What will email marketing look like in five years? #emailin5years

What will email marketing look like in five years? #emailin5years

Every December I type up a blogpost near the end of the year called `future of e-mail marketing`. Some thinking about what is going to happen, keeps you sharp.

A conversation broke out on twitter with the hashtag #emailin5years where several email experts gave their ideas about email, email marketing and where it will be in five years from now.

Here are some of the top picks, although each tweet would almost justify a whole blogpost on its’ own.

What are your ideas about email in 5 years?
Leave your comments below or connect on twitter @jvanrijn / #emailin5years.

Will email shift to a more mobile experience?

There will be a new mobile-only email player with >100 million users (Joshua Baer @joshuabaer)

In 5 years, your email client will be linked tightly to your Google/Windows wallet or Apple Passbook (George Bilbrey @gbilbrey)

In 5 years people will be asking, “Why would anyone want to check email on a computer?” Not everyone, but 100’s of millions. (Joshua Baer @joshuabaer)

Email is going more and more mobile, just take a look at these mobile email marketing statistics.

How about deliverability and spam?

There will be no more Spam folder (or it will be hidden away) (Joshua Baer @joshuabaer)

Smarter delivery: no more bounces, emails will find their way to the right destination. Guaranteed delivery. (Josh Kerr @joshkerr)

#EmailIn5Years will have more affirmative opt-in regulatory requirements. Also more reliant on domain reputation with IPv6 coming. (@ddayman)

How will this inbox look like and act like?

How close you’re connected to people will influence the inbox view. No longer a simple “newest on top” list. (Bruno Morency @brunomorency)

Business apps will show you, categorize, and act upon relevant emails for the process they manage. (Context.IO @ContextIO #EmailIn5Years)

Restaurant receipts will be tucked away and services will display your health and spending habits #EmailIn5Years (Yaniv Tal @yanivtalmusic)

Mail will be much more dynamic, less accumulation of expired offers, more fluid experience #emailin5years (Christine M Borgia @ChristineBorgia)

There will be multiple Inboxes – people, notifications, groups, receipts, travel, etc. (Joshua Baer @joshuabaer #EmailIn5Years)

Emails will be more structured, inbox will be treated as a core data source for companies; UI will be unrecognizable to today (Zvi Band @skeevis #EmailIn5Years)

#EmailIn5Years 4D thats all i’m saying (Adrian Gray @ady_gray)

How will email usage evolve?

Lines between different mediums will blur & conversations will flow freely (ToutApp @toutapp #EmailIn5Years)

#EmailIn5Years will know if you’ve already received /dealt with the message in another channel and mark itself read (Michael McCubbing @M_McCubbing )

#emailin5years will be spoken not written. @domain will be gone. Attachments will point to the cloud, not actual be sent via. (Josh Kerr @joshkerr )

Better html5 support and more paperless shopping – your bills will go to inbox like in Apple Stores (Becs Rivett @becksr)

Email will be more regulated, more important, more comprehensive, more linked & more alive #EmailIn5Years (Marc BErgers @marc_bergers)

Denton Hill Digital goeg even a bit further: Better CSS/Html5 support, standardised code base… Secure Java code and video feeds from trusted senders (@dhdigitalchat)

And of course, when Joshua Baer tweeted “Facebook will be the largest email provider, with a full-featured mail client”, no better excuse to make fun of “Facebook messages” that was announced to be The email killer, but to date has not gained any traction at all.

Some of the comments:
@HCB_Joe < nice prognostication!
Brandon Hudgeons @bhudgeons If Josh says …
Emailblog @Emailblog Why? FB email not used now.
SnoopDobb @snoopdobb #Frightening

What are your ideas about email in 5 years?

Leave your comments below or connect on twitter @jvanrijn / #emailin5years.

About the Author: Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant. Next to helping companies improve their email marketing results he gives email marketing training and is a writer and speaker in the field of online marketing.
  • Pete Austin

    No mentions of “real-time”, or “testing”. Basically this is the usual nonsense that you get when people predict the future – people mistakenly assume that computers will make a lot more complicated decisions, instead of doing simple things better.

    • What would you add to the emailin5years list in regard to “real-time” or “testing”. Love to hear your thoughts. 

      • Pete Austin

        Greater server power will increase the possibilities for targeting and personalisation. This includes with respect to time. So email will become increasingly real-time and relevant to recipients’ current activities, rather than being an interruption. This will increase engagement.

        Greater server power will also increase the possibilities for automated testing, as is currently only seen with Web content on larger Websites. This will also tend to increase engagement. But testing will become a much more automatic process, so marketers will not have to bother with it much.

  • ividence

    All good points! Likely as a result of the shifting of inbox priority, more and more companies will move to better behavioral targeting. Using both ESP data and data from web behavior, fewer irrelevant emails will be sent. 

  • In five years time, there will be two types of email platform – ones that are easy to use yet powerful, and ones that are out of business. 

    There’s too many platforms right now that are far too complex, and require days and days of training just to do simple things like getting a basic email out the door. You shouldn’t have to learn loads of new terms, battle with loads of confusingly similar interface windows, and still not know if you’re doing it right. If there’s anything that stops the wild predictions above happening, it’s that marketers will still be too busy using cumbersome, confusing, time sapping tools to be able to do anything but basic segmentation.

    I really hope that the ESPs that have addressed this take power over the next few years, and usher in a new type of platform that can easily handle all the cool stuff we want to do.

    • We can hope Elliot, we can hope. We have seen some improvements and more dynamic and rich interfaces at webbased systems of email service provider in the last two years. More drag and drop-ish. But i’m sure some of the ESPs will be out of business in 5 years.  

      • true – I think a lot of the tools we have today are a result of techies making an interface to work around the way they’ve built the system. The smart ESPs are investing in the user experience of the interface, or even better building systems with that kind of thinking from the ground up.

  • Outlook 2017 will use Notepad as engine so we can make some funny ASCII art.

    Sounds like a joke, but if someone told you that Outlook 2007 will render the emails trough Word you would have laughed…

  • StephanieSAM Miller

    Cool list, Jordie, thanks. 

    I think email will be tightly tied to data – think integration, multi channel and automation.  We are only playing around with this today, but the email marketing channel will no longer operate so independently, which I think is really good news for subscribers and marketers.

    • Now to create insights and information form all that data, that has proven to be quite a challenge for many marketers.

  • Noyalizor

    The future of email is interactivity. For the last 2 decades emails have contained nothing more than text and images, but this sort of primitive content will be replaced by interactive content displayed in real time.

    People will be able to watch videos, fill out forms, interact on social networks, shop, play games and much more, all right inside their emails.

    Also, the advent of email apps means that people will be able to perform actions inside email and increase their productivity without ever leaving their inbox.

    How do I know that’s how email will look in 5 years time? Because it’s already available right now with PowerInbox: http://www.powerinbox.com

    • Hi
      Noyalizor, That’s a pretty cool tool, of course we had Hotmail Active
      views https://www.emailmonday.com/hotmail-active-views that promised a more
      interactive inbox. But that project went pretty quiet. More interaction in the
      inbox would be great. 

  • A year ago, Facebook founder had vowed to dead bury email…he hasn’t even walked a step on his talk.
    I’d read someone’s article on how there will be a significant decline on email users once the traditional password system is replaced by visual/touch verification.

  • Pingback: These Trends show the Future and Evolution of Email Marketing — Octa Eye()

  • Henry Marsden

    Cloud based email attachments were certainly very prescient. In many ways google drive lets you do this now when attaching its documents to your emails. Understandably many businesses are concerned with the future of cloud computing. Perhaps that’s why it is important to choose your platforms carefully.


    Using cloud based email to transmit confidential customer data has risks. Unlike conventional mail it is not against the law for your email to be read by other people before it reaches its recipients.

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