About a month into the switch by Microsoft that replaced its flagship (but reputation-tarnished) mail service Hotmail with Outlook.com, email marketers are still sorting out what the ensuing email address changes mean to them. At the time of launch, Microsoft gave its users the option to choose a new Outlook.com email addresses or (for now anyway) keep Hotmail ones. Within an hour Microsoft said it had accumulated 1 million new Outlook.com users.
A few industry experts offered thoughts on the impact the switch might have to email marketers:
“The consequences for email marketers are not entirely known right now. However, as people switch to Outlook.com, and perceptions of owning a Hotmail.com domain seem old fashioned, marketers will see their Hotmail.com numbers dwindle, and more people changing their addresses. If it is currently not easy to change one’s email address in your preference center, and Hotmail.com comprises a large percentage of your database, it may be wise to revisit that decision.”
—Tom Sather, senior director, Email Research for ReturnPath
“As we see users migrate from Hotmail to Outlook.com, email marketers will probably witness a drop in their open rates from large segments of their Hotmail customer group. In Outlook.com, you quickly learn that from one outlook.com email address you can have many alias addresses. I recommend that email marketers keep an eye on their lists and check the relative levels of engagement from pre-existing Hotmail users.
“Email marketers should also keep an eye out for those new subscribers using Outlook.com. Be aware, these are brand new inboxes so relationship marketers will have highly visible emails—in a less crowded inbox.”
—Andrew Bonar, deliverability director for Emailvision
“As we look at how the new Outlook.com may impact marketers, the folder and sweep features stand out. Outlook.com detects and labels emails as promotional and newsletters, for example, offering an unsubscribe button that allows users to unsubscribe and filter all future advertisements from a company. It also creates “quick view” folders for certain messages and a “sweep” feature that lets users automatically move all messages from certain email addresses to a folder, as well as delete them on a schedule set by the user. These features—especially the scheduled cleanup—could really hurt email marketers who aren’t adequately engaging with their subscribers.”
—Mitch Lapides, president of FulcrumTech
Source: Fresh Address