Top trends for the inbox in 2019 and beyond

Email Still Holds Strong

With constantly changing and emerging technologies, email just doesn’t seem that exciting sometimes and marketers can find themselves drawn to newer platforms. But channels that once potentially threatened the success of email marketing are finding their popularity fading while email holds strong.

2019 will see a resurgence of email marketing as consumers seek meaningful, authentic connections with brands they know and trust. 1

2019 Inbox Trends

Short Attention Spans

Email attention spans are short—about 11 seconds, according to Litmus research. Brands are increasingly creating email content that better fits this attention span, with the added benefit of making their emails easier to create. Being more efficient is a must in the demanding channel of email marketing.

How can you optimize your emails for short attention spans and small devices?

  • Optimize subject lines and pre-header text to align well with email content
  • Use responsive design (design for mobile first)
  • Use headers, sub-headers, bullets and other tactics to communicate quickly
  • Avoid rendering problems (conduct render testing)
  • Use the “above the fold” space wisely
  • Use compelling imagery (interactive elements)
  • Minimize email load time (large file sizes)

Mobile First

I already mentioned designing for mobile first, but let’s dive into this a bit more. Optimizing emails for mobile will be imperative to the success of any and every email marketing campaign in 2019. The number of smartphone users is set to surpass the 5 billion mark in 2019 and yet, studies show nearly 1 in 5 email marketing campaigns wasn’t optimized for mobile devices. That means 20% of email campaigns are losing out on major revenue, and forgoing building brand loyalty and connecting with their subscribers in a meaningful way.

Additionally, according to Adestra, in 70% of cases, if the message doesn’t display correctly on a mobile device, it’s likely to be deleted within 3 seconds. This not only means your email is being tossed in the trash it could impact your deliverability. In order to stand out in the inbox, you need to be designing for mobile first and ensuring your message displays correctly across all devices.

Meaningful Content

This year, expect even more personalized and interactive emails. Personalization has always been a popular email trend. There’s more of a focus on dynamic content these days which is in part because of the rise of AI-driven personalization, allowing marketers to add tailored email content quickly, easily, and with confidence that the content is tailored in a way that would otherwise be impossible.

Some other design tactics to boost subscriber engagement that are also on the rise in 2019 include:

  • Animation – animation such as .gifs or css, make subscribers pay attention and look
  • Live Content – live content is loaded at the time of the email open, so it is up-to-date and relevant for subscribers who don’t open the email immediately
  • Interactivity – interactive email experiences are engaging and remove friction from email experiences
  • Artificial Intelligence – AI and machine learning systems are able to determine more personalized, targeted, and effective email content

Artificial Intelligence

In 2019, email marketers will continue to become more comfortable using artificial intelligence and machine learning features to help scale their campaigns.

AI will allow email marketers to more effectively create experiences that speak to our customer’s interests, behaviors, intentions, motivations, and next-steps. Data-driven content can be imbued into many aspects of email marketing, including:

  • Effective subject lines and images
  • Personalization
  • Predictive Knowledge
  • Optimized Automation

Companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to strengthen their email marketing strategies and create more personalized experiences. AI for marketing automation is a growing demand, to the point that global automated email marketing alone is expected to account for $2.7 billion by 2025. That is just seven years away!

Marketing Automation

To date, automation has mostly been around timing relevance—companies being reactive by sending when the customer is already showing engagement through their actions on a website or within an email.

According to Forrester, Spending for Marketing Automation tools will grow vigorously over the next few years, reaching $25.1 billion annually by 2023 from $11.4 billion in 2017.  The change for 2019 and beyond must be automation to scale the right content delivery. The content of broadcast email must be personalized at huge scale with the same behavioral intelligence used to power triggered messaging.

Relevance is key and to be relevant, you need to know your audience (specifically their information needs and preferences). That’s why marketing automation cycles bring the best results. With marketing automation, you can collect important data along the customer journey and use it to segment your list and personalize your content.

Compared to batch-and-blast email campaigns, automated campaigns earned a 74% increase in open rates and a 244% higher click-through rate.

Main Benefits of Marketing Automation

Quality over Quantity

Deliverability has become a serious concern for marketers. Due to poor data management and increased standards from major ISPs like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL, emails can quickly and easily land in the SPAM folder.

Focus will be on embracing proven deliverability best practices such as:

  • Segmentation
  • Data hygiene
  • Email verification
  • Preference centers
  • High-quality acquisition

On average, 24.16% of email—that’s one out of four messages—was delivered to spam folders monthly in 2017. Email service providers are constantly improving their own algorithms as data sets grow. In 2019, it will be harder than ever for senders to land in the inbox if their emails constantly go unread.

Your email reputation is always in your control. By taking advantage of these resources such as,, ReputationAuthority, TrustedSource and BarracudaCentral as well as a variety of data points (hard bounce rates, open rate trends, blocking or soft bounce rates, and deferrals), you’ll have more accurate visibility into how the mailbox providers view your mail.

All of these data points are signals of whether or not your mail is seen as wanted by recipients. So the more proactive you can be with your email deliverability, the better.

  • Open Rates: 20% -30% or better is good
  • Clicks: 3% or better is good
  • Abuse/Complaints: 0.1% -0.3% is good (.3% or more is a problem)
  • Hard Bounce: 0.1% -1.9% is Good (2% or more is not good)
  • Blocks: 0.1% -2.0% is Good (2% or more is not good .5% or more is a problem)

Our Deliverability team can help you uncover why your reputation may be suffering through a Deliverability Consult. We’ll analyze your data and current email procedures and practices and provide you with recommendations for improving reputation, staying CAN-SPAM compliant and areas that are impacting your reputation.

Your email engagement is in your hands.

Bottom line, your email engagement is in your hands and embracing these trends will take your marketing to the next level. So there you have it, our thoughts on what lies in store for the inbox in 2019 and beyond.

Have questions about any of these ideas? Our experienced strategy team has helped hundreds of clients implement them, and they’d be happy to help you, too! Just reach out


More to explore…


Apple Mail Privacy Protection

What is Apple Mail Privacy Protection? Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is a feature available to Apple Mail users. MPP protects a user’s privacy by

Read More »

Media Manager upgrade

You may have noticed that your preferred browser provides a security warning for any mixed content. Recent changes in browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and

Read More »

Understanding DMARC

DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, is an email authentication protocol that works alongside Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). What

Read More »

Ready to See WhatCounts in Action?

Take your first step towards supercharged engagement!

This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to improve your website experience and provide more personalized services to you, both on this website and through other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy. We won't track your information when you visit our site. But in order to comply with your preferences, we'll have to use just one tiny cookie so that you're not asked to make this choice again.