Updated March 19, 2019. According to a Litmus survey of email marketers, creating interactive experiences was the biggest email design trend of 2018, and one year prior, 2017 was declared the year of interactive email. Email marketing leaders are buzzing about creating app-like or microsite inspired experiences completely inside an email. If your idea of interactive email is “Dear %%FIRST_NAME%%,” brace yourself for more possibilities. Here are five examples of how you can incorporate interactive content into your next email. Navigation bars, accordions, and menus As brands strive to make email a fully interactive, app-like experience, users will continue seeing more web-like navigation and menu options. This is especially relevant to mobile email design, which has traditionally seen tightly constricted navigation options due to screen size. The ability to include hamburger menus and carousels into email code is changing that. Here is an email we created for Rev that uses accordions to minimize the initial amount of information presented and imitate a web-like experience.Shopping carts The more barriers you can remove for customers, the easier, and more likely, it will be for them to go through with a transaction. Some brands are making it possible for users to shop, manage their cart and initiate transactions completely inside an email. Check out this example from Litmus. Users can peruse conference dates, options and packages, add tickets to a shopping cart, and hop to a landing page to finalize the purchase.Real-time news and updates EmailMonday blogger Jordie van Rijn predicts more email will use contextual data, in real-time. This includes content based on geolocation, device, weather, time, (Twitter) trends, and stock levels. Based on real-time variables, these emails will generate content based on the moment of open, not on the moment of send. According to Adobe, the definition of “real-time email marketing” is email that delivers “contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer lifecycle in ways that reflect the customer’s preferences.” An example from men’s fashion brand Allen Edmonds shows how the brand used weather and geo-location as variables to deliver contextually relevant content to subscribers. Subscribers in areas experiencing weather warmer than 40º received content featuring rain gear, while recipients in areas experiencing weather below 40º received content offering winter shoes. This particular campaign saw a 300% jump in click-through rate.HTML5 video and animated GIFs While video is still not universally supported by different email clients, it is becoming more common, and if your subscriber base is especially active on Apple Mail, it’s a good option. Campaign Monitor listed some best practices for inserting video into your brand’s email experience. Keep videos short.Keep the file size small.Default to mute.Make sure using video adds value to the email. Animated GIFs add the interactive element of video with fewer limitations. A report compiled by Email Monks found that emails including an animated GIF see a click-through rate up to 26% higher than one without (Email Institute) and that using a GIF in an email can increase the conversion rate by 103% (Marketing Sherpa).In this email we created for Indiana Sports Corp, we used a series of subtle, animated GIFs to draw the viewer in and guide them through the email. Another example from our work with the Indiana Pacers uses a GIF to feature several of their star players right as the user opens the email.Games and puzzles You have probably already heard about how gamification can be used to drive high-quality engagement with your audience. More brands are using gamification to drive interaction and conversions in email. We recently incorporated a game into one of our own TrendyMinds emails. Users answered a series of questions inside the email to unlock which Halloween villain they are most like. Try it out here.Interactive content may require access to more sophisticated data or infrastructure than your basic email, and many of these interactive elements will require fallbacks for email clients that don’t support them. But incorporating interactive content into your email marketing efforts, in ways that add value to your audience, is sure to drive engagement and put you one step ahead of the game. Interested in incorporating interactive content in your next email campaign? Give us a shout.

Digital Marketing

5 Awesome Examples of Interactive Content in Email

Blog Author

Rob Kaczanowski | June 8, 2017

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Updated March 19, 2019.

According to a Litmus survey of email marketers, creating interactive experiences was the biggest email design trend of 2018, and one year prior, 2017 was declared the year of interactive email. Email marketing leaders are buzzing about creating app-like or microsite inspired experiences completely inside an email. If your idea of interactive email is “Dear %%FIRST_NAME%%,” brace yourself for more possibilities.

Here are five examples of how you can incorporate interactive content into your next email.

Navigation bars, accordions, and menus

As brands strive to make email a fully interactive, app-like experience, users will continue seeing more web-like navigation and menu options. This is especially relevant to mobile email design, which has traditionally seen tightly constricted navigation options due to screen size. The ability to include hamburger menus and carousels into email code is changing that.

Here is an email we created for Rev that uses accordions to minimize the initial amount of information presented and imitate a web-like experience.

We used drop-down accordions in this email for Rev to streamline content.
We used drop-down accordions in this email for Rev to streamline content.

Shopping carts

The more barriers you can remove for customers, the easier, and more likely, it will be for them to go through with a transaction. Some brands are making it possible for users to shop, manage their cart and initiate transactions completely inside an email.

Check out this example from Litmus. Users can peruse conference dates, options and packages, add tickets to a shopping cart, and hop to a landing page to finalize the purchase.

Litmus allows users to start the checkout process from within this Litmus Live conference email.
Litmus allows users to start the checkout process from within this Litmus Live conference email.

Real-time news and updates

EmailMonday blogger Jordie van Rijn predicts more email will use contextual data, in real-time. This includes content based on geolocation, device, weather, time, (Twitter) trends, and stock levels.

Based on real-time variables, these emails will generate content based on the moment of open, not on the moment of send.

According to Adobe, the definition of “real-time email marketing” is email that delivers “contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer lifecycle in ways that reflect the customer’s preferences.”

An example from men’s fashion brand Allen Edmonds shows how the brand used weather and geo-location as variables to deliver contextually relevant content to subscribers. Subscribers in areas experiencing weather warmer than 40º received content featuring rain gear, while recipients in areas experiencing weather below 40º received content offering winter shoes. This particular campaign saw a 300% jump in click-through rate.

HTML5 video and animated GIFs

While video is still not universally supported by different email clients, it is becoming more common, and if your subscriber base is especially active on Apple Mail, it’s a good option.

Campaign Monitor listed some best practices for inserting video into your brand’s email experience.

  1. Keep videos short.
  2. Keep the file size small.
  3. Default to mute.
  4. Make sure using video adds value to the email.

Animated GIFs add the interactive element of video with fewer limitations. A report compiled by Email Monks found that emails including an animated GIF see a click-through rate up to 26% higher than one without (Email Institute) and that using a GIF in an email can increase the conversion rate by 103% (Marketing Sherpa).

We used subtle GIFs throughout this email for Indiana Sports Corp to draw the reader through the email.
We used subtle GIFs throughout this email for Indiana Sports Corp to draw the reader through the email.

In this email we created for Indiana Sports Corp, we used a series of subtle, animated GIFs to draw the viewer in and guide them through the email. Another example from our work with the Indiana Pacers uses a GIF to feature several of their star players right as the user opens the email.

We incorporated a GIF in this email for the Indiana Paces to highlight several star players.
We incorporated a GIF in this email for the Indiana Paces to highlight several star players.

Games and puzzles

You have probably already heard about how gamification can be used to drive high-quality engagement with your audience. More brands are using gamification to drive interaction and conversions in email.

We recently incorporated a game into one of our own TrendyMinds emails. Users answered a series of questions inside the email to unlock which Halloween villain they are most like. Try it out here.

Interactive content may require access to more sophisticated data or infrastructure than your basic email, and many of these interactive elements will require fallbacks for email clients that don’t support them. But incorporating interactive content into your email marketing efforts, in ways that add value to your audience, is sure to drive engagement and put you one step ahead of the game.

Interested in incorporating interactive content in your next email campaign? Give us a shout.