Email on Acid splat by a 2021 calendar page

Year in Review: Email on Acid in 2021

Take a deep breath...
The holidays are winding down, and the year is coming to a close. It's time to reflect on 2021 to see how far we've come.

The past 12 months have been quite a whirlwind for the Email on Acid brand. Whether you casually read our blog, subscribe to our newsletter, or use our email testing and optimization tools every day, it's been great having you along for the ride.

Here's a look back at Email on Acid's story in 2021, including some news, events, and projects you may have missed.

Email in the next/new normal

Whether you call it the "next normal" or the "new normal", it sure seems like we're still waiting to find out what normal actually means.

While 2020 will go down in the history books as the year everything changed, 2021 came with its fair share of disruptions as well. If you expected life and work to return to "normal," you probably didn't expect we'd still be in the middle of a pandemic at this point.

Throughout it all, email continues to prove its relevancy as a crucial communication channel.

However, that doesn't mean email stays the same while everything changes. The events of 2020 also meant email marketers had to adapt in 2021.

email marketer works on 2021 action plan

We wrote about many of those changes in an exclusive ebook, Email Marketing and the Next Normal. The special report includes a list of action items as well as insights into:

  • Email’s role in public safety and crisis communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • How email engagement metrics and consumer behavior changed in 2020.
  • Why the economic recovery requires different email strategies for different industries.
  • What ongoing issues including politics, social justice, and climate change mean for email marketers.

Even though we're closing in on two years since COVID-19 entered the scene, a lot of the info and advice in this report remains useful for marketers who understand that the status quo is not the way to go.

Celebrating email history

2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the invention of email... allegedly.

Email on Acid celebrated the occasion with an interactive timeline of email history. We also explored the controversy surrounding who really invented email. As it turns out, some email geeks get pretty passionate about whether the credit should go to Ray Tomlinson or Shiva Ayyadurai.

(Check out the article's comments to see what we mean)

tomlinson and Ayyadurai
Ray Tomlinson (L), Shiva Ayyadurai (R)

Both men have interesting stories, and it's easy to see how either one of them could receive the moniker of "inventor of email." History is a weird thing.

A personal highlight from our exploration of email history was when marketing pioneer, best-selling author, and all-around generous dude, Seth Godin, replied to my email asking for his thoughts. Find out what Seth has to say about email's future more than 20 years after he wrote Permission Marketing.

The future of email is now

Email on Acid hosted a bunch of webinars for email marketers in the first half of 2021. Our most popular was a series of webinars on the future of email hosted in partnership with emfluence.

future of email webinar series logo

We took some style tips from Marty McFly and Doc Brown and got some great feedback on our email marketing trilogy, which you can watch on-demand now:

Managing stress and the team

Email marketing can be stressful. We know that for certain because we straight up asked email marketers. Our Email Marketing and Stress Survey in 2021 found that more than 70% of email geeks think their work is stressful. (Send button anxiety, anyone?)

Communication breakdowns can cause stress, which is why a supportive, cohesive team is a huge relief. But how do you accomplish that, especially when you're entire team is working remotely?

pie chart results of email marketing and stress survey

In the midst of updating the list of supported clients and keeping our email preview engine running, the Email on Acid product team also refined and relaunched our email team management tools in 2021.

These features make it much easier for remote marketing teams to collaborate and communicate on email design and development before launching a new campaign. That means you'll be more likely to maintain your state of Zen.

Check out these articles to learn more about the benefits of Email on Acid team management tools:

More recently, we got some real-world advice on email team communication from developers and designers with plenty of hands-on experience. Check out How Email Developers and Designers can Work Better Together for more.

The Splat Fest virtual event

The email geek community is full of smart people with ideas to share. That's why Email on Acid launched the virtual event, Splat Fest in June of 2021.

Whether you focus on email strategy, email design, or email development, there was a little something for everyone. Splat Fest included topics like:

  • BIMI logos
  • Experimenting with AMP emails
  • Email accessibility and inclusion
  • Marketing automation
  • Interactive emails with dynamic content
  • And much more!

All Splat Fest virtual sessions are now live and available for viewing.

The acquisition double-whammy

sinch acquisition graphic

By far the biggest news for Email on Acid in 2021 was a change in ownership and leadership for the first time in company history.

In June, we said so long to co-founder and CEO John Thies as the brand was acquired by Pathwire -- the parent company of Mailgun and its powerful email API as well as the intuitive email builder, Mailjet. CEO Will Conway took over the reins, and now our three combined brands can help businesses build, send, test, and deliver all their email communications.

But it didn't end there!

In late September, we announced that global communications company, Sinch, had plans to acquire Pathwire along with all three email brands. The acquisition became official in December. We're just getting to know our counterparts in Sweden (which is where Sinch's HQs are located) and around the world.

Sinch specializes in mobile and voice messaging, and the Pathwire acquisition means customers have a complete set of communication solutions.

Will Conway

"If you’re thinking about adding new channels to your communications strategy, we think you’ll be excited to hear about the possibilities this new chapter will provide...

"Adding mobile messaging, voice, and video services to your email experience means you’re not just focusing on the present of customer communications – you’re also getting ready to provide the experience the next generation demands."

~ Will Conway, Pathwire CEO

Oh, and did we mention we're really looking forward to taking our first fika break?

Dark Mode: Part Deux

Dark mode email was a big deal for Email on Acid in 2020, and we returned to visit the topic with Pathwire in 2021.

First, we conducted a survey in partnership with Ascend2 and revealed the biggest dark mode email challenges. Topping the list was dealing with dark mode logo problems in emails.

Be sure to check out all the survey results in our dark mode email infographic.

Email on Acid Sr. Developer, Megan Boshuyzen, also talked dark mode and coding during Pathwire's Nightmare at Email Camp in October of 2021. Hear from Megan when you check out all the email developer sessions from Day 2 of the virtual event. It also includes coding tips from Jay Oram of ActionRocket and email accessibility insights from Paul Airy.

What's new in 2022?

So what's ahead in the New Year? Too much to talk about in this blog post, my friend. And the truth is... who knows!

If the last couple of years taught us anything, it's to be ready for just about anything. There's one thing, however, that won't change ...

Email on Acid will continue providing marketers with a reliable way to test, preview, and optimize their emails before hitting that send button.

As part of a much bigger organization with a holistic view of digital communications, we're extremely excited to find out where things are headed next. So, stay tuned!
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