Hot Digital Marketing Redesign Trends: Changes Brands Are Making Now

June 27, 2023 | 7 minute read
Lauren Gannon
Vice President of Agency Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
Scott Multer
Executive Creative Director, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
Nick Cantu
Creative Director for Creative Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
Kelly Moran
Senior Art Director for Copy, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
Sarah Gallardo
Lead Email Developer for Creative Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
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At Oracle Digital Experience Agency, we’re constantly involved in major redesigns of our clients’ digital marketing campaigns. From year to year, the themes and trends driving redesigns change. Here are the biggest factors propelling brands to undergo redesigns right now:

1. More Content Driven by Machine Learning & AI

While generative AI for text, images, and code is all the buzz, it’s years away from being used to automatically generate promotional email content without human review, which has been a huge element of many redesigns lately. As part of reimagining and updating the visual experience for customers, brands are eager to implement more predictive and intelligent content that’s aligned with subscriber behavior and preferences. The most popular implementation has been of machine learning engines to drive product and content recommendations.

The motivation here is two-fold. First, brands want to craft more personalized experiences in their digital marketing campaigns. They know that greater use of personalization not only increases engagement and bottom-of-the-funnel performance, but also lowers opt-outs, which in turn increases list growth.

And second, they want to save production time. If a brand can add a high-performing module that’s driven by machine learning or AI, then that’s one less module that has to be created by their copywriters and designers.

Explore Advanced Intelligence capabilities for Oracle Responsys.

2. More Live Content

Despite the pre-fetching caused by Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection undermining the value of live content in email, brands can still see substantial benefits from content that’s populated at the time of open rather than the time of send. That’s in part because for most brands, content is locked in many days before a send.

So, even if MPP’s pre-fetching populates an email’s content a full day before a subscriber opens the email, that content is still days fresher than it would otherwise be. Moreover, research from Movable Ink shows that “for the vast majority of Apple Mail users, ‘recent-time’ is far closer to ‘real-time’ than expected.” 

For our clients, we still see live content being a priority for many redesigns. In particular, brands are currently interested in including real-time customer ratings, price drops, and inventory levels in their messages.

Explore 10 use cases for live content in emails.

3. Adapting to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection

For email redesigns specifically, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is still having a major impact on experience and design considerations. Already, brands have adapted their email designs to the fact that…

  • MPP generalizes subscriber locations based on their IP address by bouncing their location through relays. This means that local store maps are no longer accurate, which has led to brands removing them.
  • MPP breaks open-triggered email series, so those have to be redesigned and re-architected to be driven by other behaviors.

Currently, brands are focused on mitigating the biggest impact that MPP has on their programs: the obscuring of email opens. While B2B marketers aren’t heavily impacted, most B2C brands are. In many cases, MPP is obscuring the majority of B2C brands’ opens. Since engagement is a key factor in email deliverability, many marketers have been scrambling to redefine how they select active mailable audiences and to gain additional signals, so they can maintain their list growth and avoid inbox placement problems.

In addition to trying to find ways to safely use auto-generated opens, brands are looking to design and content changes to drive more clicks. That’s playing into redesigns. For example, brands are:

  • Better optimizing their above-the-fold email real estate to encourage clicks
  • Adding non-promotional content modules—such as polls, educational and informational content, and social content—to gain additional clicks
  • Using more click-to-reveal promotional campaigns

For our most comprehensive advice, get our Definitive Guide to Adapting to Mail Privacy Protection via a free, no-form download.

4. Becoming More Inclusive

Many brands are waking up to the fact that their digital marketing campaigns and landing pages aren’t very accessible to people with disabilities. That’s a huge lost opportunity, because people with disabilities make up to 27% of the population, according to the CDC.

Brands are also realizing that many of the adjustments that they make for people with disabilities also support all their other campaign recipients—a phenomenon known as the curb cut effect. Everyone benefits when we make something more accessible. That realization makes accessibility and inclusive design even more of a priority.

When doing digital marketing redesigns, brands are:

  • Moving to live text that is semantically coded, such as using <h1> tags
  • Using alt attributes for images that are filled with appropriate alternative text
  • Updating their color selections for their text, buttons, backgrounds, and other elements to ensure they meet minimum color contrast requirements
  • Reducing or eliminating the use of VML code and interactive elements, which assistive technologies struggle with
  • Adopting more inclusive language and using photography and images that connect with a more diverse audience

More broadly, we’re seeing more brands adopt a more flexible design approach that isn't so focused on pixel perfection. For example, with email campaigns, this shift allows brands to focus on more accessible coding solutions that provide a better experience for a wider range of subscribers, with the trade-off of greater rendering variations across the wide range of email clients

Learn how to create more accessible and inclusive email experiences.

5. Optimizing for Dark Mode

After years of steady adoption by consumers, dark mode usage has become too big for any brand to ignore. For example, in email clients where it’s detectable, about 34% of emails are viewed in dark mode as of August 2022, according to Litmus research.

In redesigns, we see dark mode optimization as a focus for two different groups. The first is those brands that reacted to dark mode by implementing tactics to prevent it from changing the look of their emails. Now, these brands understand that consumers choose dark mode because it gives them a better experience, so they’re looking to create experiences that respect user preferences—while also preventing any surprises with their brand colors and image treatments.

And the second group is those brands that have been slow to embrace dark mode optimization at all. We see this especially at brands that have designers and developers that work across many channels, rather than having deep expertise in one, like email. If this is you, we encourage you to preview your campaigns in dark mode to see what the customers experience is like, and determine what optimization opportunities exist.

8 ways to optimize your email campaigns for dark mode.

Plus, All the Small Things

Those are the big redesign trends that we’re seeing now. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about an often overlooked element that we think should be a major part of every redesign. It’s all of the small, nuts-and-bolts elements of your design that usually don’t change from campaign to campaign.

These elements include your:

  • Navigation bar. Have you added a new section to your website that should be represented in your nav bar? Has anything gone away? Be sure to reevaluate both your desktop and mobile experiences. For example, the mobile version of many brands’ emails have a nav bar near both the top and the bottom.
  • Social media bar. Is your brand now on additional social networks that it wasn’t before, such as TikTok, Mastodon, or Bluesky? Is your brand stepping away from any social networks, such as X?
  • Recovery module. These link-dense modules appear at the bottom of some of your digital marketing campaigns and highlight popular content, with the goal of attracting a click when the content preceding it hasn’t. Do you have new product or service categories to highlight? Do you have new criteria or algorithms for selecting the content to feature here? 
  • Footer. While the disclosures and exceptions elements of campaign footers can change from campaign to campaign, there’s usually a portion of your footer that is static. Is any of that content in need of updating?
  • Loyalty/reward status module. Most of our travel and finance clients, and some of our other B2C clients, have a module in their digital marketing campaigns that highlights a member’s loyalty or reward status. Are there new elements of your program that need to be reflected in this status module? What do you show to non-members?
  • Sender identification. In addition to differentiating their sender names for their different campaign streams, brands are adopting Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) for their email campaigns. How can you strengthen your brand impression and make your campaigns more instantly recognizable as coming from you?

Keep in mind that you may have multiple versions of some of those elements, varying them according to the selling season or the message type.

Strengthen the visual branding of your email campaigns by optimizing these 7 elements. 

Making It Happen

Of course, deciding the scope and priorities of a redesign is only half the work—if that. The rest is actually doing the redesign. You’ll want the right people involved, to dedicate a reasonable amount of time, and to have a rigorous process. Based on well over a decade of doing digital marketing redesign for our clients, here’s detailed advice on how to manage a successful redesign process

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Need help redesigning your digital marketing campaigns? 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 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.

Lauren Gannon

Vice President of Agency Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

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

Scott Multer

Executive Creative Director, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Scott Multer is Executive Creative Director, Oracle Digital Experience Agency.

Nick Cantu

Creative Director for Creative Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Nick Cantu is the Creative Director for Creative Services at Oracle Digital Experience Agency. He has over 14 years of creative consulting experience, with the past 9 years dedicated to data-driven email marketing. His approach focuses on the end-user, building relevant and engaging messages that drive results.

Kelly Moran

Senior Art Director for Copy, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Kelly Moran is Senior Art Director for Copy at Oracle Digital Experience Agency. She is a writer by day and by night with a background in linguistics. Her understanding of copywriting across channels has been shaped by her experience in customer success, content management, and supporting boutique brands in retail and e-commerce. 

Sarah Gallardo

Lead Email Developer for Creative Services, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Sarah Gallardo is a Lead Email Developer for Creative Services at Oracle Digital Experience Agency and an email accessibility specialist. With a career spanning over 12 years, she boasts extensive experience in a wide variety of email development solutions. Her advocacy for accessible emails spans more than six years, demonstrating her commitment to inclusivity in digital communication.


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