Is 2018 finally the year of Kinetic email?

We marketers talk (and then some) about the importance of tailored, personalised communications to speed up the consumer journey through desire, understanding and purchase.

And for good reason. We know today’s customers want a more immersive brand experience if they are to give their time to our communications. In most cases this is not what they are getting from the generic, repetitive ‘spray and pray’ emails that clutter their inboxes.

So is Kinetic email the solution?

At first glance, maybe. Kinetic emails use advanced css3 techniques like animation, interactive carousels and transitions to deliver a kind of web-lite experience within an email. The result is key content delivered in an eye-catching, engaging and creative way.

So we actually do have the potential to use a cost-effective marketing channel (email) to match customer expectations – while also creating real dynamism in their journey to purchase.

But the concept of Kinetic email isn’t new at all. It was being talked about back in 2014. Which begs the question, why still hasn’t it become a mainstay of email comms?

The answer is tech – specifically the different kind of Kinetic techniques available and how well they work on different technology platforms. Let’s take a closer look.

The 3 main types of Kinetic email are:

Kinetic  where transitions and animation deliver content. A typical example would be a carousel, which may or may not be clickable.

Kinetic Interactive  where elements within the email are able to respond to user interaction. Examples of these include carousels containing navigation buttons, collapsible menus and ‘hidden’ content that can be revealed by the user.

Kinetic Effects  where CSS animations and interactivity are used to highlight content. Examples include fades, pulses and effects like falling snow. Users don’t necessarily have to interact with the email to trigger these effects.

Ah, but here’s the problem. In an average target audience, only a maximum of 40% of recipients would currently be able to display kinetic emails on their devices. This is due to non-compatibility issues with different email clients and, almost inevitably, Android/iOS differences.

It gets worse. Because within this 40%, you have 60% of devices able to employ interactive functionality and 40% able to employ the click functionality (largely due to the fact that iphones are better at rendering interactive features).

At WDMP we work on the basis that Google desktop and many Android devices will not properly support Kinetic methods (despite limited functionality in gmail). We’re told there are plans to bring greater functionality to more android devices soon, but sadly still no ETA on this.

Until these issues are resolved, the only realistic solution – if you really want to use Kinetic techniques within an email – is to also create default non-Kinetic versions for what will almost certainly be the majority of your recipients.

As a creative, it’s a frustrating situation, because of course increased functionality offers you greater freedom to do different. To somewhat overstate the case, like Leonardo Da Vinci we live in an era where the technology is not available to make our helicopter dreams a reality.

But, hey, this is tech, so a big breakthrough might just be around the corner, giving flight to our thinking. I certainly hope so.

Gareth Lloyd, Creative Leader WDMP

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