16 May 2021 Stuart

How do you make emails interactive & why they’re great for marketing

All marketers understand the need to have interactive content of their website as its one of the best ways to engage your audience and enhance the user experience. We also live in an increasingly competitive online world so anything that makes your content stand out and holds the audience’s attention for longer will give you an advantage. Put simply, website visitors love interactive content!

 But what if we applied the same ideas to email marketing campaigns? Is it possible to see the same increased levels of engagement?

Yes! A recent study by Campaign Monitor showed adding a video to email can boost click through rates (CTRs) by 65%, which isn’t bad considering the average benchmark is 2.7%.

What is interactive content in emails?

Interactive email content is anything that requires the user to participate to receive the full experience, this is usually achieved by swiping, tapping or viewing the content in the email. Compared to a website, there are some limitations when it comes to interactive content in emails, however, there are some great ways you can add different elements to your emails to engage your audience and boost clicks to those all-important call to action (CTA) buttons.

Let me entertain you!

Your audience wants to be entertained when they receive your email, those few short seconds when they first open your email decide if they read the rest or it heads straight to the trash. One way to grab people’s attention is through GIFs and video.

GIFs have been rising in popularity for a number of years as they’re easy to create and easy to share. This is a great example Litmus used to showcase a new product, it’s far more effective than linking to a video elsewhere as it automatically animates once the image is rendered and will play on a loop to keep the recipient interested.

litmus resized

The other advantage of GIFs is you can use them as a teaser to link them to content or pages on your website. It’s the email equivalent of telling a person not to press the big red button!

Another way to create an interactive email is by adding video and services like MailChimp and Email Octopus make it easy to add video to your emails. Short videos that can be consumed quickly can have a real impact on the success of your campaign by increasing open rates, click-through rates and conversions as they build trust and establish a connection with your audience. In fact, studies have shown that including the word “video” is enough to increase open rates by 7-13%.

The reason GIFs and video are so successful is because they require the recipient to act to receive the full message which drives engagement and increases the perceived feeling of brand loyalty, it requires the reader to become part of your marketing in a fun and easy way compared to static content.

Its personal…and that’s a good thing

Personalisation of your emails is a great way to build a deeper connection with your audience and take your engagement stats to the next level. Nowadays, people expect businesses and organisations to speak directly to them, they want to have a reciprocal relationship with you and feel an affinity towards the brand.

Marketers have access to a treasure trove of data they can use to achieve this one-to-one connection with their audience and its hard to ignore the results it can generate. In a survey conducted by Zembula 69% said they were more likely to buy from a company that used personalisation in their emails.

Adding personalisation to your emails doesn’t have to be complicated either, most email platforms support the use of tokens and can pull data from your CRM to create a unique experience that speaks directly to the recipient. Personalisation can also be used with other interactive elements for greater impact. Take the example below from Runtastic which includes the recipient’s name, a GIF and is sent on their birthday to promote a special offer.


Personalisation can also be used to create dynamic emails that display content depending on a set of triggers that can include anything from age, gender, location, occupation, type of account and much more. By segmenting email subscriber lists you can deliver content that is more relevant to the individual which means they are more likely to engage with the experience and take action.

Sports company Brooks used this to great effect when they combined subscribers’ location and current weather forecasts to promote their range of running apparel. They used a different image, text and CTA buttons for hot and rainy days. The result is that it makes it easier for the consumer to see themselves using their products in that moment.

brooks dynamic email

Kinetic energy to turbo charge your emails

Kinetic emails take dynamic emails a step further through the use of animation and style templates to highlight key content and provide more of a website experience from within the email. This gives your audience the opportunity to interact and explore almost all of the email content.

By including interactive elements such as navigation buttons or collapsible menus you can provide a rich user experience that makes it rewarding for the reader to engage with your content. This is because psychologically, use of these elements creates curiosity with the recipient and exploration of the content naturally lead to higher engagement rates. This is also a commitment free way for your audience to engage with the business as the interaction takes place from within the actual email. Ultimately this helps to build trust and loyalty.

Adidas’s kinetic email below makes use of tap to interact elements that displays products within a slideshow meaning the reader can quickly jump to the products they’re most interested in. They have also coupled this with an offer for free shipping and money off which creates a sense of urgency to take action and complete a purchase.

Adidas kinetic email

Kinetic emails deliver the type of experiences consumers are looking for, they can explore your content on their own terms, they’re more visually appealing than static content and can be tailored to their personal preferences so they see content that is relevant to them. Who could resist an email like this?

In conclusion

Email personalisation continues to be vital to the success of email marketing and the survey conducted by Zembula shows recipients overwhelmingly prefer interactive content in the emails they receive. This mean, when implemented correctly, they’ll be more likely to read, remember, share and convert when compared to static content.

Kinetic emails will continue to rise in popularity with marketers as they provider a richer and more engaging experience that create curiosity and captures the attention of the reader. This in turn makes them feel closer to brand, increases loyalty and boosts campaign performance.

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