2023 Email Marketing Trends: Predictions from 20 Experts
By Kelsey Johnson December 19, 2022
2022 was a good year for email, what with all the disruptions on social media platforms, the rise of AI-generated content, and ongoing improvements in email technologies like AMP for email.
We’re expecting 2023 email marketing trends to be even more interesting, especially after asking 20 email marketing experts what they think will be the big in 2023.
Here are the email marketing trends and technologies they think will matter most:
- Reduced dependence on social media
- AI assistance in content creation
- BIMI and DMARC for email authentication and brand authority
- Alternative metrics to open rates in a post-Apple MPP world
- AMP for email
- Increased optimization for dark mode
- Design choices to engage the 2023 reader
- Email marketing in an economic downturn
- Optimizing the customer journey
- Technology consolidation
- Bonus: Yahoo’s top-of-inbox email navigation
Creators and businesses will shift from social media towards email
What: Creators have already been moving their audiences to email in 2022 to contend with a fear of temporary social media bans and the drive to build closer connections. But 2023 could very well mark the switch from forward-thinking people to most creators asking their audiences to connect via email — and even an audience understanding of the need to do so.
Why: The end of 2022 marked obvious turmoil with Twitter, but also questions about a U.S. legal ban on TikTok and a decline (or change) in Instagram’s algorithm and popularity. All this is resulting in insecurity from those who depend on social media for their marketing or livelihood.
“Marketers will wake up from their dream of social being their main channel in 2023,” says Mor Mester, Head of Content Marketing at EmailVendorSelection. “They’ll realize that email and SMS marketing together delivers much better results.”
What to do: If you depend on social media marketing, work to convert your social media followers into email subscribers. This can include creating lead magnets and incentivizing your followers to opt in to your email list. Test out ways to connect with your social audience on different channels.
“2023 is the year when creators need to choose a partner who does email as their thing, not as an add-on.”Chris Vasquez, Chief Product Officer at AWeber
And be cognizant of the tools you choose for your email marketing.
“It’s time to stop trusting social media companies with your newsletter,” says AWeber head of product Chris Vasquez. “With Twitter shutting down Revue and Facebook shuttering Bulletin, 2023 is the year when creators need to choose a partner who does email as their thing, not as an add on.”
Mor Mester is the Head of Content Marketing at EmailVendorSelection. He has 5+ years of experience in email marketing and marketing automation.
Chris Vasquez is Chief Product Officer at AWeber.
AI assistance in content creation like writing and images
What: If you’re keeping up on what’s new in online marketing, you have probably heard of ChatGPT. It’s an open-source AI writing tool that you can interact with like it’s a person. AI writing tools like ChatGPT, CopyAI, and Canva’s Magic Write have seen a surge in popularity. That has queued them up to be one of the big email marketing trends for 2023.
“2023 might be a turning point for AI-assisted content creation. Canva’s release of Magic Write, based on OpenAI’s GPT-3, is a strong first step and a clear signal in that direction.”Massimo Arrigoni, CEO at BEE
Why: “The role of an email specialist is becoming a hybrid of marketer, creator, and Master of AI Prompt Craft,” says Jordie van Rijn founder of emailvendorselection.com. “AI tools can compose the perfect email, create summaries, propose subject lines, draft headlines, and create images as well. All while using proven copywriting formulas, the tone-of-voice and word count you tell it to. For organizations, this means that time spent on those tasks and the cost of email marketing can go down. Or the investment can go into other areas, like email marketing strategy and automation.”
“Some will probably experiment with AI-generated personalization on a scale,” says Radek Kaczynski, Founder and CEO at Bouncer. “However, those who will be the most successful will be the ones who use AI as an inspiration added to their knowledge of their recipients and their own intuition.”
What to do: If you want to get involved with AI content, it’s time to practice prompts. According to the experts, the key to effectively using AI in your emails is knowing what to ask the AI in the first place. Start practicing in ChatGPT now and you can become a “Master of AI Prompt Craft” in 2023.
But don’t worry too much about AI taking your job. “As the barrier to creating acceptable content gets lower, people will want higher quality content,” says AWeber’s Chris Vasquez. “There are some things that AI can’t replicate, like analysis you get from proprietary data and experiments. For newsletters to gain and capture interest will require a shift from sharing generic information to specific things you’ve learned, or stories that you can tell that an AI just doesn’t know about.”
Massimo Arrigoni is the CEO at BEE Content Design.
More businesses will implement BIMI and DMARC for email authentication and brand authority
What: Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) is a new set of verification for your emails alongside SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. When you have BIMI enabled, a brand logo will appear in the inbox next to your message.
Here’s what AWeber’s BIMI logo looks like in an inbox:
Here it is on a mobile app:
“2023 will be the year that businesses really start to take advantage of BIMI and its brand-enhancing benefits.”Brian Westnedge, Sr. Director, Alliances & Partnerships at Red Sift
Why: BIMI can help boost your brand’s visibility, build brand recognition, and reinforce trust. When readers see your emails in their inbox with a verified brand logo, they know it’s not a phishing or spam email.
What to do: Get ahead of the game! Set up BIMI for your email domain and stand out from the crowd before this becomes commonplace. Here’s what you’ll need:
- SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authentication set up
- An SVG file of your logo
- Access to change your domain DNS
Brian Westnedge is the senior director of Alliances & Partnerships at Red Sift.
Email marketers will seek out alternative metrics to open rates in a post-Apple MPP world
What/why: As of September 2021, any emails you send to people who use Apple Mail are subject to Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). What does that mean? Well, for email marketers that means your open rates likely appear higher — sometimes much higher — than they truly are.
After a year of sending emails in this post-Apple MPP world, marketers are finding more accurate and important metrics than open rate to assess the success of their email campaigns.
“A major trend for 2023 is drifting away from basic metrics like open rates and toward more meaningful KPIs.”Ann Handley, Digital Marketing & Content Expert
Ann goes on to say, “It’s partly driven by new data privacy rules making open rates chaotic and unreliable. Yet it’s also driven by our need to use email more strategically.
I see my own email newsletter (annhandley.com/newsletter) as a nurturing tool. So I track what I call the Open To Write Back Rate (OWBR) as a key indicator of engagement: How many subscribers hit reply and write back to me?
Why? It’s an important signal of engagement (AND ensures deliverability!).”
What to do: Identify the key metrics to track success in your own campaigns. Can you track success from clicks, sales from an email, or other engagement metrics? It might be time to encourage more in-email engagement with AMP for email.
Ann Handley finishes by mentioning that “email newsletters help build relationships and trust. In 2023, adjust your metrics accordingly.”
Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, is a keynote speaker and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
More AMP for email usage, specifically for transactional emails but also to create engaging content
What: AMP for Email is a framework to make your emails interactive and dynamic. You can make your emails interactive in many ways with AMP: Imagine a poll that you can take directly in an email (without navigating to another page) or a carousel that allows you to click through multiple images.
AMP for email has been around for years, but as more ISPs start to support it — the most recent being Yahoo in 2022 — email marketers will start to implement it. 2023 could be the tipping point for AMP for email that brings into mainstream email marketing trends.
“Brands adopting solutions like AMP Emails will drive greater user satisfaction and provide a better experience for their subscribers.”Matthew Vernhout, VP Deliverability (Americas) at NetcoreCloud.com
“Marketers will continue to focus on building consumer engagement in 2023. That means providing a seamless experience within the email message itself. Brands adopting solutions like AMP Emails will drive greater user satisfaction and provide a better experience for their subscribers.”
— Matthew Vernhout, of NetcoreCloud.com.
Why: People are already used to interacting with polls, quizzes, etc. on social media. It’s time they were able to interact with emails the same way. Plus, AMP for email can help you get more clicks — providing one solution to the Apple MPP tracking issue.
In addition to being fun and interactive, AMP for email is also useful. AWeber Product Manager and AMP expert Dave Stys foresees more interactive AMP being used in 2023.
“In 2023 I’m expecting interactive emails to really catch on,” Dave says. “The first place you’ll see them is in transactional emails like real-time order tracking and shipping statuses, product ratings and reviews, appointment scheduling, and subscription and account confirmation.”
Imagine tracking where a package is without even having to leave an email. That’s just the beginning of what AMP for email can do.
What to do: AMP for email is already available in many email service providers, including AWeber. Set your account up for AMP for email and think about which interactive elements make sense for your emails.
Matthew Vernhout is the VP Deliverability (Americas) at NetcoreCloud.com.
Dave Stys is an expert AMP for Email speaker and developer and product manager at AWeber.
Increased optimization for dark mode users to improve CTR and personalization
What: Dark mode is a display option for apps, computer screens, and many smart devices that “flips” the colors — dark background and light text. Reading a screen in dark mode alleviates eye strain and can reduce battery usage.
Why: A recent study showed that 81.9% of smartphone users use dark mode! And since 81% of all emails are now read on mobile devices, it’s time for email marketers to start optimizing. (Currently, only ~5% of emails are optimized for dark mode.)
“If you aren’t optimizing your emails for dark mode, 2023 is the year to get it done.”Emily McGuire, Email Strategist at Atlassian
Plus, BEE CEO Massimo Arrigoni says, “Sending emails compatible with dark mode will boost your sender reputation.” That just makes sense. Better emails for more people will result in more opens, clicks, and better deliverability.
What to do: “If you aren’t optimizing your emails for dark mode, 2023 is the year to get it done,” says Emily McGuire, Email Strategist at Atlassian. “What does that look like? Outline transparent PNG images in white so they’re not lost on a black background. And use dark mode friendly colors for your text and backgrounds.”
Dark mode “switches” your email’s colors. So, in addition to outlining your PNG images, choose contrasting colors for your emails — like dark gray on white.
Emily McGuire is the email strategist at Atlassian.
Massimo Arrigoni is the CEO at BEE Content Design.
2023 email marketing trends in design
What/why: Every year, the attention span and interests of readers evolves — and designers need to evolve with it. Here’s what the experts think will be big email marketing trends in design for 2023.
Rise of neo-brutalism design
“The neo-brutalism aesthetic has become an increasingly popular trend for email marketing.
Neo-brutalism is characterized by strong angles and geometric shapes to create an atmosphere of certain strength and resilience. We’re seeing more tech companies adopt this design style – particularly those who are looking for a cutting-edge approach to their marketing campaigns (think Figma and Gumroad). They’re drawn to its bold angles, clean lines, and graphic elements that come together to offer an unforgettable visual presentation.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C tech brand, if you want your emails to stand out from all the noise in your customers’ inboxes, consider embracing neo-brutalism as a design strategy.”
— Rukham Khan, data-driven marketing enthusiast, technology researcher, and writer at AllNewBusiness.
Example of neo-brutalism design from Figma:
Source: Email Newsletter Examples
Rukham Khan is a data-driven marketing enthusiast, technology researcher, and writer at AllNewBusiness. He believes trust should be the basis for all marketing communications.
Increased use of GIFs
“GIFs are going to be a real game changer in 2023. They offer a fun and creative way to grab your customers’ attention in the right place of your email and drive more conversions.”
— Annette Palmieri, BEE
Video in emails
“In 2023, I expect more immediate brand adoption of the use of video in email, to deliver more authentic storytelling experiences and increased engagement in the inbox. The market will begin to showcase available email innovations, enabling video to automatically play in email for up to 60 seconds, without the need to click a link to go to a browser or a play button to deliver compelling experiences.”
— Lisa S. Jones, CEO at Eyemail
Lisa S. Jones is the Founder and Chief EyeMail Officer (CEO) of EyeMail Inc.
“The human attention span can be compared to that of a goldfish. If you want your content to convert, stay short and simple in your design. Avoid useless content and focus on what really matters to your readers (and your business). Grab attention and highlight what’s important with bold typography and emotive images.”
— Annette Palmieri, BEE
“We’ll see more diversity in email styles – both design-wise and content-wise. For example, instead of sending just pretty HTML emails promoting the next sale – or even presenting the newsletter roundup – we’ll send intermittent “personal, plain-text” reach-outs that touch on the intersection of brand story and customer need. These pattern interrupts will encourage more brand engagement.”
— Nikki Elbaz
Email specialist and founder of Nikki*Elbaz.
Email marketing in an economic downturn
What: There have been extensive conversations in the news throughout 2022 about a potential economic downturn. That means two things for 2023 email marketing trends:
- Preparing your own business and marketing practices for a recession.
- Understanding your customer’s changing needs during a recession.
Here’s what the experts have to say:
“The 2023 Song of the Year is going to be the one called ‘Do more with less,’” says Lauren Meyer, CMO at Socketlabs. “With tighter budgets and less resources, email marketers will start squeezing every bit of insight they can from email performance metrics well beyond opens and clicks. It’s a year for doubling down on what is working, to the tune of better segmentation and optimizing inbox placement.”
“In an economic downturn email marketers are required to be highly reactive to business needs, without in most cases any additional resources,” says Dela Quist, Founder of Alchemy Worx. “I see the trend will be for smart marketers to take advantage of their ESP’s design automation capabilities. Features such as drag-and-drop email builders and well-stocked template libraries are a must if you want to deliver quick results. If you have them, use them. If not, look around.”
“As marketers, it’s important to understand how crisis may be impacting our customers’ needs and how we can address those needs in our marketing messaging and campaigning.”Komal Helyer, award-winning CMO at Fractional
“When we are in an economic crisis such as a cost of living crisis, our needs can become more acute and pressing,” says Komal Helyer CMO at Fractional. “This can affect our behavior and our ability to make decisions. As marketers, it’s important to understand how crisis may be impacting our customers’ needs and how we can address those needs in our marketing messaging and campaigning.”
What to do: Take a look at your business first. How can you better track what’s truly working in your emails? Then, focus on your customers. What are their “must-haves” and how can you highlight what you sell to help them?
Lauren Meyer is CMO at SocketLabs.
Dela Quist is Founder of Alchemy Worx the largest email marketing agency.
Komal Helyer is an award-winning Fractional CMO with over 20 years of experience in email and digital marketing.
Businesses optimizing the customer journey with technology
What/why: When you sit down to write an email, it’s easy to forget all of the interactions you’ve had with your audience. One person may have bought something from your store and gotten several transactional emails in the past day. Another may have signed up for a lead magnet and are currently receiving your welcome emails. You might have just talked to a third on the phone.
“In 2023, technology and aggregated data will give us a much better understanding of our customers and our relationships with them.”Radek Kaczynski, Founder and CEO at Bouncer
What to do: Map out the potential journeys of your customers and identify places where you can improve your messaging, or send more or fewer emails.
Radek Kaczynski is Founder and CEO @ Bouncer, an experienced deliverability expert and e-mail verification consultant, and a believer in the possibility of improving human to human e-mail communication.
Technology consolidation — using as few platforms as possible for what you need
What: With platforms like AppSumo constantly enticing you to try new tools, you may have found yourself using a multitude of technologies for different tasks. According to our experts, one of 2023’s email marketing trends will be the year of consolidating your marketing technology (martech).
“One of the big trends that I think everyone should be focused on in 2023 is making sure that every organization fully understands their current martech strategy.”Spencer Kollas, VP, Client Partner at Merkle
Why: “A seamless user experience will save people’s time and improve their focus,” says Radek Kaczynski, Founder and CEO at Bouncer. “For example, email marketing or marketing automation solutions might integrate with the best email verification API… and provide powerful email verification functionalities inside.”
Spencer Kollas is the VP, Client Partner at Merkle.
Bonus to watch: Yahoo’s top-of-inbox email navigation
Keith Kouzmanoff, postmaster at inter7.com is watching out for innovations in Yahoo’s inboxes. He says, “Yahoo announced in October 2022 a new email layout streamlining images, attachments, reminders, orders, subscription services, gift cards and more. It is called top-of-inbox email navigation and it looks very promising. 2023 looks like a new email interaction for end-users.”
Keith Kouzmanoff is senior email postmaster at inter7.com.
What do you think the biggest 2023 email marketing trends will be?
What do you think is going to be the next big thing in email for 2023? Leave a comment below👇!