Xbox LIVE Inspires With Relevant (And Fun!) Content

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As part of our “25 Days of Inspirational Emails,” we’ve been asking our customers, followers & co workers to email us if they see any great emails that they think should be featured. Our customer service extraordinaire, Danielle, was recently impressed by an email she received from Xbox LIVE and I can definitely see why — I really love their use of relevant content and fun facts to draw the reader’s interest!

Xbox LIVE full email


One of the greatest attributes of this email is its use of relevant content. In the email, Danielle is presented with interesting facts about her Xbox LIVE usage, such as how many hours of multiplayer time she’s accumulated in the year, how many hours she’s used entertainment apps, and how many friends she has. These personalized stats are unique to each subscriber, making the content of this email relevant to each individual recipient. Since 25% of people become disengaged and unsubscribe from emails because they find the content irrelevant, it is a major advantage that Xbox LIVE uses such relevant and engaging content in this email.

Unfortunately, the positive effect of all this relevant content can be lost when less-than-impressive comparisons are made. For example, this email mentions that Global Xbox LIVE Rewards members have spent 2,081,054,696 hours playing games on multiplayer, and compares Danielle’s multiplayer stats to this figure. But since Danielle only logged 1 hour on multiplayer, the stat seems pretty irrelevant. Some ESPs allow you to write logic or if/then statements to work around things like this. So rather than allowing less-than-stellar content to show up in their emails, they could have written logic that said something to the effect of, “In the ‘gaming’ module, if customer player hours are less than 5, replace multiplayer gaming content module with new games content module.” Utilizing dynamic content this way requires some advance planning and some development know-how, but can pay big dividends in subscriber engagement and relevancy.


Another great aspect of this email is its organization. I love the combination of text and images and the way the emailed flows. With the addition of subtle dotted “lead lines” that connect each section, my eyes are drawn to look at the entire email—left, right, up and down.

Lines magnified

The content definitely helped with the flow since I was intrigued to see how Danielle’s usage compared to Xbox LIVE usage as a whole! In addition, the “extra” facts, such as the number of Xbox LIVE friendships being compared to Mexico’s population, were also quite interesting. The infographic-like content and layout encouraged me to scroll through the entire email and read all of the factoids.

mexico magnified

The placement of the CTA in this email also intrigued me — it’s at the very bottom! Since the main CTA is to enter a contest to win numbers Xbox LIVE prizes, it makes sense that Xbox LIVE would place the CTA after they mention lots of interesting facts about the product. By doing this, Xbox LIVE intrigues their subscribers with statistics and then encourages them to increase their engagement Xbox LIVE by entering the contest.

Between the content, balance of images and text, and the placement of the CTA, my eyes were drawn down the entire email!

IMAGES-OFF (Could use a little work!)

It’s definitely not the most exciting images-off email that I’ve seen (check out this amazing example from PizzaExpress), but since it still contains MOST of the pertinent information, it’s not the worst either! While the personalized aspects are still readable when images are disabled, all of the general facts about Xbox LIVE are image-based and thus unreadable, which makes the email’s content difficult to follow.images-off

In addition, when images are disabled, the CTA disappears, which is definitely a negative since a large number of email clients block images by default. If they had used a bulletproof button, the CTA would have been present regardless of whether images are present or not.

Another aspect that could use some work is the ALT text on the images in the email; Xbox LIVE only has ALT text for ONE image in the entire email, which is the header. The ALT text for the header is “img_fpo” — huh? When viewing this email in an images-disabled environment, subscribers would have absolutely no idea what the image is since the ALT text doesn’t describe it at all. Xbox LIVE should have not only included ALT text for ALL of their images in the email, but they should have used better descriptions so subscribers would have a “preview” of what the image would be if they downloaded it.

Lastly, Xbox LIVE could have put a background color behind the header, like they do for the rest of the email, so that it stands out when images are disabled. It essentially disappears in an images-off environment, which results in the email losing its hierarchy.

One thing to note: since Xbox LIVE didn’t specify height or width attributes for the images in the email, all the image spaces collapsed. This makes for a slightly odd effect when enabling images in Gmail: the email appears to expand both length- and width- wise.


Do you have an email that you’d like us to feature in our inspiration series? Send it to us at!


  • Another great example of super-personalized content in an email: LinkedIn.
  • A closer look at email engagement [infographic].
  • Day 1 —  “25 Days of Inspiration Emails” — Kenneth Cole inspires with animated GIF.
  • Day 2 — “25 Days of Inspiration Emails” — Help Scout inspires with honest “oops” email.