Top 10 Email Design + Marketing Blog Posts of 2015

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It’s that time of the year, email geeks! It’s time to reflect on the past year (what worked and, errr, what didn’t) and start planning for the year ahead for email design and email marketing blog posts.

As we look back on 2015, we’re putting together lists of all the email amazingness that has occurred over the past year. To celebrate, for the next 10 work days, we’ll be posting 10 top 10 posts summing up those happenings.

Since we’re launching these lists on the blog, we found it fitting to have the first post in the series focus on the top Litmus blog posts in 2015. So wonderfully meta, isn’t it?

Of the dozens…and dozens…and dozens…and dozens of posts written in 2015, we pulled our top 10 based on pageviews over the course of the year. Some of them were super popular, generating hundreds of tweets and tens of thousands of visits to our website.

We hope that some of these resources might help as you reflect on 2015 and set goals for 2016. This sampling of our top content includes email client market share statistics, advanced HTML and CSS tricks, and email best practices.

1. Email Client Market Share Stats

Despite being posted at the very beginning of 2015, this has remained one of the most popular posts of the year. It reveals that 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices—a 500% increase in only 4 years.

Conversely, desktop opens have drastically declined over the past few years—likely a result of businesses shifting away from expensive desktop suites and moving to scalable services like Outlook 365 and Google Apps.

Some other takeaways from the post include:

  • As a result of image caching, Android opens declined 40% in 2014.
  • iPhone opens increased slightly, while iPad opens were stagnant throughout the year.
  • Outlook opens decreased from 13% to 8.7% over the year.

2. How to Code a Live Dynamic Twitter Feed in Email

To launch The Email Design Conference 2015, we wanted to do something big—and, we opted to use the common approach of dynamic content, but with a twist. We used a unique implementation to create a live Twitter feed in an email.

To make the live Twitter feed happen, we used dynamic images, as well as dynamic CSS. In this post, we cover how to use these these tactics, as well as where each is supported. We also explain how to build the dynamic Twitter integration and how to filter bad tweets.

3. A First Look at Email on the Apple Watch

This post covers four critical things you need to know about how Apple’s new wearable technology will affect your campaigns. While the full post is full of details and examples, here’s a summary of the four takeaways:

  1. When Apple Watch detects remote or linked images in an email, the plain text version will be displayed.
  2. If a message hasn’t been sent in multi-part MIME, or the plain text version is missing, a warning displays: “The full version of this message isn’t available on Apple Watch. But you can read it on your iPhone.”
  3. While address and phone numbers still work, all other links in an email will be disabled.
  4. Open tracking is not possible.

4. The Ultimate Guide to Preview Text Support

Every inbox shows the sender (or ‘from’) name and subject line for an email. Many also display some preview text. In this post, we cover what preview text is, how to use visible and hidden preheader text, and where it’s supported.

5. How To Send a Hidden Version of Your Email That Only Apple Watch Will See

Litmus user Dan Foody discovered something very exciting about the Apple Watch—you can send a hidden version of your email campaign that only the Apple Watch will display.

So, what’s the secret? Including an additional HTML part in your message, with the Content-Type “text/watch-html.” This post covers how to send an email with a Watch-HTML part, as well as tips for formatting your emails for this client.

6. Pushing the Boundaries of Creative ALT Text in Email

In January, we hosted our first ever Community contest—and it was obviously a hit because it’s one of our most popular posts! The contest asked members to try out new, creative uses for one of our favorite aspects of email design: ALT text.

The submissions were so impressive, we couldn’t just choose one winner. Check out the winning submissions—as well as how they did it—in this post.

7. Responsive Email 101 Webinar Q&A: HTML & CSS Basics

The webinar had over 10,000 registrants, so it was no surprise that its follow up post was a hit, too. This post not only includes the slides and recording, but a Q&A about responsive design.

We take a look at the mobile email landscape, the foundations of creating responsive emails, and why these techniques are crucial to improving the subscriber experience. We also cover email client support and demonstrated how to code a responsive email from scratch.

8. How 5 Email Easter Eggs Helped Sell Out The Email Design Conference

To launch ticket sales for The Email Design Conference, we combined advanced email hacks with some fun by hiding five “golden tickets” within the email. Each ticket was hidden using a unique email hack and the first subscriber to find a specific ticket and tweet about it won a free ticket to the conference of their choice: Boston or London.

Between hidden ALT text, ASCII art, images, and more, email geeks loved the concept and playfulness of the email. In this post, we uncover where we hid each of the tickets, the technique we used, and how we did it.

9. A Look at Why Web and Email Design are So Different

A lot of designers assume that, since email uses the same technology as the web—HTML and CSS—it can be built in the same way. Unfortunately, due to the constraints of the dozens of popular email applications in the wild, email has its own design and coding paradigms. In this post, we debunk the differences between email and web design.

10. Best Practices for Optimizing Order Confirmation Emails

64% of consumers consider transaction confirmations the most valuable messages in their inbox. In addition, they have significantly higher open, click, and conversion rates than bulk mailings. And, they generate nearly 6 times more revenue than promotional emails.

This post provides tips on optimizing confirmation emails—such as keeping them on brand and being timely—and provides plenty of examples along the way.

What would you like to see us write about?

Whether it’s our app, our emails, or our blog posts, we’re always looking for feedback on how we can improve. If you have any ideas about what you’d like to see here on the Litmus blog in 2016, let us know over in the Community. Your feedback is invaluable to helping us make email better!

Check Out Our Other Top 10 Lists for 2015

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