Outlook.com – how will it affect you as an email marketer?
As I’m sure many of you are aware, Microsoft announced the launch of the preview of Outlook.com at the end of July. Within hours one million people had signed up to the new Outlook.com webmail email client, me being one of them.
The idea of Outlook.com is to in time replace Hotmail. Hotmail was originally introduced into 1996, since the launch of Gmail eight years later; Hotmail was slowly losing its lead of the most popular webmail email client.
Outlook.com has a fresh, clean new user interface, removing a large amount of clutter which was apparent in Hotmail. With the display ads removed and a reduced size search section, 30% more messages are now visible in your Outlook.com inbox compared with Hotmail, making the email client more useable, relevant and helpful for users.
How will this affect email marketers?
When you first move over to your Outlook.com account from Hotmail you are asked if you want to start with a clean inbox, meaning you can go from a full inbox to one with just a few emails in, in a couple of seconds. With over 10,000 unread emails in my inbox this was very tempting.
One of the main goals of Outlook.com was to help reduce the clutter within the inbox, Outlook.com will automatically sort your messages from contacts, newsletters, shipping updates and social updates into folders. The Sweep feature allows for emails to be moved, deleted and powerful rules created, allowing the user to navigate around their inbox quickly and with ease.
With emails Outlook.com automatically recognises as a newsletter, or marketing email, the platform will routinely add an unsubscribe link to the bottom of the email allowing the recipient to unsubscribe from all future communications from that company.
This could really hurt marketers who aren’t effectively engaging their recipients. Every cloud has a silver lining though because if you are fully engaging your recipients, by removing this other clutter it will allow your emails to stand out in the recipients inbox.
@hotmail.com @hotmail.co.uk, @msn.com and @live.com addresses will continue to work for the time being, so you do not need to worry about an increased bounce rate from these addresses. However you may want to consider sending these recipients an email encouraging them to update their details, to not only get their updated Outlook.com address if they have one, but to also confirm that you are sending the recipient relevant content, ensuring that your emails aren’t the ones being swept away into the deleted folder.
This is just the preview version of Outlook.com with more features to follow. Over the next few months the number of people using Outlook.com will grow, which will be very interesting to see how this affects the engagement metrics of your campaigns. Keep a close eye on your results.
Jenna Lovell, Account Manager