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Email Development

Tinder Inspired Interactive Email: Interview With Penguin Random House

Email On Acid

Penguin Random House sent a Tinder themed interactive email this past Valentines and I took the opportunity to interview Cassie Spencer, Manager of Email Marketing to discover some of the inspirations and challenges they came across when building that email.

The design mimics the look of the popular Tinder dating app where users swipe right and left to signal interest or disinterest in a particular match. This email featured a series of book covers along with profiles of their leading men. Under the profiles, readers have the options to go forward, backward or "like" a book. Liking a book takes the user to the product page of the book in a browser.

View the email here

Hybrid Interactivity

What I found clever is that the email featured a traditional interactive "carousel" design when viewed in the more capable Webkit clients such as iOS but falls back to a design that utilizes link anchors. The fallback displays all the options stacked on top of each other and the email client shifts the position of the email in the window to the position of next book when the recipient clicks on a link. The shifting of the position of the content makes it look as if the user is clicking through a carousel.

Interview With Cassie Spencer, Manager of Email Marketing

What interested your team in interactive email?

We’ve seen a major increase in the number of subscribers viewing our emails on mobile devices and wanted to engage with them in a fun and novel way. Interactive email fit the bill perfectly.

Could you give some background on the goals of this email?

The goal of this email was to engage with subscribers on our list who have a preference for romance books and introduce them to new romance titles. With this in mind, we bounced around some ideas and landed on an email in a dating app format that would invite subscribers to discover their next book crush. Since Valentine’s Day was coming up, we thought that would be the perfect time to reach out to them with this messaging.

How did the campaign perform in relation to your expectations?

The campaign was right in line with our expectations. Engagement rates were on par with what we’ve seen from the romance portion of our list during past campaigns. We saw an increase in the number of total clicks and clicks per subscriber as a result of the interactivity, which is exactly what we had hoped and expected.

Let us know some of the challenges and insights you learned from this campaign.

While it was a bit of a challenge to figure out which method to use to create an interactive email with functionality seen in dating apps, we came to see that an image carousel would work best. We also learned from this campaign to have a good fallback version for subscribers viewing the email on desktop, or in certain ESPs.

What are the resources and sources of inspiration you turn to when building kinetic campaigns?

FreshInbox, of course, as well as Really Good Emails and Email on Acid. We also sign up for literally everything, so there’s a constant flood of email inspiration delivered to our inboxes daily.

What kinetic techniques are you currently most excited about?

We’re excited about hide/show functionality, as well as image carousels. We’ve utilized both so far and based on positive results are look forward to building even more creative campaigns using these methods. We’re also pretty psyched about using z-indexing and fixed positioning to create a scrolling experience in future campaigns.

Don't guess, test!

As always, whenever you're developing sophisticated campaigns incorporating interactivity, it is important to make sure that your designs look good in every email client. That's why we offer a 7 day free trial of our testing suite.

About the Author

Justin Khoo

Justin Khoo

Justin Khoo (@freshinbox) is an email developer and writes about email techniques and new innovations. He has been involved in many aspects of email over the past decade, everything from building webmail clients and email campaign services to coding HTML emails.

Join the Discussion

It looks like anchor links don't work in the Gmail app for iOS -- any idea if it's possible it target Gmail iOS with a different fallback?
Erin

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