Last week, Microsoft threw a bit of a curveball with the announcement of its new “Active Views” technology – allowing senders to run code securely within email messages.
This means that whereas previously emails required you to click a link if you wanted to meaningfully interact with your account, now this can all be managed from within the email itself.
Check out the video below for some examples:
In the past, security was always the key concern limiting emails’ interactivity. Considering the increasingly intelligent and duplicitous methods used by spammers to make sure their emails are opened, it’s not hard to imagine the potential damage of giving them even more power to execute code once their foot is in the door. What’s more, without visible URLs and SSL, it’s going to be even harder for users to be assured of an email’s origins.
As a result, Hotmail is being cautious about how it rolls the technology out with a handful of carefully chosen partners currently in the beta. The importance of keeping this strict control means that even if all goes well, it’s going to be hard for the service to roll out with any speed.
How will it affect my campaigns?
Not much has been revealed below the surface but it’s a fair bet that you’ll need an experienced developer and it’ll obviously increase the importance of using an ESP that can send different content to different ISPs. Segmentation has always been an important element of the email marketing mix but this announcement is a step toward a future where it’s even more indispensible.
Naturally dotMailer can help you with all of these – we already work with clients to produce bespoke design work, dynamic content and segmentation queries in a similar fashion.
So how will other email providers respond? In recent years, Gmail has started to grow its lead over Microsoft’s offering but if it retains the differentiation and it’s easy to switch, maybe the software giant will claw back some market share from Google.
Or will other providers follow suit and implement similar technology? Other than a big tweak in the form of Priority Mail earlier this year, Gmail seems to have kept its focus, perhaps afraid to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
However, they’ve been known to dabble with innovation elsewhere – if other providers follow suit, perhaps we’ll see a common technical standard for the tech? With Microsoft more vulnerable than ever, you never know.
Read more about it at the Windows Live blog here. We’d love to hear what you think on the matter.