Google recently announced that it was rolling out a feature that will allow Gmail users to see dynamic content inside emails. Initially limited to Gmail web users, the update could fundamentally change the way organisations communicate with their Gmail customers.
Just as imagery via HTML was a great leap forward for email in the 1990s, and the roll-out of responsive coding for mobile took things to the next level in the late 2000s, so dynamic content could define email for the decade to come.
In order to fully grasp why it’s such a big deal, it’s important to understand exactly what dynamic content is as well the role it could play within the wider email context.
Understanding dynamic content
When it comes to understanding what dynamic content is, it’s useful to remind ourselves what conventional email is: a static snapshot of content at the point in time that it was created. Dynamic email, by contrast, allows recipients to view “dynamically updated” content in the same email.
So, for instance, a news organisation could send out an email with a breaking story and, rather than sending multiple emails with new developments, simply update the original email.
But dynamic content goes further than that. It also allows people to respond to calendar invites within an email, or fill out forms, and reply directly to comments made in Google Docs.
From an organisational perspective, that’s one less step recipients have to take in order to complete an action and will likely drive up response rates.
It’s also worth noting that, because there’s no need to rely on third-party apps or services, dynamic content dramatically reduces any security risks for end users.
Why it matters
If you’re in charge of your organisation’s customer communication strategy, you might be wondering why you should be paying attention to dynamic content if it only applies to Gmail users. After all, isn’t the whole point of email its universality?
Given that there are around 4-billion email users worldwide and that email still shows a significantly higher click-through rate than social media (a campaign is six times more likely to get a click-through from an email than from a tweet, and email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter), does it make sense to focus on a specific client?
Where Gmail leads, others will follow. It’s therefore worth getting on board with dynamic content now, rather than trying to play catchup later.
It’s not like you’d be a lab rat for Google either. High-profile organisations such as Pinterest and Booking.com have already implemented dynamic content during the beta stage to make sure that a customer’s access to up-to-the-minute information is even more efficient.
If you’re interested in implementing dynamic content, how should you go about doing it?
Dynamic content emails still have to comply with the Gmail bulk sender guidelines. Your email developers can learn how to incorporate this new functionality into your emails from this blog. And, if your company is a GSuite customer, you can enable your users to view dynamic content on all GSuite editions via your admin console.
While, initially, only web users will be able to view an email with dynamic content, support for mobile is coming. This is key, as by Gmail’s own reporting, 75% of Gmail users open their email on a mobile device.
As with all world-changing technologies, email has had to adapt and evolve to survive as long as it has.
Dynamic content is, undoubtedly, the next big leap forward in that evolution. Used effectively, it will help email keep up with customer experience expectations.
Smart marketers are already investigating how to add dynamic content to their bucket of email tricks. You should be too.