The Biggest Shifts in Email Marketing Trends for 2024 [with on-demand webinar]

March 4, 2024 | 5 minute read
Lauren Kimball
Vice President, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
Lauren Gannon
Vice President of Agency Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
Chris Wilson
Strategic Director of Analytic & Strategic Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
Chad S. White
Head of Research, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
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Email marketing is constantly evolving, so it can be difficult to know where to invest your time and energy from year to year. Just a few of the recent changes and challenges that email marketers have had to deal with include:

These have influenced email marketing priorities and are shaping the trends that will dominate 2024. We can see those shifts in the results of our fifth-annual Email Marketing Trends Survey, where we asked some of Oracle Digital Experience Agency’s hundreds of digital marketing experts to rate the current adoption of a range of email marketing technologies and tactics, as well as predict the impact each of them will have in 2024. We then mapped the results into adoption-impact quadrants.

For a detailed look at all 26 trends and how they rated, check out our posts on:

We organize email marketing trends into four adoption-impact quadrants

However, in this post, we’re going beyond the quadrant placements to look at the highest impact trends overall, the trends with the biggest increases and decreases in adoption and impact, the trends with the largest gap between the impact of a trend and its adoption, and more.

The Highest Impact Trends Overall

The most impactful trends are in our Competitive Differentiator and Proven Essentials quadrants. But to focus on the highest impact trends, we’ll only highlight the trends in the upper half of those two quadrants.

Unlike in 2022 when nine trends cleared that bar and last year when there were five, this year it is only four:

  • Omnichannel orchestration
  • Email personalization
  • Email segmentation
  • Automation or triggered emails

Those last three trends—personalization, segmentation, and automation—have made our highest impact trends list in all five years of our survey. And rightfully so. Those three trends are the three legs of the stool when creating a relevant email marketing program.

The Biggest Increase in Adoption

Adoption of send time optimization (STO) jumped 19%, according to our digital marketing experts. STO uses historical open and click times for individual subscribers to determine the best time to email them. The impact of STO has declined in recent years, in large part due to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection obscuring opens for many subscribers. However, the send times determined by STO are still far more effective than picking a one-size-fits-all send time. Plus, implementing STO is very easy.

Approaches for sending email campaigns at the right time.

The Biggest Increase in Impact

Our experts see machine learning-powered subject line and copywriting tools as being 16% more impactful this year than last. These ML tools correlate historical email performance to the words and phrases you’ve used in those campaigns. By doing that, they can then recommend alternative subject lines and headlines, for instance, that will boost response.

Using AI subject line and copywriting tools successfully.

The Biggest Decrease in Adoption

Modular email architecture (MEA) was seen by our experts as suffering the biggest decline in adoption, falling 6%. Instead of relying on individual templates for every email you send, MEA enables you to build a library of modules and then stack them up mix-and-match style to create your campaigns.

With our clients, we see MEA reduce build times by up to 25%. MEA also makes it easier to personalize your email content, implement dark mode optimization and accessibility improvements, do A/B testing, and maintain your build system in general. Despite its perceived dip in adoption, it’s still solidly in our Proven Essentials quadrant.

How modular email architectures make campaign building more efficient.

The Biggest Decrease in Impact

Modular email architecture was also our biggest declining trend in terms of anticipated impact, falling 7% compared to last year. Despite its dip, we still see MEA as being foundational for dark mode optimization, inclusive design and email accessibility, personalization, and other design-related trends.

Largest Gap between Adoption and Impact

Big disconnects between current adoption and the anticipated impact of a trend can signal a big opportunity for brands. This year, our experts think the biggest opportunity is with using generative AI for personalizing individual emails. They see the impact of this trend being 250% higher than its current adoption, which is indeed low.

While our experts are excited by the opportunity this technology presents to help brands achieve the 1:1 messaging paradigm, they also acknowledge the many challenges genAI for individual-level personalization faces, including:

  • Insufficient customer data at many brands to power these models
  • Inadequate data security around existing public genAI services
  • Uncertainty around legal liabilities around genAI services
  • Underdeveloped brand protections
  • Poor to non-existent content and performance tracking in genAI models, which makes it challenging or even impossible to know what’s performing well so that can inform future decisioning
  • Questions around cost-effectiveness at scale, given that most email campaigns generate returns measured in pennies per email

Explore the concerns and opportunities we see around GenAI for creating text, images, and code.

We discuss all of those trends and much more in this 56-minute on-demand webinar. Watch it now to gain a clearer understanding of the major shifts in email marketing priorities so you can effectively plan your own email investments and strategies for 2024.

For a full look at all 26 email marketing trends to watch for in 2024, also check out our posts that examine: 

Also, for a better understanding of how all of these email marketing trends are evolving, check out our email marketing trends posts from last year:

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Need help with your email marketing program? Oracle Digital Experience Agency has hundreds of marketing and communication experts ready to help Responsys, Eloqua, Unity, and other Oracle customers create stronger connections with their customers and employees—even if they’re not using an Oracle platform as the foundation of that experience. Our award-winning specialists can handle everything from creative and strategy to content planning and project management. For example, our full-service email marketing clients generate 24% higher open rates, 30% higher click rates, and 9% lower unsubscribe rates than Oracle Responsys customers who aren’t.

For help overcoming your challenges or seizing your opportunities, talk to your Oracle account manager, visit us online, or email us at OracleAgency_US@Oracle.com.

Want to better understand your email marketing risks and opportunities, take advantage of our free Email Program Assessment. Our experts will check your deliverability, review your email creative, audit your signup process, do a partial competitive analysis, and more. If interested in this free assessment, reach out to us at OracleAgency_US@Oracle.com.

Lauren Kimball

Vice President, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Lauren Kimball joined Oracle Digital Experience Agency in 2018 as the VP responsible for large client engagements in the eastern half of the US. She works with clients to achieve business growth outcomes, discover new opportunities, and maximize their software investments.  

Prior to Oracle, Lauren worked on the client side for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and National Geographic, where she led sales and digital marketing efforts. She made the leap into the agency world in 2008 when she joined Epsilon, where she was able to focus on clients across industries from retail to financial services.  

Lauren received her BA from the University of Vermont. She is a frequent industry contributor and thought leader passionate about client success. She and her husband raise their two children in Pittsburgh.

Lauren Gannon

Vice President of Agency Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Lauren Gannon is Vice President of Agency Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency.

Chris Wilson

Strategic Director of Analytic & Strategic Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Chad S. White

Head of Research, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Chad S. White is the Head of Research at Oracle Digital Experience Agency and the author of four editions of Email Marketing Rules and nearly 4,000 posts about digital and email marketing. A former journalist, he’s been featured in more than 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Advertising Age. Chad was named the ANA's 2018 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year. Follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon.


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