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The typical email marketing campaign includes a lot of information. From subject lines to unsubscribe links, hero images to headlines, copy and calls-to-action, it’s a lot for a subscriber to take in. With so much data floating around a campaign, why would email marketers send even more?

One reason is that a specific type of data—structured data—provides new opportunities to get valuable information in front of subscribers. And, as more inbox providers move to support structured data, it’s one way that email marketers can drive higher engagement in their campaigns.

But what is structured data and how is it different from the content in a normal email campaign? More importantly, how can structured data help improve results for email marketers? Let’s dive in and find out the answer to both of those questions.

What is structured data?

You could say that all the content in an email marketing campaign is data. You’d be right. But, while that content is structured by the HTML code behind it to help your subscribers understand the information, the typical content in an email is different from what is referred to as “structured data.”

Structured data is information that helps machines—like search engines or email clients—to better understand the content of your emails so they can provide richer results for their users.

The best way to understand structured data is by looking at a few examples.

A while back, Gmail announced the concept of “annotations” in the Promo Tab. Annotations are the perfect example of structured data at work. By using additional code in campaigns that doesn’t affect the display of the email—like JSON or Microdata—email marketers can provide Gmail with additional information that is displayed in the Promo Tab.

In this case, it’s information about deals for subscribers and includes data like:

  • A logo image URL
  • Discount offer description
  • Discount offer code
  • A discount time period
  • A URL for a promotional image

Some of that data can be pulled from the typical email campaign, but by declaring it as structured data in either JSON or Microdata code, you can provide more valuable content for Gmail, and your subscribers, to use right in the inbox.


Flight details in Gmail using structured data.

 

Another example of structured data in the inbox is the context box you see above emails like flight and event confirmations. These boxes are largely populated by structured data using formats dictated by Schema.org, an open source project that aims to make structured data easier to use.

In both examples, the goal is to provide additional context for subscribers so that they can more readily get what they need out of an email campaign.

The Advantages of Using Structured Data

While we all hope that subscribers eagerly open every email we send and spend minutes, if not hours, pouring over every detail of the campaign, the reality is a bit bleaker. According to our research, the average subscriber spends about 11 seconds reading an email campaign. That means you have very little time to make an impact and display valuable information to subscribers.

Structured data is a great way to take the most important pieces of information in a campaign and get them in front of subscribers. Then, if they need to, subscribers can dig in deeper in the actual email campaign. In the case of Gmail’s updated Promo Tab, structured data lets you get the details of your promotions out there without even needing a subscriber to open a campaign. Think of structured data as a shortcut to help subscribers take action, faster—and without having to open your emails.

Not all structured data is purely informational, though. Gmail’s Promo Tab allows you to declare a logo URL which, while nice to have, isn’t really a necessity for most subscribers. However, logos are beneficial in other ways. By providing your logo as structured data using Gmail’s annotations—or using something like BIMI—you help build trust with your subscribers. They can trust that your message is legitimate and not another phishing scam. Plus, having your logo in front of subscribers builds familiarity with your brand.

Although you should try to do both with the regular content in your emails, structured data provides a fantastic method for building trust in your brand while providing your subscribers with value quicker than ever before.

Get Started with Structured Data

Not all inbox providers take advantage of structured data but the ones that do have well-documented methods for putting it to work in your own campaigns.

The team at Google put together excellent documentation for using Gmail’s Promotions tab annotations, including examples of how to code structured data and tips on how to troubleshoot problems. We also hosted a webinar with Jordan Grossman from Google on what structured data in the Promo Tab means for email marketers.


Our Gmail Promotions Builder can get you started with structured data.

 

If you’re not comfortable with code, we worked with the Gmail team to create a simple-to-use Gmail Promotions Builder. It allows you to quickly put in your information, preview your annotations in Gmail’s inbox, and download or copy and paste the generated annotations code. You can paste in your email’s HTML and we’ll merge the annotation code for you.

Annotate Your Emails Today →

If you want to add in event or tracking details into your campaigns, the best way is to start reading up on Schema.org’s documentation. It’s a lot to chew on, but once you start experimenting and understanding the underlying concepts of structured data, you’ll be able to put it to good use in your emails.

The Google team also put together an excellent overview of taking advantage of Schema.org in Gmail. Their Email Markup Guide goes over the concepts you need to know to start adding “actions” and “highlights” to your campaigns in the inbox.

Enhance Your Emails in Gmail

While other inbox providers are working on ways to leverage structured data, we still think Gmail’s updated Promo Tab is a killer example of what can be done with the concept. As more users update to the latest version of the Gmail app, more subscribers will be able to take advantage of the additional context that structured data provides. Start experimenting with Gmail annotations using our Gmail Promotions Builder today and prep your emails for an important part of the future of email marketing.

Try the Gmail Promo Tab Builder →










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It’s authorities: Litmus Live 2019 is involving London, Boston, as well as San Francisco.

We satisfaction ourselves on producing a community-driven meeting. All 3 occasions are gone to by several of one of the most enthusiastic e-mail nerds worldwide. Probably much more notably, the audio speakers in all 3 cities are drawn from the neighborhood, also. The people you see on phase coincide individuals that invest their functioning lives in the e-mail weeds. They are the ones analyzing projects, planning, composing, creating, establishing, as well as examining e-mails everyday of the week. We’re searching for individuals like you!

Want to share your enthusiasm for e-mail on the Litmus Live phase? Submit your proposal for speaking at Litmus Live 2019 today.

Who should send?

Throwing your hat right into the ring to talk at a seminar can be tough. However– as we’ve spoken with our previous audio speakers– it’s additionally exceptionally gratifying.

In 2015, I went to Litmus Live as an audio speaker as well as reached experience an entire brand-new side of the occasion. As a new (a little worried!) audio speaker, I was surprised by the assistance as well as support of both the team as well as the guests. I had the ability to get in touch with individuals on a much deeper degree as well as absolutely appreciated sharing my understanding with the neighborhood. On the whole, the experience was motivating, academic, as well as encouraging.

— Melanie Kinney, previous audio speaker.

The important things we search for in audio speakers are interest as well as an interest for assisting clients We desire individuals that absolutely respect boosting e-mail up on phase: individuals that take satisfaction in their e-mail programs, aren’t terrified of taking on intriguing as well as tough issues, as well as have actually found out something along their e-mail trip they really feel every person needs to understand.

Beyond that, we uncommitted what your title is, which market you operate in, or whether you have previous talking experience. We’re right here to assist you to create the ideal talk. If you’re a new audio speaker, we’ll offer you all the assistance you require to really feel comfy taking the phase. So your interest for e-mail as well as your subject are vital.

If any one of the above seem like you, we wish to see your proposition quickly. Not exactly sure where to begin when placing your session proposition with each other? Have a look at our post on crafting the perfect proposal for pointers on obtaining our focus as well as giving worth for guests.

Topics we would certainly enjoy to see

Litmus Live runs the range of e-mail subjects. Although we have seasonal faves like receptive layout, interactivity, as well as determining projects, we focus on patterns as well as intriguing obstacles as well as possibilities in the market as well as integrate those right into the schedule. While we still enjoy (as well as expect) seeing several of those favored subjects in the entries, right here are several of the subjects we believe guests wish to find out about in 2019.

Building the structure for high-performing e-mail programs. What’s the most effective means to line up individuals, devices, as well as procedures? Particularly as e-mail comes to be much more incorporated with various other networks, we would certainly enjoy to see people speaking about:

  • Email’s duty in omnichannel advertising
  • Optimizing the e-mail manufacturing operations
  • Team structure as well as partnership
  • Educating stakeholders as well as customers
  • Getting financial investment in your e-mail program

Accessibility as well as comprehensive layout. We’ve had a couple of talks over the years on making obtainable e-mails, yet we’re actually interested to see just how individuals are producing much more varied as well as comprehensive e-mails. Have any kind of experience with the adhering to?

  • Developing obtainable e-mail themes
  • Designing for in a different way abled customers
  • Building a varied e-mail group
  • Localizing material for various target markets
  • Crafting much more comprehensive e-mails via language as well as images
  • Using e-mail to impact social modification

Sending e-mails at range. High-volume e-mail programs have distinct factors to consider, from creating as well as creating e-mails to group partnership, deliverability, as well as lawful obstacles. We’ve had a variety of ask for sessions on:

  • Using layout systems to range e-mail manufacturing
  • Working throughout big companies to strategy, create, as well as send out projects
  • Tackling the obstacles of being a high-volume sender
  • Navigating the intricacy of e-mail advertising in an international globe

Staying at the leading edge of e-mail technology. Email advertising is continuously advancing. We intend to learn through the brand names that are pressing the e-mail envelope, particularly if you’re explore any one of the following:

  • Using interactivity as well as dynamic improvement in e-mail
  • Emerging innovations like voice aides
  • Machine understanding as well as AI to assist strategy as well as create projects
  • Using organized information to boost advocate clients

This isn’t an extensive listing of subjects, so do not seem like you need to send a talk on any one of the above. We enjoy being amazed by propositions on subjects we have not also thought of. Simply think of the obstacles you’ve encountered as well as dominated– opportunities are that somebody else is battling with a comparable trouble.

How to send

Before sending your suggestion, we motivate you to reviewour post on crafting the perfect proposal As soon as you really feel comfy, head over to the submission form as well as begin loading it out. Remember that the type does not conserve your development, so if you browse far from the web page as well as return, you’ll need to begin again. A great deal of previous audio speakers have actually discussed that it’s useful to evaluate the type, prep your solutions beyond it, and afterwards replicate those over when you’re all set.

We’ll maintain the telephone call for propositions open for a month (till March 25 th). We generally overcome 200 propositions, which can take a couple of weeks to examine. Although it might take a while to find out about your entry, we will certainly allow you find out about your standing in any case. As well as do not be stressed if you see audio speaker news prior to listening to back from us– we service a moving basis of verifying audio speakers.

We’re anticipating evaluating your entries as well as planning an additional fantastic year of e-mail understanding at Litmus Live!

Submit your proposal →



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Google Assistant was launched 2 years earlier. Microsoft Cortana as well as Amazon Alexa both appeared in2014 And also Apple’s world-famous Siri was presented to the globe in 2011 (unless you count the initial third-party application it was based upon from 2010).

The globe of voice aides has actually been with us right component of a years. With it is a globe of punditry, objection, as well as prognostications regarding what voice aides indicate for marketing experts generally as well as the e-mail sector specifically. Back in December, Kevin Mandeville wrote about how Alexa reads emails (with lots of instances to pay attention to). Much more just recently, Jenna Tiffany wrote about verbalizing emails on the Only Influencers blog, a blog post that’s stimulated a great deal of conversation in the sector.

Most in the sector appear favorable on the potential customers of voice aides as well as e-mail. They’re thrilled regarding this young modern technology as well as the opportunities it might in theory manage. Others point out personal privacy worries as well as use problems as drawbacks to accommodating voice aides in e-mail advertising. Every one of these varying point of views have actually left us asking the concern:

What do voice aides indicate for e-mail marketing experts?

Current Capabilities are Limited

The initial point to take into consideration is what voice aides are presently efficient in. As Kevin made noticeable in his exceptional article, Amazon Alexa just has primary e-mail abilities. Alexa can do among 5 points with your e-mail:

  1. Read it
  2. Reply to it
  3. Delete it
  4. Archive it
  5. Switch to the following message

This might be valuable for e-mail marketing experts as it does place messages before or else active customers. For a person that’s taken part in some task around your home, they can swiftly look into their e-mail messages, pay attention to particular ones, as well as respond when required. Apple’s Siri has had comparable performance given that2007 It’s an intriguing brand-new standard for engaging with e-mail, however it leaves a whole lot to be preferred.

For something, customers can not finish extra intricate procedures like subscribe or unsubscribe to e-mails, determine spam messages, or make the most of interactivity in e-mail projects. For marketing experts, the larger problem is that there’s no actual method for customers to transform through voice aides. Given that voice aides do not have an internet internet browser integrated in, the course to conversion is stunted– leaving e-mail marketing experts with little factor to satisfy the voice aided experience.

What’s even more, tracking projects through voice aides is (as for we understand) presently difficult. Email analytics depend upon individuals downloading and install a monitoring pixel from a web server. Given that voice aides are not, necessarily, an aesthetic tool, that pixel is never ever downloaded and install as well as marketing experts are left at night regarding the number of customers are utilizing gadgets like Alexa to pay attention to e-mails.

What we can check out is general voice aide fostering. According to Pew, nearly half of American adults have used voice assistants, with most of use taking place on mobile phones. 55% of those individuals likewise stated they utilize voice aides to liberate their hands. The exact same study revealed that of those that do not utilize voice aides, 61% state they just aren’t thinking about the modern technology. That might be an unpleasant stat if it confirms out to a broader target market.

A new article from Recode paints an extra positive picture. According to one mentioned research study, 90.1 million United States grownups gain access to voice aides on mobile phones on a monthly basis. 77.1 million usage voice aides in their vehicles as well as 45.7 million rely upon clever audio speakers like the Amazon Echo on a month-to-month basis. That’s a possibly significant swimming pool of individuals that might begin utilizing voice aides for e-mail as the modern technology proceeds.

There’s no question that voice aide use gets on the increase as well as will be a significantly integral part of the modern technology landscape progressing, however what’s one of the most likely usage instance for voice aides as well as email?

Voice Assistants for Triage

In discussions at Litmus, we’ve usually concurred that voice aides will likely be utilized for e-mail triage, arranging e-mails for testimonial at a later time as well as on a various tool. I compare voice aides to the modern responding to maker. Check out almost any type of tv program from the eighties or nineties as well as you’ll likely discover a scene where a person pays attention to their messages as well as mashes the “following” switch via robocalls as well as messages regarding upcoming consultations up until they discover what’s essential, whether it’s a message from household, close friends, or their existing love rate of interest.

With the existing restricted attribute collection, we anticipate voice aides to offer practically the exact same experience for the inbox. Use will mostly contain customers arranging their messages, removing the cruft, as well as adhering to up with the essential ones once their hands are cost-free or they’re in front of an extra qualified tool.

Still, there will certainly be some individuals that will rely upon voice aides to take in the whole of their inbox.

The Need for Accessibility

Disabled individuals are a substantial populace that require additional factor to consider when it pertains to email. According to the United States Census Bureau,nearly 1 in 5 people in the US have a disability For those with aesthetic as well as movement problems, voice aides offer a much-needed method to gain access to info or else not available to them. They are individuals that will rely upon devices like Siri (as well as Apple’s VoiceOver), Alexa, Cortana, as well as Google Assistant to not just triage however check out as well as respond to e-mails.

This is where e-mail marketing experts must be concentrated. As voice aides check out the HTML (as well as in many cases the plain-text) variation of a project, we require to ensure that voice aides can review our e-mails with as little complication as feasible. This is where e-mail access enters play. As Jaina wrote back in 2017:

Email access indicates making certain that everybody can obtain as well as recognize your message, no matter any type of impairments or assistive gadgets they might be utilizing.

That expands past assistive modern technologies like display viewers software application as well as right into the globe of voice aides. Making use of some basic strategies, e-mail marketing experts can produce extra easily accessible e-mail projects that function much better for everybody. Particularly, we must all aim to:

  • Use semantic HTML markup
  • Create a solid material pecking order with one of the most essential info in advance of any type of social web links, please notes, as well as various other diversions
  • Write even more understandable duplicate that most of individuals can conveniently understand

Perhaps most significantly, e-mail marketing experts require to relocate past simply image-based e-mails as well as accept text-driven projects rather. As Kevin made noticeable, Alexa deals with recognizing accessibility-related markup like features, functions, as well as the critical ALT quality. If you’re utilizing simply pictures for e-mails– despite having consisted of ALT message– after that voice aide individuals will not have the ability to take in or recognize your message. Together with e-mail customers that disable pictures by default, display visitors as well as voice aides must be all you require to press back on image-based e-mails. In words of e-mail specialist Elliot Ross:

It’s yet an additional reason that all-image e-mails draw. So do not do them.

Should we fret?

Let’s return to the initial concern postured in the title: Are voice aides the future of e-mail advertising? In my viewpoint, no. Yet will they become part of the future of e-mail advertising? Yeah, obviously. Hell, they currently are somewhat however they’ll stay a really little component for the direct future.

There are far more important things to focus on in email over buzzword subjects like voice aides.

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How around making your e-mails easily accessible for impaired individuals? Or utilizing varied material to produce even more comprehensive experiences for everybody? Exactly how around concentrating on the principles like correct division or supplying the ideal message at the correct time?

As e-mail marketing experts, our work is to offer one of the most worth we potentially can to our customers. We require to concentrate on that most importantly else, as opposed to going after the most up to date modern technology that does not have prevalent use. If that use does end up being prevalent, however, we require to represent it in our approach. That’s simply exactly how the video game of e-mail (as well as advertising as well as modern technology) functions.

So, quit reviewing all these write-ups on voice aides as well as return to the essential job you require to do today. Check out your material schedule. Check out your customer listings. Check out what you can place on that initial one to enhance the 2nd. We’ll be right here to allow you recognize when you must begin to stress over Alexa as well as her mangy team of close friends.

What do you believe?

What do you believe voice aides indicate for e-mail marketing experts? Sign up with the conversation over on the Litmus Community.

Tell us what you think →