It’s easy to see that email marketing has experienced an evolution through the years, prompted by mobile devices, the appearance of messages on wearables like the Apple watch, and the general adoption of email filtering from inbox providers.

With all these adaptations in mind, it’s tempting to look into the future and daydream about the updates that might be yet to come. To help you waste less time guessing, I’ve scoured the internet for the latest predictions on email marketing for the year of 2020. Spoiler: The changes are going to be big.

1.     Redefining the Email Campaign

First, brands are going to stop developing email campaigns as automation and machine learning change our perspective of what email campaigns actually are. Over the years, we’ve all struggled to send more relevant emails, by ensuring the right people get the right content at the right time. The good news is that technology is going to make that level of relevancy easier than ever.

As we begin to hand more of our decisions over to machines, organisations will be able to change the way they adapt their email solutions for each segment of customer. Companies capable of shifting to the new and abstract form of marketing will be able to distinguish themselves from the pack.

2.     Subscribers Will Have “Opt-Out” Options

Today’s marketers rely on processes that help them to deliver incredibly personalised emails. This means that more companies are using tracking on things like geolocation, behaviour, events, and weather to inform their emails. The only problem is that this degree of tracking has implications for privacy laws.

In order to give consumers the privacy that they deserve, greater restrictions are likely to be placed on marketers, which force them to give users the right to opt-out of many of the data points and tools that today’s brands take for granted. For instance, tracking click-through rates, open rates, and location might all be subject to opt-out features.

3.     The Machines are Coming

The number of emails sent and opened over the next few years is set to go through the roof. Fortunately, a lot of that noise will never have to be seen by human users. Instead, emails will be sent to machines that we want to keep informed. That means that marketers will need to learn how to write for robots too.

In order to serve the latest audience, marketers will need to adopt new tools and messaging strategies. Emails will begin to use more standardised data formats, and in the years ahead, new and improved formats will emerge.

4.     Emails Become Push Notifications

Mobile email clients are now the most popular way for consumers to read emails, with no less than 55% of emails opened on mobile devices. This shift from reading emails on monitors and laptops, to reading them on miniature screens has changed the way most emails are designed. Email copy has gotten shorter, and more focused.

As emails jump to the wearable market, they’ll need to get even smaller. By the time we reach 2020, there’s a good chance that some emails will be about the length of a subject line, with one heck of a powerful call to action.

5.     Emails Become Microsites

It’s not just a transformation to push notifications that we can expect either. Some emails will be transformed into microsites. The functionality of the inbox is being pulled in two directions. At one side, there’s an Apple watch that can’t show links or images, and the other end, there’s Apple Mail, and inboxes that support HTML5 video, code, and more.

In the future, the best inboxes will enable a range of interactions, allowing subscribers to purchase items from within an email marketing campaign – without having to leave their inbox. Additionally, campaigns will offer more app-like experiences, with embedded interactions and video.

The Future of Email

It’s safe to say that email marketing is a solid part of our everyday lives and something that will continue to deliver significant return for brands. Of course, as email, as we know it continues to grow and change, marketers will need to make sure that they’re ready to stay flexible and open to experimentation.

We’ve got one heck of a rollercoaster ride ahead.