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Real time dynamic content in your inbox

February 11, 2014

There used to be only one type of dynamic content. This is created before the email is sent and is based on what you already know about the recipient to create a custom email. For example, you are a retailer and you want to show the recipient in your email the details of their nearest store. Normally this would be done using a customisation based on information you have about the recipient such as their address or postcode. The system sending the email builds a different version of the message at send time. This all works perfectly well but relies on your information being accurate.

So what is real time dynamic content ? With real time dynamic content only one version of the message is sent to everybody and the content is determined when the recipient opens the email. This has many advantages over static dynamic content.

Using the same example as above, directions to the nearest store are loaded into the message when the email is opened. The directions are based on the users actual location at the time of opening the email. If they are away from home and reading email on their smartphone, when they return home the location of the nearest store may have changed and the content of the inbox will change accordingly. You are showing them the nearest location at the time of reading the email.

Location is only one of the applications for real time content. What about sending something that has a time limit. It might be a sale, a promotion or a competition.In the world of static email your image would probably contain something along the lines of "Sale ends 31st Jan". This doesn't convey a sense of urgency nor does the message or the call to action change once the date has passed. With real-time dynamic content you can do all this. The email can contain a timer that counts down to the expiration within the inbox and once the time has expired the image changes and so does the call to action if you click the image. This is all done within the users inbox.

Another application of real time content is video in email. Almost everybody has thought about trying video in email but the problem is there are so many email clients available and each one handles video in a different way. Some will play it when you open the email and some will completely ignore it. What about if you could just create one video and how the recipient saw it was dependent on them. If they are on a a device that supports html 5 (iPhone) then the video plays in their email. If they are reading their email in IE for Outlook.com then they see an animated gif of the video. If they are using Outlook desktop then they will see an image of the video with a link to the full video online. Again this is all done in real time when the user opens the email.

There are many more applications for real time dynamic content. Just tell us what you would like to do and we will make it happen.

Posted by Simon Hill
Automation, Technology

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