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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2017-02-01

As B2B marketers continue to move away from generic, one-to-many communications and toward more targeted and engaging email campaigns, they are seeing interaction rates rise with their prospects. In turn, higher levels of interaction are driving greater awareness and trust, and a more powerful impact on the buying process. These results are also fueling the emergence of interactive emails – a marketing trend that is generating a lot of buzz these days.


A new survey by Litmus places interactive emails at the top of the email trends list in 2017. Email interactivity is simply an action taken in an email that triggers an event within the same email. It brings interactions that might normally take place on the landing page into the email itself, reducing steps (such as website links) to engagement while increasing capabilities to identify those with higher intent based on click activity.


Examples of interactive email elements include:


  • Scratch and flip – Enables interaction by flipping a graphic to reveal a different one “on the back” when the reader places their cursor over the graphic, or “scratching” it with the cursor to reveal a hidden code or message.
  • Menus – Pull-down navigation menus similar to a website, which allow users to “surf” various product or service types within the email message – without navigating to a web page.
  • Sliders – Allows users to “swipe” their email message to see different content, photos or see various products. This is especially effective on mobile devices, as it’s similar to other apps (e.g. Facebook and Instagram) that allow users to swipe pictures.
  • Accordions – Can be used to stack message content and enable the reader to expand it to read more (or contract to see less) instead of scrolling down. This is particularly effective, as readers today prefer to scan for their content of interest, as opposed to reading long blocks of text.
  • Forms – You can collect data from email readers within the message, instead of directing them to a landing page.
  • Counters – An active “count down” time clock that might show the time left until a sale or promotion ends, creating a sense of urgency.
  • Animated GIFs – A picture or graphic that moves or animates when the reader hovers over it with their cursor. Email Institute says animated GIFs can increase click-through rates up to 26%, and conversions by over 100%.
  • Video – I’ve written about the importance of video for email campaigns. And while videos are now supported by about half of all email clients, ROI can jump up 280% above traditional emails.


The HTML technology behind these interactive elements can be complicated for email beginners, so marketers may need to have deep tech skills or use a third party to employ these features. In addition, interactivity isn’t supported by all email clients, although roughly two-thirds of the average email sender’s subscribers should be able to see them. As a result, fallbacks will have to be in place – such as an informative still image in case the user is not able to flip, scratch or animate the graphic.


In addition, tracking email success will change with interactive emails, as the action may take place within the email instead of a standard call-to-action (CTA), such as a click to a landing page. For this reason, click rates may be less important with in-email engagement, which can be measured through opens that have interactions triggered for counting, tracking and reporting. Such activity will be different than standard email campaign reporting, which may be a challenge for some marketers to grasp.


But in an age where uninteresting, one-way communication is too often ignored, interactive emails are emerging as a better way to improve communication experiences, engage with audiences and initiate action, interest and connections. Those are powerful weapons for a marketer, and worth a second look for any business that wants to ratchet up results in the New Year.



Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.


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