A goal for 2017: ‘Do less’

Reflecting on the past year naturally brings anticipation of what 2017 will bring to the world of email marketing. 2016 saw our customers increasing use and rely on our product Content Automation product to send more, better email. In an netshell, Content Automation dramatically reduces email build time, whilst also ensuring that the content is highly relevant, personalised and up to date. Implementing this into the email build process sounds like a no brainer right? Who wouldn’t want to free up more time for strategic CRM planning?

DanDan Grech, Head of Marketing at online fashion retailer Trendeo, recently joined the discussion of Digital Marketing Trends of 2017, writing a piece for Smart Insights. His piece titled ‘Doing more with less time: The promise of content automation’ delves into how you can achieve more by actually doing less.

Read the whole article here

 

Save time & resource with automated email content

See this:

imagetemplate

This is a what we call a live image template. It is being built in our new Content Automation product. It may not look much, but this image template, and the power behind it, is going to change how email marketers build automated & personalized email content.

For the last 4 years we have been working with email marketers to build a platform that allows us to send email with more engaging and higher converting content. We built the first contextual personalisation rule builder, developed industry first live content email widgets and now we have created a seriously powerful new product called Content Automation.

Using Content Automation email marketers can build a live image template to automate content in business-as-usual email and/or lifecycle programs quickly and easily. Automating this content allows you to reduce your email build time dramatically freeing up time to be more strategic.

So how does it work?

We have built this new product to be fully self service, so there is no customization required and you don’t need to wait until your IT team is free. Directly in the interface you can build your live image in 3 steps:

1. Connect a json, xml, csv or webpage content source.

This is the source of content that you want to take information from to display automatically in your email messages. Content source examples include:

  • New in womenswear page
  • Latest blogs
  • Product catalog
  • Movie listings
  • TV schedule
  • Live hotel prices

As an example, we have created a API call containing 3 products from Argos. It looks like this:

[

{
id:1,
description: “LG 49LF590V 49 Inch Full HD Freeview HD Smart TV.”,
image: “http://argos.scene7.com/is/image/Argos/3912339_R_Z001A?$TMB$&wid=312&hei=312”,
link: “http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/3912339.htm”,
fasttrack: “y”,
special: “5”,
price: 359.00,
regprice: 399.99,
quantity: 10,
discountamount: 10

},
{
id:2,
description: “Philips 22PFH4000/88 22 Inch Full HD TV.”,
image: “http://argos.scene7.com/is/image/Argos/3917547_R_Z001A?$TMB$&wid=312&hei=312”,
link: “http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/3917547.htm”,
fasttrack: “y”,
special: “3”,
price: 119.00,
quantity: 2,
regprice: 119.00,
discountamount: 0
},
{
id:3,
description: “Bush 32in HD Ready LED TV/DVD Combi White”,
image: “http://argos.scene7.com/is/image/Argos/4240031_R_Z001C?$TMB$&wid=312&hei=312”,
link: “http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/4240031.htm”,
fasttrack: “n”,
special: “6”,
price: 169.99,
quantity: 1,
regprice: 949.99,
discountamount: 150
}
]

(Don’t worry about it looking techy – it is just a list of products and their associated info such as price, description etc).

This is a test API, a normal API would contain 1000s of products updating with new items and changing the product information.

Notice that two products are on discount; discountamount: 150 and discountamount: 10
and two products are viable as fast track; fasttrack: “y”
and also notice the stock level of a product; quantity: 10

All products have different information associated with them, and this information will change frequently. Content Automation allows you to reflect the different product information directly in the same image template. When this changes, such as stock level, it is updated at the time of open.

2. Build a live image template based on the content source.

Now you build how you want your live image template to look in the email. This is the size, layout, colours, call to action and more.

I’ve built the below live image template with each area connecting to corresponding data-point for a product item.

Data-feed-live-image

So, at the time of open, the live-image template takes the appropriate info for the product from the feed and updates the content of the image – live and instantly. So if the price above changed from £119.00 to £99.00 – it would be reflected automatically.

Using the Content Automation editor you can customize the exact layout of your live image. You can also add a call to action, and change font sizes, colours and more – you have the control.

3. Magical visibility rules

Now in step one, I asked you to note the following:

Two products are on discount; discountamount: 150 and discountamount: 10
and two products are viable as fast track; fasttrack: “y”
and also notice the stock level of a product; quantity: 10

This information on a product changes from product to product. How do you represent this in the same image template? Easy, you use visibility rules. Visibility rules allow you to show or hide image information based on data in the feed. For example, if I want to show the number of items left in stock when quality is 3 or less I do this with visibility rules.

The results is this:

If product 1  has stock quantity of 10. We have set the visibility rules to not show any stock level information or callouts:

ca1

If product 2 has stock quantity of 1. We have set the visibility rules to show a stock call out with the amount left:

ca3

If product 3  has stock quantity of 2. We have set the visibility rules to show a stock call out with the amount left:

ca4

This is the same image template repeated for 1000s of products automatically!

The final step – creating the Tag.

Now you have your automated live image-template you can create a TAG to add to your HTML. At this stage you can filter or sort what products to show in email based on other information in the feed. For example, only display products over £100.00 price:

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-09-39-13

Unleash its power

This level of content automation has allowed brands such as ASDA, P&O Ferries, Holland & Barrett, save serious email time on their email build, and keep email constantly fresh and up to date. Automating email content this way actually allows you to start moving towards being able to send 1-2-1 personalized messages. Now I’m Kickdynamic CEO and Co-Founder so would say that, but don’t just take our word for it:

Asda has reduced email build time by up to 9-days per month by asda-200x200automating their daily alert email campaign resulting a signifcant impact on ROI.

“It is amazing that this project began as a response to a business challenge and now this Kickdynamic technology is LEADING THE WAY to automating our emails and getting us to true 1 to 1 personalization”

– Guy Smith, CRM Manager at Asda

poferriesP&O Ferries personalise and automate all content from from weather and blog sources to ensure the latest content is displayed in every email.

“We were thrilled the moment Kickdynamic explained the concept of Content Automation and took us through it the rst time. It has given us incredible flexibility and is quickly becoming our go-to method of getting live content into our emails.”

– Kim Valinder, P&O Ferries

It’s fully self-service, setup directly in the Kickdynamic platform no IT team or customisation required. No web cropping and therefore design flexible. Read more in the one pager.

New Kickdynamic Help Site

Please do enjoy our new Help Center

We have overhauled and updated these pages to reflect the improvements and new features in app.kickdynamic.com We have also benefited from lots of different new use cases and examples, particularly from our Account Management team. If you thought a Countdown timer was a simple idea, you are right, you just set up the end time, pick a template and insert the tag, right? Yes, but there are also lots of other questions and things to remember, such as: what happens to the image, when the end time is reached? Can I reformat the timer for mobile? Can I use my own design? I need to have this specific font, how do I do that? What happens in Outlook? You will find all the answers in our Help Center.

There are similarly plenty of questions on how to deploy a ‘Nearest Store’ tag or how exactly our Advanced Analytics works. Now the Help Center is never complete, we will always be updating it. If there is something you spot that we should add, please do let us know via support@kickdynamic.com or your Account Manager.

What’s new – Yay!

What is coming in March?

Every month (or so) we push the latest version of the OpenTime marketing platform live to our customers. So what’s new? and what’s coming in March?

Templates for Personalized images, Timers and Content Automation

Kickdynamic customers are using more and more of our template functionality to create their own Personalized images and Countdown Clocks. The templates allow you to upload your own background image and overlay the Kickdynamic functionality so that you have a Timer or Personalized image that is completely on-brand. We have therefore moved this function from the account area into the main navigation to make it easier to access and to help with the workflow. You will see it here, next to Campaigns and Analytics.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 13.57.17

Please use the templates area to build your live-image templates. You can then create as many Live Content Tags as you need using your own branded templates.

Personalized images Countdown Clocks Content Automation

Content Automation is a new function that we are beta testing. You can create a live image from any feed, website or API using Content Automation. If you would like to be part of the testing program please contact us.

Font upload

You can now upload your own font to use in your live-image templates! To do this, please go to your user name top right and select Account:

Font

Here you can select Font and upload your desired font.

Your uploaded font will be accessible in all images templates automatically once uploaded.

Clock image speed

Clock image speed. We have been fine turning the animated versions of our live-images to reduce the weight, and therefore the rendering speed, of the image.

Now, to the naked eye, the image loads instantly, however, looking at logs we noticed the image wasn’t loading to our extremely high standards. We have now improved this and clock images load fastest in the west.

If you have any feedback, please let me know.

Kickdynamic Rule Builder – Email’s most advanced contextual rule builder

Use email’s most advanced rule builder to adapt content to the exact contextual situation of your customer at the time they open email.

Read more

Personalize the featured image in Gmail’s new grid view with Kickdynamic

In 2013 Google released a new feature in its email service Gmail called Tabs. Tabs are different areas in the inbox where email is filtered depending on the category of the message you receive. As a default there are three Tabs called Personal, Social and Promotional. Email messages are then filtered into to each TAB depending on it’s category.

Read more

Update on the Gmail image change

Google has recently made a change to how it manages images in its email client, Gmail. As a result of this change, Gmail now caches images and serves them via a proxy.

What does this mean?

– Personalised images display to each recipient as normal when email is opened for the first time
– When recipient opens the same email for the second time, the cached image from the first open is displayed

Here is the impact this has for Kickdynamic customers:

Read more

Smarter inboxes means smarter email marketing

Gmail introduced TABs in the last few months to much debate and some uproar, the majority of which centered around the new Promotional Tab.

This is a different ‘location’ away from the main inbox, where marketing and promotional messages are filtered. This applies to the web based version and mobile app version of Gmail.

It has caused understandable concern amongst marketers, due to the potential drop in engagement levels and conversion for Gmail users in their lists. However, marketers should not be surprised by these changes.

Read more

Release the power of deep linking for your mobile email

Having a mobile optimised email strategy is a must.

Email read on a mobile device has overtaken both desktop and web mail opens, and will continue to increase as the world goes mobile.

Kickdynamic advanced analytics shows that 46.3% of email is read on a mobile device compared to 31.5% on webmail and 22.2% on desktop.

We also find that 7% of readers open email on two or more environments.

With this in mind, what can we do to make email work better on a mobile device and be consistent for multiple opens?

There are design considerations such as @media queries that you should follow to ensure that your email looks great and renders well in the mobile inbox.

However, this does not offer a full picture and you must also consider the context. Context for mobile refers to the current reading environment (mobile or laptop) and also the user action.

There is nothing worse than reading an email on your mobile device, clicking the link and being taken to the mobile or normal site, as opposed to the brand’s app, which you always use.

Why do brands to this? Most likely it is because they are unable to detect if the email recipient is reading on a mobile device or laptop, or if they even have the app installed.

At Kickdynamic we have solved this issue.

With Kickdynamic you can overcome this poor user experience and make your mobile email seriously powerful. We are able to detect reading environment and determine the correct action to take.

Deep-linking.

Deep-linking uses a schema to call an app and manage a command. It was traditionally used for in app navigation; however, it can be used in email.

We have built our technology to command the action of a link depending on the reading environment. For example:

  • The link can open a specific area of the app when clicked on a mobile device on which the app is installed.
  • When clicked on a mobile device without the app installed, the link can open the app store at the relevant area.
  • When clicked on a desktop or laptop, the link can direct to the app store for Macs or a pre-determined landing page such as their website.

This works for all major mobile devices and tablets such as the iPhone, Android, Windows, iPad, Samsung Tablet.

This gives your customers a consistent experience across all reader environments and very powerful mobile device experience.

Let’s dive deeper into this with another example:

Pre-populate a tweet with the twitter app. Using deep linking you can make email sharable by linking directly to the twitter app with a pre populated tweet. If the twitter app is not installed then the user is directed to the web version of twitter.

Click on a image or link the email (Kickdynamic demo email for example):

Deep linking step 1

The tweet can also be pre-populated:

Tweet it

Interested in finding out more? Don’t hesitate to contact us.