by Tom Wozniak, Contributor to Forbes
The year is off to a fast start, but before 2022 gets away from me, I wanted to pop in with my annual look at what will and won’t happen in email marketing this year. You can check out my article from 2021 to see how my predictions held up (pretty well, if I say so myself). But, let’s take out the crystal ball and see what email marketing can expect to see in 2022, along with some things I believe won’t come to pass.
What Will Happen
Email Marketing Will Continue To Grow
Email experienced a bit of a renaissance over the past two years, as marketers turned to the time-tested channel when their entire marketing strategies were disrupted by the pandemic. We saw it at my company, as opt-out activity through our platform rose 20% year over year in 2021.
While digital marketing overall took on a larger role for many companies as offline marketing channels were dramatically impacted, not every channel could easily absorb a higher budget allocation and maintain performance and a positive return on investment. It’s not always as simple as adding more budget to a search engine marketing campaign, social media, display or digital video advertising. Increasing budgets in these channels typically involves expanding keyword lists and social target audiences or placing display/video ads that didn’t make the cut in your original strategy. However, email marketing can increase campaign volume while continuing to deliver results with either increased email frequency or by expanding to use third parties in your email program.
As 2022 continues, there is no reason to expect this trend to change. Email has once again proven its value and, even with a brighter spotlight on it in recent years, it did not fail to step up. While we all hope the world gets back to a new normal that resembles pre-pandemic times, marketers have now shifted their focus heavily toward digital options, accelerating a trend that was already established since the inception of the internet. So, while marketing budgets will certainly be allocated toward traditional channels as they become viable again, we can expect digital channels like email to maintain the growth it was already experiencing. Successful marketers put their efforts and budgets toward what works, and email continues to justify its place as an ROI champion.
Marketers Will Focus On Better Metrics
The launch of Apple’s iOS 15 and the Mail Privacy Protection feature has been well documented since mid-2021. However, it appears to not be having quite as significant an impact on email open rate tracking as was anticipated. Still, the metric has been deprioritized by many marketers, but this is actually great news for email marketers.
While there are strong arguments for tracking email engagement metrics other than just conversions — especially where longer-term customer relationships are part of a company’s business strategy — at the end of the day, marketers still need to deliver clicks and conversions. Those are the metrics that not only prove the channel’s ultimate value but also shape where marketing budgets are allocated.
When marketers spend more time analyzing and optimizing data that is actually directly connected to desired audience actions (leads, sales, etc.) they naturally create more effective campaigns. Real results continue to drive home email’s value to senior executives, which leads to more attention and budget to keep the channel growing and evolving. It’s a virtuous circle that starts with marketers keeping their eyes on the prize.
What Won’t Happen
New Privacy Regulation Won’t Dramatically Impact Email
First off, we can definitely expect more privacy regulation at the state level in 2022. We’ve been seeing more states pass laws in recent years — like the two-part California Consumer Privacy Act — and that isn’t likely to slow down. We may even see something specific at the federal level, although it’s unlikely we’ll see sweeping data privacy legislation. Regardless, marketers will be impacted by these new laws, and email won’t be excluded. However, email marketing is uniquely positioned to weather the storm of many types of data privacy regulation, due in part to the fact that it relies on arguably the most valuable piece of first-party data: the email address.
While various marketing channels may be disrupted by a renewed focus on behavioral targeting or the use of various types of third-party data, email marketing is less likely to be as heavily impacted. It also helps that email marketing already has the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 in place, which created a very specific set of guidelines for email marketers to follow in their campaigns. With that law in place for so long, email marketers already have plenty of experience in operating within a set of rules and regulations and doing it successfully, whereas for other channels, this is somewhat new territory to navigate.
Email Inboxing Won’t Get Any Easier
I’m not sure anyone would predict that deliverability would get easier, but just in case you might be thinking that, I’m here to tell you it won’t. Between the constantly intensifying battle for attention in the inbox (Statista predicted that daily emails sent would grow from 306 billion in 2020 to 320 billion in 2021) and constant improvements in spam filters by the major email providers, getting your message into a recipient’s inbox will only become more challenging in 2022.
Achieving high email campaign deliverability is a never-ending project. If you think you have it dialed in and stop optimizing, you are almost certain to see your deliverability drop over time. So, despite all the well-deserved focus on conversions, don’t ignore deliverability in your email program strategy.
Article originally appeared on Forbes.com.
Interested in learning about V12’s suite of marketing and data solutions to help you target and convert today’s consumers? Click here to learn more.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
- What New Mover Data Says About Millennial New Movers’ Shopping Behavior
- Trends in Social Media Marketing You Should Be Aware Of For 2022
- Millennials Aren’t Always About the Digital Experience. That’s Good News for Your Marketing Department.
- Most B2C Marketers to Rely on Tried-and-True Direct Response Channels This Year
- What Might Cause You to Lose Your Customer’s Loyalty?