Our Top 6 Insights and Takeaways from Litmus Live

And just like that, Litmus Live 2022—the premier email event of the year—is over. We had a blast connecting with email geeks from all over the globe, especially our speakers, who left us with tons of ideas and inspiration to fuel our own email program.

With day one and day two in the books, what were our biggest learnings? Read on for top insights and takeaways from Litmus Live 2022.

Missed Litmus Live 2022? Or want to rewatch your favorite sessions? Get access to all session with a Litmus Live MAX ticket →

Look at your open rate at the destination level

Jeanne Jennings (General Manager, Only Influencers), Lauren Meyer (CMO, SocketLabs), Elizabeth Jacobi (Founder, MochaBear Marketing), and Luke Glasner (Principal, Glasner Consulting) hosted an interactive quiz with tips on how to elevate your email metrics game.

When asked how Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) impacts deliverability, Meyers explained what open rates really indicate.

“Open rates were never super accurate to begin with, if we’re being honest. It was really just a lot of activity to say, ‘Well, we think that they opened. We fired a pixel.’ That’s really what an open rate is—the firing of a pixel.

We’re seeing some changes in the way open rates look: inflated in some cases, and in others, a drop—which would tell you, your mail is probably going to the spam folder. The reason for that is Apple MPP (and all the other non-human interaction services that are firing these pixels) don’t do that when mail is going to the spam folder. That’s why it’s important to look at your open rate at the destination level, said Meyers.”

The key to making sense of open rates? Look at them over a long period of time; watch for trends and activity that stands out as abnormal. 

Take data visualization to the next level by applying AMP 

When it comes to displaying data in email, should you be using images? While it’s simple to add an image of a chart or graph in email, it has its disadvantages, including:

  • Data cannot be viewed if image auto-load is turned off
  • Data in images is static and cannot be updated
  • Image sizes can be large, which can add to the total email load time without optimization
  • Not compatible in Dark Mode

A solution to this? Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) email. Instead of static imagery, you can make your data visualization a better experience with AMP. Benjamin Djang (Creative Technologist at The Washington Post) showed attendees how during his session—including step-by-step guidance and tools for AMP email development.

Try a semantic-first approach to email code

When emails are built with rigid table layouts—which is typically used for building Outlook emails—it isn’t ideal for creating responsive layouts or accessibility. Mark Robbins (Software Engineer, Salesforce Marketing Cloud) urges email developers to take a semantic-first approach instead.

“By default, semantic code is built to be accessible because we are using the correct tool for the job,” said Robbins. He walked attendees through how to think about email code in a semantic-first way for better accessibility, fewer bugs, and future-proof code. 

Robbins also shared a few resources from his talks:

Don’t forget to include a web version

Every year, Live Email Optimization is one of our most popular Litmus Live sessions. Attendees sent in their emails for feedback from Litmus’ own email team—Jaina Mistry (Director of Email Marketing), Carin Slater (Email Marketing Specialist), and Hannah Tiner (Email Design and Production Specialist).

During the session, an attendee asked about the importance of including “view web version” links in emails. Their response?

“Every email we send at Litmus has one. We put it on top in the newsletter and some transactional emails, but it’s mostly in the email footer. It’s good to include if someone wants to see the email in browser versus inbox,” said Slater.

Most importantly, Mistry added that it aids in accessibility, “If a subscriber’s email client doesn’t allow for screen readers, their web browser might.” 

Respect the limitations of email design

One of our Live Email Optimization session attendees also questioned whether it’s a best practice to include the same categories from your website  in your email.

Slater explained that first and foremost, your email should have a goal. ”If people click on your product categories more than your email, you may want to rethink what’s in your email.” 

“Don’t try to make email do what the web can already do,” advised Tiner. “If your website is going to have all those categories for you, just leave it to the web.”

Don’t be a bad guest with all image emails

Carin Slater (Email Marketing Specialist, Litmus), Anne Tomlin (Owner, Emails Y’all), Shani Nestingen (Lead Email Product Designer/Developer, Target) discussed why image-only emails make you a “bad guest” in subscribers inboxes during their Litmus Live session.

Think about the guest-host relationship when you check in at a hotel, and the respect it entails. “That relationship is very similar to a subscriber and sender,” said Tomlin. 

“All image emails are usually done because a brand wants to retain its look and feel,” explained Tomlin. “We get that, but your email needs to include the fundamentals, so that every subscriber can easily consume and interact with your email.” These include:

  • Accessibility
  • Data usage
  • Errant clicks
  • Mobile scaling
  • Searchability

Learnings for a lifetime

Already feeling nostalgic for Litmus Live 2022? Good news: you can rewatch all sessions from the event! With a Litmus Live MAX ticket, you’ll get post-event access to all live and on-demand sessions (and even Litmus Live 2021 sessions) for an entire year.

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