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Email's best of 2021

It’s the end of the year and it’s time to look back at all we have accomplished, both online and offline. Let’s take a look at 2021’s biggest advances in email:



It’s the end of the year and it’s time to look back at all we have accomplished, both online and offline. 2021 has certainly been a year of growth, after the unprecedented changes 2020 brought. And for many of us, it has also been a year in which we’ve learned how to navigate the new normal and found new ways of turning challenges into opportunities.

In the digital world, 2021 has marked another milestone when it came to spending time online. People worldwide have continued to utilize the internet to hold meetings, create projects, and keep up with their email. Within the world of email, we have seen increased traffic, the effects of Apple’s privacy policy, and interactive email finding it’s feet.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at 2021’s biggest advances in email:

Email is not dead and is here to stay

There’s no denying it – the pandemic changed the way we live, work, and shop. Many companies are now embracing working from home or some sort of hybrid arrangement, resulting in more time spent online. 

And even though life is going back to normal, consumers’ habits have shifted to stay online. Unsurprisingly, our servers saw their highest ever email volume on Black Friday this year and transactional email volume for simple everyday tasks like grocery shopping has significantly increased.  

Privacy policies are impacting email marketing

Apple’s announcement of the new Mail Privacy Policy sent shock waves around the email marketing world. It’s not surprising, though. The internet as a whole is moving toward protecting consumers’ activity, and this impacts how we personalize our emails. However, while analyzing customers’ data within different industries, we realized that many of us overreacted to this change. In the end, Apple’s impact on many of our customer’s revenue was almost zero. 

Listen to Mailgun’s Jonathan Torres and Eric Trinidad dissect the fallout from Apple’s Privacy Policy changes in the new podcast series of Email’s Not Dead: 

No-code/interactive email has been gaining popularity

While interactive email marketing has been around a while, it appears to be growing increasingly popular as technology advances. AMP or interactive emails can bring your emails to life by allowing users to complete tasks within the email itself, ultimately boosting engagement. In fact, one of our early adopters of interactive emails has seen a direct impact on their revenue by using AMP components in their abandoned cart email, with a 40% increase in sales.

Personalization has become more important than ever

Because of this increase in time spent online, personalization among email recipients has become more important than ever. Electronic communication has skyrocketed, which means that emails have to be less frequent and more personalized to stand out in a crowded inbox.

Personalization has been a big topic during 2021, but it’s still challenging for many senders. Christina Schell, Senior Solutions Architect at Iterable, shared some tips on how to use email personalization to increase customer engagement during Email Camp.

Watch Christina Schell, Senior Solutions Architect at Iterable, share insights on how email personalization grows customer engagement and value:

Email list hygiene was checked and checked again

Just like Santa’s list, many brands have discovered that email lists need to be checked at least once every quarter by using email validation tools. As email matured into an essential communications tool, senders have started to take a look at who they were sending to. With email playing an essential part in the 2021 retail landscape, brands are now more aware of how important it is to clean their disengaged user list of incorrect addresses.

As with engagement, senders have finally discovered that less is actually more. Even though their cleaned lists are now shorter than before, senders have been able to focus their campaigning efforts on real, interested consumers instead of wasting time sending to dead-end addresses.

2021’s most innovative and most prepared brands have been those who regularly cleaned their lists and created a strong, core group of email subscribers. By checking their lists in Santa-style and recognizing the value of “less,” they have avoided the pitfalls that could have derailed their marketing strategy.

Pulling the gun on 2021

2021 has brought the second year of radical social change to our connected world. Yet, email still stands as the stable bedrock for marketing communications. This year, we’ve seen increased volume across the board and a community keen to learn how to email more effectively and responsibly. 

Want more? Hear from Jonathan and Eric about what changed in the email landscape in 2021 in episode 2 of Email’s Not Dead Season 3!

TL;DR: 2021 Year in Review - The Email Edition

  • Increase in transactional email volume. 

  • The industry overreacted to Apple’s Mail Privacy Policy.

  • Early adopters have seen a surge in sales of up to 40% with interactive email components.

  • Personalization has become more important than ever.

  • Brands have (finally) discovered email lists need checking once a quarter.

  • Less = higher quality = more. 

We’re sure 2022 will bring further uncertainty, change, and exciting developments into the world of email. And while we will likely see more curveballs like Apple's privacy announcement,  perhaps this time around, we will remember expectations and reality are not always the same. As we start looking towards omnichannel as the next big step in customer communications, the same rules of engagement apply, with some new rules yet unwritten. 

I, for one, have enjoyed every minute of the ride. Happy sending and happy holidays! 


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