All About Email - The Last Word in Email Publishing

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Don't open sesame

We hear more and more about crowded inboxes, competition for attention, and how email recipients have so little time to read what we send them.
I am no different; I too receive a very high volume of email, and today I caught myself doing something that I suspect may be very common behaviour.

I cleared my weekend inbox. In amongst the mass of messages were some newsletters that I read avidly. Today I read them avidly, but I did so in the preview pane. I thought about this and tried to remember the last time I actually opened an email. Some time ago, was my initial response. I racked my brains and reached the conclusion that it was in fact some considerable time ago, like a year or two.

If I am right, and if more and more people are behaving in this way, what does it mean for email publishers?

Well, quite a lot. Opening rate metrics become irrelevant. Brevity, preview pane impact, and low image levels become vital. Use of preview pane real estate become even more important.

I know the golden rule of email analysis is never assume your behaviour is typical, but I am willing to bet that just this once this is a growing trend; one that probably will not, and cannot be reversed.

Next up, based on this assumption, I am going to reflect further on the design of an email in a world where readers only ever use the preview pane.

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