, versus scheduled campaigns and email broadcasts.
  6. Kraig Swensrud of Campaign Monitor: 2016 is the year coding emails becomes a thing of the past, anyone can now create beautiful, professional email campaigns with drag-and-drop technology.
  7. Justin Khoo of FreshInbox: Through true user interactivity and powerful animation. It’s only a matter of time before this new medium called Kinetic email becomes mainstream.
  8. Jaymin Bhuptani of Email Monks: In 2016, there’s one thing I predict: The power of animation and interactivity in emails.
  9. Kath Pay of Holistic Email Marketing: Machine learning takes both automation and personalization one step further, be prepared to see more machine learning technology available in 2016 and start planning to avail yourselves of it.
  10. Jordie van Rijn of EmailMonday: In 2016, we’ll see the fields of email marketing and marketing automation come together. While toning down inflated expectations and “Cloudy Dreams of Big Data”, email, and automation will be coming together for a pick and mix.

Read the full article here: 10 epic email marketing predictions for 2016

4 data points to help you build the case for a bigger Email Marketing budget in 2016

Don’t overlook that important date that is coming up on your calendar, the day that your new budget kicks in. Daniel Burstein of the MECLABS Institute did us a favor by collecting some of the latest statistics on the effectiveness and ROI of the channel. With the preference that consumers have this is the perfect set of slides to drop into your proposal or presentation and win the email marketing budget you need to be successful in 2016.

Read: 4 data points to help you build the case for a bigger budget in 2016

What I Learned After Reading 116 Email Marketing Predictions

What would happen if you read all the “Top email trends for 2016”, “Where is email headed in the year to come?” and “2016 email marketing predictions” articles out there? Pretty solid chance your mind would explode.

Gerald Marshall took the gamble and brought together all the future speak he could find. Trying to make sense of the 116 email marketing predictions – compiled it into one big excel sheet and made a personal email predictions consensus mash-up. The top 4 hottest categories of email predictions 2016? Segmentation, Emails and Esps, Automation and content.


Read What I Learned After Reading 116 Email Marketing Predictions

10 Things That Will Redefine the Email Marketing Landscape in the (Near) Future

What happens if Len Shneyder from Sparkpost asks 9 email marketing all-stars to pontificate and wax poetic on the future of email marketing? 10 insights on what will define this high performance channel in the (near) future.

  1. Chris Arrendale of Inboxpros: It’ll become more difficult to reach customers acquired through purchased lists. Marketers will be forced to rethink their acquisition strategy leading to leaner but healthier house files
  2. Laura Atkins of Word To The Wise: Data breaches have cost companies billions of dollars in damages, lost productivity and customer attrition. Email authentication and other security measures will evolve as a basic requirement to reach the inbox.
  3. Jessica Best from Barkley: Email will see a flourishing of animation and video in 2016 and beyond. You might call it wishful thinking, but I see the transition from static to animated experiences in email as the next big story email can tell.
  4. Dennis Dayman of Return Path: In 2016 and beyond, cloud and email based platforms will begin to need to use privacy as a selling point, or create a value proposition around their privacy posture and policies.
  5. Alexander Garcia-Tobar of Valimail: Email authentication will increasingly matter to marketing teams in 2016, and not just “messaging and anti-abuse” personnel.
  6. Nancy Harris of Sailthru: Email filtering and the experience companies have trying to deliver email to corporate domains vs. consumer ISPs are beginning to converge and simplify in some ways.
  7. Ryan Phelan of Adestra: Email marketing has become so complicated that few people can wrap their arms around it without bringing in outside resources.The popularity of external agencies and professional services will grow.
  8. Len Shneyder of SparkPost: Triggered email will become a larger slice of the overall email landscape in 2016 and beyond. Companies are collecting massive amounts of data that allow the savviest marketers the unique ability to automate more of their email communication strategy.
  9. Matthew Vernhout of Inbox Marketer: The new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation is essentially a true opt-in culture vs. the opt-out culture of the United States. We will see numerous suits and fines levied against not only Canadian companies acclimating to this new policy landscape, but also against American companies.
  10. Chad White of Litmus: By the end of 2016, the majority of all email will be opened on mobile devices; Email marketing will have a second coming of age in 2016 because it has entered a period of massive transformation—people are taking a hard look at email because there are so many smartphones in use today.

Read the full article at Huffpost here

Top 5 Email Marketing Trend Predictions for 2016

The lead digital marketing strategist from Communicator, Jenna Tiffany lists her the top 5 trend predictions for 2016. Referring to data and research to back them up.

Email marketing is to be in real-time and personalized, the single customer view will become a reality, email is shifting towards a performance channel. We should also expect more in regards of data protection although many people and marketers aren’t totally informed yet. More sales will be coming via the mobile channel as the journey and experience improves.

Read: Top 5 Email Marketing Trend Predictions for 2016

Top 10 Email Marketing Predictions for 2016 from Litmus

Litmus’ all-star team Jason Rodriguez, Justine Jordan, Chad White and Kevin Mandeville come together to give us their top email marketing predictions for 2016. Not only the macro industry changes, but (of course) also a lot of detailed predictions about changes in individual email clients and email rendering. And yes, it will get its sexy back.

  1. More shopping experiences in email through interactive emails.
  2. We’ll see another major email service provider bought in 2016
  3. A new wave of people will invest in a career in email. (because it got its sexy back)
  4. The Outlook (desktop) email client will fall to 5% market share.
  5. Apple will release a Siri-infused headset to sync with iPhone and Apple Watch.
  6. Gmail won’t start supporting media queries this year. Maybe in 2017?
  7. Outlook will introduce new email client/rendering engine. Expect new wrinkles!
  8. Gmail will drop support for animated emojis in subject lines. That was just one step too far.
  9. Inbox by Gmail will just stick around as a standalone app, not integrated into Gmail proper.
  10. Email won’t die. (yes it will get its sexy back).

Read: Top 10 Email Marketing Predictions for 2016 at the Litmus blog

5 things in email marketing that will stay the same in 2016

Elliot Ross from Action Rocket compiled a list of constant factors in email marketing. Of course many things change over time, so also in 2016 there will be progress and development for email marketers. So while we are up for a next ‘exciting’ year, what about the things that will to stay the same?

The more things change the more they stay the same. People will continue to claim that email is dead (it is not). The best campaigns will still be the ones with a clear message. Mobile email will still be a thing, but we will likely see more hybrid coded emails and of course The email community will continue to be awesome.

Read: 5 things in email marketing that will stay the same in 2016

2015: The Modern Marketing Year in Review

Jeff Cohen has brought together an impressive list of experts and sums up the past year in modern marketing on the Oracle blog. But since modern marketers don’t make decisions with their gut, but through data (sometimes), the synopsis needed to be inspired by a published statistic or data point.
Read: 2015: The Modern Marketing Year in Review or see the report embedded below.

16 Email Predictions for 2016

The email industry has made some impressive strides last year, but is still looking to push forward. What will that progress look like? Brent Sleeper from Sparkpost gathered the predictions of some of the most plugged-in email experts about technology, email marketing and best practices. It might be that I myself counted it wrong, but it looks like there is a bonus prediction at the end. :)

Len Shneyder, VP Industry Relations, SparkPost
1. Email volume will grow.Legitimate email volume is, like our universe, always expanding for the foreseeable future.
2. Batch and blast emails won’t go away. But campaign-driven marketing will become just one flavor of multiple messaging streams used by marketers.
3. Triggered emails will grow in number and sophistication. Triggers will also use external data sources to become seamless and unified experiences.
4. People will still make embarrassing mistakes. And they’ll continue to offer apologies and corrections.
5. Email’s ROI will continue to improve. It’s cost-effective and it works. That’s a reliable route to ROI.

Laura Atkins, Email Deliverability Expert, Word to the Wise
6. ISPs are going to start looking at security as part of their deliverability matrix. They’re going to want to see mail that is sent over TLS 1.2, mail that is SPF-authenticated, mail that is DKIM signed and mail that is DMARC aligned, even if there is no DMARC policy.
7. Deliverability will be increasingly difficult  for companies that outsource their address collection to third parties. The ISPs know that the users don’t want the mail, and they’ll block it or spam folder it, and won’t care.
8. Marketers are going to have to face the fact that seed accounts don’t tell the whole story. Delivery to seed accounts isn’t going to be representative of delivery to real accounts. This is a side effect of the individualized delivery many of the ISPs have worked so hard to create.

Josh Aberant, VP Growth, SparkPost
9. In 2015, the email community woke up and turned on STARTTLS for email encryption en masse, now we will be addressing remaining privacy concerns with protocols like STS or DANE.
10. 2016 will be the year of machine-to-human email communication. The Internet of Things isn’t some far-fetched dream: it’s already here, and signs point to an accelerating number of connected devices being deployed throughout the globe.

Seth Weisfeld, Engagement Manager, Pinterest
11. 2016 will be the year where multi-channel messaging and big data fully come together to deliver the dream of a truly personalized notifications experience at scale.
12. A new breed of nimbler email service providers will launch to provide improved feature sets, better partnerships, and more responsive support to small and midsize business.
13. Gmail will do something to thoroughly challenge our HTML email coding skills.

Dennis Dayman, Chief Privacy & Security Officer, Return Path
14. Data about email inbox performance will make reaching truly engaged audiences possible. Companies like Google will continue to build and launch advertising networks, but those networks will only be as good as the audiences they reach.
15. Next year’s marketers will need to include hashtags as anchor text for social share buttons and links, to help foster the connection between email marketing and social media content.
16. Marketers will need to implement real-time personalization to both anticipate customer needs and deliver on their expectations… In other words, no two emails sent out will be identical.

Steve Dille, CMO, SparkPost
17. Big data and real-time analytics will transform marketing emails. Predictive analytics and big data already have been shaping how websites create ever-more personalized experiences. Now, this same infrastructure will be used to drive high levels of real-time personalization in email.

Read: 16 Email Predictions for 2016

5 Email Marketing Trends You Should Pay Attention to in 2016

The New Year is an excellent time to refresh your marketing strategy, the ins and outs of your budget and figuring out the smartest ways to spend it. The team at Webbula took it on them to look at what was , but also what will be great ways to go around your email marketing. After all, it is evolutionary as new technologies sweep through the landscape

Personalized email marketing and CRM is needed to go beyond “dear first name” and through data enhancement it becomes relatively simple to get more data about your customers. From information like their name and email address, or as sophisticated as their shopping preferences, hobbies and lifestyle choices, or political leanings and contributions.

Make 2016 the year you consider mobile-centric marketing – after all, with click-through rates as much as 23% higher with responsive templates, it just makes sense.

In 2016, Webbula anticipates that more and more companies will be integrating email and advertising strategies and the customer journey. Sure, you could just send the same email to all your customers at once. With behavior-based marketing, you replace this “shotgun approach” with a far more targeted solution. And finally: Data is still king in 2016.

Read: 5 Email Marketing Trends You Should Pay Attention to in 2016

5 Predictions for Email in 2016

Geoff Phillips of email on acid is feeling 2016 is going to be an exciting year for email. Without knowing exactly what will be happening for the rest of the year, and where the market will go, he made a top 5 of predictions from current market trends.
1. Animation/interactive elements will become more popular
Though some mobile inboxes can’t take advantage of interactive elements, it brings a huge experience improvement to mobile users. In 2016 it won’t go mainstream yet, but certainly more popular.

2. Fluid hybrid design will become the new normal
Fluid hybrid design makes that emails to be responsive in the Gmail app and almost everywhere else. It is not the “future of email design”, because it started as a fix for outlook and gmail. but certainly if you aren’t using it yet. Start now.

3. Hyper personalization will continue to perform well
“batch and blast”is out, improved click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10% is in. So adopting hyper-personalization tactics with dynamic content in 2016 is the way to go.

4. Permission-based spam laws will become stricter
We had the Canadian spam law, CASL since 2014 and EU add the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). And with each year, you can bet that permission-based anti-spam laws will continue to get more stringent.

5. The struggle for inbox attention will only become more real
But the solution is here to stay. Send email people want to receive! Those email marketing messages full of useful content or persuasive offers will find that the increased inbox volume doesn’t impact their bottom line at all. Pfew!

Read: 5 Predictions for Email in 2016

Cheeky (email) marketing Predictions for 2016 that will make you think

David Baker from Cordial was so great to present a cheeky view of trends and predictions this year intended to make you think about what’s coming near-term and how our world is changing around us. with predictions you only have one time to get it right, per year that is.

  • 4th of July will kick off Christmas holiday season in 2016.
    Most will need to think about email marketing earlier, manage discounting carefully.
  • Apple iPhone launches with new self-shopping phone.
    Something has to give in our multiplexed society society, the phone will buy things on sale, buy things you are looking for and in general be more pro-active.
  • Marketing departments will be replaced by marketing automation software.
    Left brain and right brain need to start having more lunches together in 2016 to fight this off. Or it will be assembly-line marketing if we don’t speed up.
  • Internet of Things will be replaced with big buzz words like “Smart Lives.” Consumer IoT is growing rapidly. So many devices monitoring and helping manage our lives.
  • Consumer sell their data to hackers instead of waiting for it to be stolen. Consumers are learning the value of their data to marketers, and will expect tighter security. Possibly businesses capturing data won’t survive or monetize the same way.

Read on for the all his Cheeky (email) marketing Predictions for 2016 at Mediapost.

The Future of Email Marketing: 3 Trends you Must Anticipate

Simon Cave of Stampelia is pretty clear about anticipating trends: “If you don’t keep up with email marketing trends, you will find yourself overwhelmed and leave money on the table.”

Want to be forward thinking? Take all the data from your customer interaction story and use it for real-time email personalisation. Emails might get smarter even and start sending out umbrella mails every time it starts raining when true email intelligence arrives. Simons’ third trend to anticipate; the email experience will get closer to a website or an app.

Read: The Future of Email Marketing: 3 Trends you Must Anticipate

3 Email Marketing Trends that Will Define 2016

Alex Liang from DevTeam.Space names 2016 the year of video in email, based on the 55% higher click rate and 24% higher conversions that emarketer reported. Email & Social will be the digital Peanut butter and Jelly team. Marketing Automation the way email marketers will start to unravel the are of listening, not just talking to their customer.

3 Email Marketing Trends that Will Define 2016

Email design trends within your reach and a bit of crystal ball gazing

Jānis Seržants of Mailigen lists a number of email design trends that you can start using today. Emoji your way to your readers’ attention. Use emojis to add that splash of color and fun to your email content and subject line. Animation delights, video demonstrates and the GIF is just a great tool for conveying emotion. We all love in-email animations, so try hover and slide animations and top it of with a Hamburger! Use countdown clocks for your email campaign and Google fonts to create copy that is pleasing to the eye, this can be done already.

Jānis’ Email Marketing Crystal Ball however, sees us designing for smartwatches and shopping right from inside the email.

Apple watch email

Check: Email design trends within your reach

The Top 5 Email Marketing Predictions for 2016

While you were putting on your party pants, Blair Nordstrom from Vendasta put on his prediction pants and listed his top 5 email marketing predictions. In 2016 email inboxes will get busier than ever with more emails being sent (around 5% increase) this year. Super personalized emails will become the new standard thanks to marketing automation functionalities.

Mobile-first design will take off, even their own mails have passed the mobile email tipping point. Call to Actions will get aided by animation to draw attention through embeddable content and animated GIFs.

Subscription and lead capture lightboxes will be everywhere, everywhere, yes everywhere. It has become increasingly popular over the past year, but now lightboxes will go mainstream. lightboxes

Will the additional email subscribers that come in through these lightboxes be the reason more email will be sent? According to Blair a combo his blogging and the lightbox boosted the subscription rate by 406%. Not bad at all.

Read: The Top 5 Email Marketing Predictions for 2016

4 Email Marketing Trends We’ll See as We Gear Up for 2016

Yes, definitely the one trend that is visible all across the web (and on this site too) is the omnipresent lightbox (pop-in) for list growth. His smarter cousin is based on exit-intent. Meaning it will pop-in when you are about to leave the site or move your mouse away from the page. My bet is that the growth hacking community and a couple of smart startups will keep on keeping this method cool for the next couple of years.

The second trend that Jason Hawkins lays out, better, more consistent tracking. Thank you! Tracking and measuring are necessary before we can even think about marketing automation or optimization / testing. Tools are making the tracking easier to implement. I can get behind that as a trend catching on, because and so should every smart marketer.

Add some mobile and better personalization and you have:
4 Email Marketing Trends We’ll See as We Gear Up for 2016

What were the key email marketing trends from 2015?

David Moth from Econsultancy takes a look back at 2015 and mull over what’s occurred in digital marketing. With email remaining one of the most important channels for f driving traffic and sales, he asked several experts from both agency and client-side for their opinions and words of wisdom on the most significant email marketing trends from 2015.

What were the key email marketing trends from 2015?

Looking back at the Future of email marketing

Do you have the 1.21 Jiggawats it takes? Last year was a good year too, or at least the predictions about email marketing were as good. Have a look back at the past “future of email marketing” predictions. What would you say to yourself if you could go back one, two or more years?

The future of email marketing 2015 edition
These Trends show the Future and Evolution of Email Marketing (2014)
The future of email marketing 2013 edition
The future of Email marketing 2012 edition
Email marketing insights for 2011

PS: As more and more future of email marketing articles are published, I’ll be updating this list. If you have any additions, do let me know.

Header image by Stefano Corso