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GUEST OPINION You should care about Gmail’s dynamic content: here’s why

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Google recently announced that it was rolling out a feature that will allow Gmail users to see dynamic content inside emails. Initially limited to Gmail web users, the update could fundamentally change the way organisations communicate with their Gmail customers, writes James Hall, Commercial Director, StriataUK

Just as imagery via HTML was a great leap forward for email in the 1990s, and the roll-out of responsive coding for mobile took things to the next level in the late 2000s, so dynamic content could define email for the decade to come.

In order to fully grasp why it’s such a big deal, it’s important to understand exactly what dynamic content is as well the role it could play within the wider email context.

Understanding dynamic content

When it comes to understanding what dynamic content is, it’s useful to remind ourselves what conventional email is: a static snapshot of content at the point in time that it was created. Dynamic email, by contrast, allows recipients to view “dynamically updated” content in the same email.

So, for instance, a news organisation could send out an email with a breaking story and, rather than sending multiple emails with new developments, simply update the original email.

But dynamic content goes further than that. It also allows people to respond to calendar invites within an email, or fill out forms, and reply directly to comments made in Google Docs.

From an organisational perspective, that’s one less step recipients have to take in order to complete an action and will likely drive up response rates.

It’s also worth noting that, because there’s no need to rely on third-party apps or services, dynamic content dramatically reduces any security risks for end users.

Why it matters

If you’re in charge of your organisation’s customer communication strategy, you might be wondering why you should be paying attention to dynamic content if it only applies to Gmail users. After all, isn’t the whole point of email its universality?

Given that there are around 4-billion email usersworldwide and that email still shows a significantly higher click-through rate than social media (a campaign is six times more likelyto get a click-through from an email than from a tweet, and email is 40 times more effectiveat acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter), does it make sense to focus on a specific client?

Here’s the thing though: Gmail has more than 1.5-billionusers worldwide and holds a 20% shareof the global email client market.

Where Gmail leads, others will follow. It’s therefore worth getting on board with dynamic content now, rather than trying to play catchup later.

It’s not like you’d be a lab rat for Google either. High-profile organisations such as Pinterest and Booking.com have already implemented dynamic content during the beta stage to make sure that a customer’s access to up-to-the-minute information is even more efficient.

Getting started

If you’re interested in implementing dynamic content, how should you go about doing it?

First off, you have to registerand be approved before you can send dynamic content. You also have to meet all the guidelines and requirements before you start the registration process.

Dynamic content emails still have to comply with the Gmail bulk sender guidelines. Your email developers can learn how to incorporate this new functionality into your emails from this blog. And, if your company is a GSuite customer, you can enable your usersto view dynamic content on all GSuite editions via your admin console.

While, initially, only web users will be able to view an email with dynamic content, support for mobile is coming. This is key, as by Gmail’s own reporting, 75% of Gmail usersopen their email on a mobile device.

Embracing change

As with all world-changing technologies, email has had to adapt and evolve to survive as long as it has.

Dynamic content is, undoubtedly, the next big leap forward in that evolution. Used effectively, it will help email keep up with customer experience expectations.

Smart marketers are already investigating how to add dynamic content to their bucket of email tricks. You should be too.

Author

James Hall is the Commercial Director for StriataUK. He has more than 20 years experience in a wide range of technology-based roles, the majority of which have involved some form of transition to a digital solution. His expertise extends across the fields of product management, project management, account management and sales.

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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