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Interactive emails: the definitive guide for 2024

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Want to learn what interactive emails are all about and why you should be using them?

You’ve come to the right spot. 

There are many ways to nurture leads and drive conversions, but none is as effective as email marketing. This is because marketers earn a whopping $36 for every $1 spent on email marketing, outperforming other channels such as PPC and display advertising. 

The success of email marketing has led to an increase in the number of emails sent and received globally. The figure has increased each year since 2017 and is expected to reach 376 billion emails by 2025. 

But the very fact that people are now receiving more emails than before means that your email content is competing for attention with many other emails in your customers’ inboxes. 

So, how do you make your audience look forward to your emails and spend time reading them?

Simplified email techniques don’t cut it anymore and that calls for the necessity to use interactive emails. By making your emails interactive, you keep your readers engaged and inspire them into action. 

Let’s now take a closer look at interactive email marketing and what makes it so effective. 

Drive more sales and engagement with interactive emails that grab your readers’ attention

What is an interactive email?

Interactive emails are emails that incite engagement through elements inside the email—ones that don’t take them to other pages. Interactivity emerged as one of the email marketing trends for 2024, with marketers using it to engage readers and nurture them to buy.

For example, instead of adding a link that takes readers to a landing page to leave a rating, they can do that right from the email. 

Similarly, readers can answer a quiz, fill out a survey, and even add items to a cart right from their inboxes. Such interactive emails enhance the user experience by providing email recipients with valuable content in one location. The fact that they don’t have to open another page also makes them more likely to take the action you want them to.

The image below is an example of an interactive email that Comcast sent to its email subscribers asking them to vote for the next leader of Westeros before the series finale of Game of Thrones. 

interactive email example

Why use interactive emails?

One of the email marketing mistakes marketers make is delivering one-directional email communication.

Such one-directional chats get boring quickly and it won’t be long before they unsubscribe from your email newsletter. 

But by using interactive email templates, you make your readers a part of the conversation by giving them something interesting to do when they open your email. You also make it easier for them to perform certain tasks.  

Remember, the easier it is for someone to do something, the more likely they’re to do it. 

That said, here are the benefits of using interactive emails to engage your readers:

Boosts email engagement and conversions

Interactive elements in an email encourage readers to interact with the email rather than just viewing and reading its content. For example, users can browse product photos, participate in a poll, or answer a quiz to receive a discount. 

This added functionality incites them to action, thus improving your email conversions. 

Highlight new product features

Are you launching a new product or would like to tease an upcoming product? 

Why write about it when you can showcase it through video?

Modern consumers prefer to watch a video [pdf] to learn about a product rather than reading about it. By adding a video to your emails, you make it easy for your email subscribers to learn about the amazing products you’ve just launched. 

One of the best interactive email examples is Dropbox. To show users how to use its latest feature, Dropbox Replay, the company sent its subscribers an email with an explanatory video. The video is just 13 seconds long and explains something that would have taken pages of content, if explained through text and imagery.

The best part? 

The subscribers can watch the video right within the email.  

example of interactive emails by highlighting new product features

It is visually captivating

Puzzles, accordions, sliders, and carousels are visually appealing and give readers a rich experience. For example, a carousel allows users to browse through photos as they would on a website. 

Besides engaging your recipients, the visual content in interactive emails encourages quicker consumption of email content, thus driving users closer to conversion. 

This email from Adidas shows how to use a carousel in an email. The email advertises the brand’s Black Friday deals on different products that users can see when they scroll through the images. Each image has a CTA that would take the audience to the product page.

visually captivating interactive email example from adidas

Create a strong brand image

When you create an interactive email, you make the user journey valuable, effortless, and less time-consuming. Additionally, a better user experience improves your brand image, thus helping you retain your existing customers.

Better targeting through customer behavior

When you create an interactive email, you can track clicks and other interactions that happen in the email. This will give you more insights into user behavior and give you a more detailed understanding of customer preference. 

Based on this, you can then segment them for the next newsletter and send more targeted emails in the future. 

Interactive vs. non-interactive emails

Interactive emails appeal to recipients because they have creative elements users can engage with. Compared to non-interactive emails, the ones with interactive elements have a higher engagement rate because they deliver a more memorable experience to the readers. 

Below are the key differences between interactive and non-interactive emails.

Interactive emailsNon-interactive emails
Interactive emails have elements that readers can engage with and take action on within the email such as polls, quizzes, videos, carousels, etc. Non-interactive emails don’t have elements that users can engage with. To complete an action, readers are redirected to an external page such as a landing page or product/service page. 
Limited accessibility since they are not supported by many email client renders. Easily accessible since they are supported by every email client. 
Interactive emails provide a seamless user experience since readers can perform the desired action within the email. Non-interactive emails introduce friction in the funnel since users are redirected elsewhere when they have to complete an action. 
Interactive emails provide better insights into user behavior since you can track user interaction with the interactive elements in the email. Non-interactive emails provide limited behavioral analysis since they don’t contain any interactive elements worth tracking. 

Interactive elements examples

The good thing about interactive email marketing is that there are many elements you can add to your emails to make them appealing to your subscribers. 

As a result, your readers will look forward to your email newsletter and this will boost the outcome of your email campaigns. 

Below are some of the elements you can add to an email to make it interactive:

Videos

Adding a video to your emails is one of the effective ways to transform it from boring to exciting. Consumers prefer video to text and this can make it a great way to boost your email’s engagement.

However, you need to understand that email videos are only effective if they are short and to the point. Ideally, the video should be less than 2 minutes. 

For example, Fable’s introduction email to new subscribers includes a short video that explains how users can get the most out of the app. 

video in email example

Polls or surveys

Polls and surveys are great interactive elements you can add to your emails to boost engagement. They are also a great strategy for learning more about your customers and collecting feedback. 

Welkom added a poll to its email to collect feedback from its subscribers about a frame they were thinking of designing. The poll only had two options for users to choose from, making the choosing process easy. 

GIFs

Since videos are heavy and take longer to load in some email clients, you can choose to add a GIF if you want to include movement in your email. 

GIFs in emails are more eye-catching than static images and attract more clicks. Additionally, they can autoplay too. So, if you want to introduce a new product to your email subscribers, you can use a GIF to highlight the product’s different features.

Everywell used a GIF in its latest email to advertise their health products.  

gif in email as an example of an interactive email

Items that can be added to a cart

Add-to-cart functionality allows email recipients to buy the products they need straight from their email inboxes. This simplifies the shopping process for online shoppers by providing them with a seamless checkout process

It can also be used to lure back shoppers who had abandoned their carts to complete their purchases. 

The image below shows Google’s interactive email that features add-to-cart functionality. Users can choose between different colors before proceeding to checkout. 

items that can be added to abandoned cart

Best practices for interactive emails

Use the following strategies when designing your interactive emails to make them effective:

Focus on one interactive element per email

Do not add too many interactive elements in the same email as it can confuse your readers.

What’s more?

You may also end up making the email very heavy and this might lead to a long loading time for the email, which can be detrimental to your campaign.

A good rule of thumb is to use only one interactive element per email. Find out which element delivers the best impact based on your campaign goals. If you intend to collect user feedback, add polls or quizzes to your email. Similarly, if you want to promote a new product line, a video or GIF would be ideal. 

Have a fallback plan in case the element doesn’t load

As a marketer, you may have an incredible email that features your chosen interactive element, but your recipient could be using an email client that doesn’t support interactivity. 

When such a user opens your email, the interactive element will not load. If all useful information was contained in the element, then you miss the chance to engage this user. In fact, they’ll likely find your email useless. 

That’s why you need a fallback plan in case the interactive element in your email fails to load. To achieve this, ensure your HTML also contains the necessary information so viewers can get the intended message even if the email doesn’t load fully. 

Always test

A/B testing is key if you want to succeed with email marketing. If you’re not sure which element to use in your emails, a split test will help you discover the interactive elements that might work best for you. You can also test your emails on various devices to figure out what works best. 

Ensure different elements are compatible

To have the desired effect with your interactive email newsletter, you need to ensure all the elements in the email are compatible. The font and its size used in the interactive elements should be similar to the text on the non-interactive elements. 

The colors on the elements should also complement each other to provide the best user experience. If there’s a mismatch of any kind, your email will look ugly and this can affect your engagement rate.

How Omnisend helps you create interactive emails

At Omnisend, we care about your email campaigns and are here to make your email marketing simple and effective. Our user-friendly platform provides a ton of interactive email elements you can use to make your campaigns engaging. 

To help you get started with email marketing quickly, you can choose any of our customizable email templates and edit them to match your brand style. 

create interactive email with Omnisend

You can then add interactive elements to the email using the drag-and-drop feature. It’s that easy.

Start sending interactive emails

With consumers receiving more emails than ever before, your emails face a lot of competition for user attention. Simple emails don’t cut it anymore and you’ll need to be creative to get them to engage with your content. 

By adding any of the interactive elements shared in this post, you’ll make your recipients fall in love with your content and inspire them into action. 

With Omnisend, you can simply drag-and-drop these elements into your email. Register today today to create the best interactive emails. 

Want to create beautiful interactive emails without the difficulty? Get started with Omnisend!
Bernard Meyer
Article by
Bernard Meyer

Bernard is the Sr. Director of Communications & Creative at Omnisend, with a passion for good research, helping ecommerce businesses with their marketing automation needs, and beating absolutely everyone in Mario Kart 64.


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related features
These are the Omnisend features that can help you get the results mentioned in the article.