5 email marketing trends to watch out for in 2022


Email marketing was a roller coaster ride this year.

Email took technological leaps in AI-powered intelligent emails, Gmail’s full support of BIMI, and the rise of interactivity. There was a surge in mergers and acquisitions like Intuit acquiring Mailchimp and Message bird acquiring Sparkpost. We also witnessed disruptive events like Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) that led to an evolution in tracking customer engagement. 

Meanwhile, the majority of the
email marketing predictions we had made for 2021 turned out to be spot-on:

  • Businesses enhanced customer experience with contextual content and intelligent segments.
  • Brands focused on convenience, safety, and great customer service as differentiators.
  • Marketers continued to build brand loyalty with empathy and care for the customers.
  • Pandemic-led, unpredictable shopping behavior/preferences made traditional practices ineffective.
  • Conversations took precedence over conversions for brands to retain customer loyalty.

Now we are taking on 2022!

In our recent holiday videocast, Ryan Phelan from RPEOrigin talked about the past 2 years where marketers had to pivot programs and create a new machine for marketing. In 2022, they better make sure that the machine keeps running smoothly! 

These are the email marketing patterns I see developing for 2022, a year that promises to be exciting.

1. Good story-telling will matter more than the tech for making interactive emails

Apple devices with iOS15 have started prefetching images due to which open rates will soon become obsolete. Senders will have to focus on other performance metrics such as clicks, conversions, and replies to gauge customer engagement levels.

That means creating more interactive emails to engage customers. According to research from Litmus, only 23% of marketers say they’ve used interactive elements in their emails. So there is a huge gap to be filled.

But rather than just focus on creating dynamic content, we reckon that marketers will have to improve their storytelling and use cases to achieve extraordinary results.

The onus will be on telling stories that match your customer problems with solutions. Don’t make this a sales pitch but be upfront about providing value and experience. You won’t necessarily require tech like
AMP to create these emails.

2. Long-term customer loyalty over short-term gains

Research by Gartner says that 39% of global CMOs plan to increase the sales to existing customers. The pandemic had a disruptive effect on customer retention and loyalty. Customer lifetime value (CLV) has become a north star metric for marketers, especially in the eCommerce sector.

In my opinion, retaining high-value customers for a longer term will assume a paramount role in 2022. Marketers will care not just about who are their best customers right now, but who will be their most valued customers 5 years down the line.
If an existing customer spends $200 per month, then what’s their potential to spend $20,000 in the next 2 years? These are the kind of questions marketers would attempt to solve with the help of
big data and machine learning.

Providing a better brand experience, customer service, and tailored emails will be important for retention. Creating loyalty programs and communicating about them through emails to high-value customers will drive revenue.

In 2022, marketers will have to gain a 360-degree understanding of what drives customer retention and accurately estimate their value.

3. Innovation in zero-party data collection strategies

With Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) live, collecting more
zero-party data will be a great solution. Therefore, marketers will have to get innovative in acquiring preference data to create relevant and personalized shopping experiences.

With zero-party data, marketers can continue to have access to valuable customer data that they will lose with MPP. The data sources (like website and newsletter preference centers, email surveys, quizzes, social media polls) can be used to
engage customers meaningfully, build deeper bonds, and design relevant content.

An important reason to get access to zero-party data is to avoid wrongly targeted content which just annoys people.

With a consolidated data collection strategy, customers can share their personal information that they are comfortable with brands to get personalized offers and benefits. Loyalty programs are also an excellent way to receive such information and hence they will become hot in the upcoming year.

4. Social proofing your products will generate consumer interest

Social media platforms have become an aide for brands to connect with their users.
Social apps continue to play a major role for digital companies in brand building and enabling product discovery. We will see email and social media teams working a lot more in tandem in the coming year.

The concept of online product discovery is old, but the way it happens is evolving. Many consumers are turning to social apps like Facebook for personalized inspiration and customized recommendations. Nearly eight in 10 consumers
Facebook surveyed said they used at least one Facebook app or service for product/service discovery in the last holiday season. Social commerce represented 11% of global retail eCommerce revenue in 2020, generating $474 billion.

Social platforms have become excellent channels for creating consumer buzz. Displaying positive customer reviews and their delight in using your products inside emails will attract purchases.

Asking customers to tweet or post their review or favorite product will be used to create user-generated content (UGC). UGC comes at no extra cost and builds brand positivity and publicity for your products.

Remember that social media is a double-edged sword: failure to live up to your standards will also result in getting a lot of online flak.

5. Following best practices will be the modus operandi for a stable deliverability

Subscriber ‘opens’ have always told a better deliverability story than anything else, but that’s all set to change now. With user opens becoming irrelevant, it will become increasingly challenging to gauge customer engagement.

As Jennifer Lantz from Kickbox said in our holiday videocast, this predicament will continue for the marketers. From the Mailbox Service Provider (MSP) perspective, however, customer engagement will still hold the key to better deliverability.

Marketers will be left with good practices to maintain their inboxing, such as:

  • Strict email authentication by using tools such as https://grademyemail.co/
  • Deep level segmentation based on clicks and other performance indicators
  • Maintaining excellent list hygiene by removing invalid and temporary email ids
  • Sunsetting inactive users to reduce distorted results arising from false opens.

For instance, don’t email to inactive subscribers who haven’t clicked on any of your emails for the last 6 months. Keep your list quality intact by sending emails only to engaged users; it will also keep your inbox placement stable.

As long as you follow the above and craft relevant content for your audience, deliverability should always be a breeze.

Looking ahead to 2022

Email marketing in 2022 will have to be simplistic, direct, and interactive, making it click-worthy. It has to achieve all of these while respecting the user’s privacy.

Spotting and acting on these trends will help you improve your strategies and increase your ROI. Pay attention to the details and test different methods to see what works best for your brand.

Good luck in 2022! :)