Top 10 Email Developments of 2015

Posted by Spike Email Marketing, Opinions and commentary

This is the time of year when Top 10 lists are everywhere! So with this in mind, we thought we’d share a very informative and important article from Litmus to help you stay abreast of the latest developments in email. Our comments are in bold.

1. APPLE WATCH LAUNCHES
In April, the Apple Watch was launched, bringing with it some major implications for email marketers.

As a result, it’s crucial to not only send multi-part MIME messages containing a plain text alternative but to optimize that plain text alternative for wearables like the Watch.

Every email we send has a text version but it will interesting to see the impact wearables has on email engagement.

2. AOL INTRODUCE ALTO MAIL MOBILE APP
In May, Verizon purchased AOL for over $4 billion, investing some of that money towards creating a mobile email app. A few months later, in October, AOL reintroduced its former webmail app, Alto, as a mobile one.

Alto aims to solve the problem of multiple inboxes. It supports all the global email providers, allows you to pull them all together in one inbox, and easily switch between them in one app.

Not something that will have a big effect on NZ businesses. 

3. OUTLOOK LAUNCHES MOBILE APP FOR IOS AND ANDROID
In January, Outlook launched Outlook for Android and iOS phones and tablets. These apps were created to provide professionals with a powerful email platform while they’re away from their computer.

What’s its effect on email? For starters, it splits messages into two groups: focused and others. Over time, Outlook learns who their subscribers normally interact with and adds those emails to the focused group for quick access. If your subscribers are actively engaging with your emails, then you may receive this coveted spot in the inbox.

Nothing happens if you’re not in your customers’ inbox. Sending engaging content helps you win here.

4. UNIVERSAL OFFICE APPS FOR WINDOWS 10 LAUNCHES
Windows 10 comes with a new email app, Outlook Mail, as its default email client. This email app is “universal,” meaning that it’s the same app across desktop, smartphones and tablets. However, it’s a major step back from Windows Phone 8 and it has brought many of its desktop issues to the mobile space.

What’s an email designer to do? Use mobile-friendly elements for those viewing on mobile and tablet apps, and stick to a table-based design.

Same old, same old design rules here. Go tables!

5. IOS 9 LAUNCHES
In September 2015, Apple released the latest version of their mobile operating system, iOS 9. This updated operating system added support for a few new CSS properties—and introduced a few new changes that are bound to frustrate email designers.

While iOS has historically had great CSS and HTML support, it added a few new additions to the list.

Better support for responsive images is one that stood out for Spike.

6. GMAIL LAUNCHES NEW “BLOCK” OPTION
In September, Gmail rolled out a new “block” functionality to all Gmail webmail and Android app users. This gives consumers yet another way to rid their inboxes of email they don’t want. ‘Block’ instead of ‘mark as spam’ will block the sender getting back into the inbox.

Spike is interested to see if this option stands the test of time.

7. OUTLOOK.COM BEGINS TO REPLACE OFFICE 365
As is evident in this post alone, Microsoft has a lot of email clients. In an effort to align their feature set, the interface and infrastructure of Outlook.com is being replaced by Office 365. The rollout of this update began over the summer to a small group of customers, and has since been made available through a broader audience through an opt-in program—and eventually everyone.

Phew! It’s great Microsoft is sorting this issue out. About time too.

8. YAHOO! MAIL BEGINS SUPPORTING MEDIA QUERIES
Woo-hoo! Less than a month after a petition for Yahoo! Mail to fix their CSS parser that was breaking media queries was started, Yahoo implemented a fix for it. We hope other email clients (cough Outlook cough Gmail) follow suit!

This doesn’t impact Spike clients as they have few Yahoo email addresses on their lists.

9. GMAIL NIXES THE PROMOTION TAB GRID VIEW
Gmail has reverted back to the text-only format. It looks like most users preferred the traditional format! While the gridview put the spotlight on visuals, it looks like it’s back to optimizing your from name, subject line, and preview text.

Email needs to be as simple as possible to make it quick to scan. Great to see the grid view gone.

10. DROPBOX SHUTS DOWN MAILBOX APP
While 2015 brought the addition of new email apps, it also brought an end to others. In early December, Dropbox announced it will shut down its Mailbox app on February 26, 2016.

It was good while it lasted. 

Check out the full Top 10 article here.