The turbulence of the past few years has heavily influenced recent email marketing priorities and is shaping the trends that will dominate 2023. We can see those shifts in the results of our fourth-annual Email Marketing Trends Survey, where we surveyed Oracle Digital Experience Agency’s hundreds of marketing and communications experts about the adoption and impact of 26 email marketing tactics and technologies, and then organized them into adoption-impact quadrants.
For a detailed look at all 26 trends and how they rated, check out our posts on:
However, in this post, let’s go beyond the quadrant placements and look at the highest impact trends overall, the biggest increases and decreases in adoption and impact, 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, this year it is only five:
Those last three trends—personalization, segmentation, and automation—have made our highest impact trends list in all four years of our survey. And rightfully so. Those three trends are the three legs of the stool when creating a relevant email marketing program.
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The Biggest Increase in Adoption
Account-based marketing (ABM) jumped 17% in terms of adoption, according to our consultants. ABM has been challenged by the lack of in-person events and the rise of remote work during the pandemic. However, with pandemic-related restrictions easing, the conference circuit revving back up, and more employees returning to offices (at least for part of the week), usage of ABM is rebounding.
The Biggest Increase in Impact
After a couple of years of being among the top gainers in terms of adoption, dark mode optimization is now the biggest mover on increased impact. Our consultants see its impact growing 5% this year.
On select Apple Mail email clients, dark mode usage is 34%, according to Litmus. While adoption is starting to plateau, usage is well beyond a critical mass that’s worthy of attention. And optimizing for dark mode is no small feat, thanks to inconsistent implementations by the major inbox providers. Some fully invert colors, while others only partially invert colors, making it tricky for senders to design emails that consistently render well.
The Biggest Decrease in Adoption
Perpetually stuck in our Unproven Opportunities quadrant, AMP for email suffered the biggest decrease in perceived adoption, tumbling 15%. While marketers shouldn’t write off AMP for email, especially given its success in India and other markets, the standard faces many headwinds.
In the US, the biggest roadblock is poor support across inboxes. In essence, Apple would need to support AMP for email, and given its focus on privacy, that seems highly unlikely. AMP for email could gain traction without Apple’s support, but it would require many other things to happen over what would likely be several years, at best.
The Biggest Decrease in Impact
Falling 16%, universal control groups (UCGs) suffered the biggest fall in terms of anticipated impact. While UCGs are fantastic at giving brands visibility into the incremental lift provided by their email marketing programs, they can be tricky to manage and require promotional messages to be withheld from a small, but significant group of subscribers. That means lost email revenue, and during a time of increased financial pressures, some brands just aren’t willing to sacrifice the cashflow for better insights.
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 consultants think the biggest opportunity is with AI-powered content and product recommendations, which they see having an impact that’s 47% higher than its level of adoption.
For brands with lots of products like retailers or lots of content like media companies, AI-powered recommendations are the only way to truly personalize email content at scale. While the setup time and cost isn’t insignificant, the payoff makes the effort extremely worthwhile.
We discuss all of those trends and much more in this 45-minute on-demand webinar with Oracle Digital Experience Agency experts Jennifer Lancaster Dana, Patrick Colalillo, Chris Wilson, and me. It concludes with a lengthy conversation about how Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection, the sunsetting of third-party cookies, and other industry trends are driving email marketing trends. Watch it now to gain a clear understanding of the major shifts in email marketing priorities right now so you can effectively plan your own email investments and strategies for 2023.
For a full look at all 26 email marketing trends to watch for in 2023, 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:
Need help exploring these marketing trends? Oracle Digital Experience Agency has hundreds of marketing and communication experts ready to help 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.
Want to better understand your email marketing risks and opportunities, take advantage of our free Email Marketing 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.
Jennifer Lancaster Dana helps clients transform their customer experience by enabling and optimizing their marketing technologies, including CDPs, loyalty, omnichannel delivery, personalization, and analytics. She and her team have collaborated with AT&T, Macy’s, Hewlett Packard, Sephora, Marriott, REI, US Bank, Intuit, and many other clients to build and implement roadmaps that span across technology enablement, CX strategy, and organizational transformation. Jennifer’s consulting philosophy of living by your clients’ objectives has helped Oracle Digital Experience Agency achieve a 96%+ client satisfaction rating.Jennifer lives in Colorado with her family; and outside of work enjoys skiing, hiking, and traveling.
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.