Email 2.0: Making Email Cool Again – Part 3
Written by
Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain

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Email 2.0: Making Email Cool Again – Part 3

Published : March 22, 2024

Part 1 and Part 2 covered the introduction, evolution, and benchmarks for email. I discuss the innovations that make email cool again in this part.


In multiple conversations I have had with marketers through the past months, two problems have stood out: rapidly rising customer acquisition cost (CAC) and the need for zero/first-party data. The outcome of increasing CAC is visible in the advertising revenues of Google, Meta, and Amazon, which together generated over $350 billion and are growing 30-40% growth rates.

Brands are competing aggressively to acquire new customers and paying more each year for new customer acquisition. This is an arms race that will prove detrimental to brand profitability. The only way out is to build deep relationships with existing customers and reduce the wasteful spending (what I call ‘AdWaste’) on reacquisition and wrong acquisition.

The first step brands need to take in building these deep relationships is to solve the problem of attention recession and build a ‘pipe’ (hotline) to existing customers. This is where email comes in. Through the past two decades, it has been a great friend of marketers and continues to deliver the best ROI. 

Over the years, there have been improvements in the email experience: anti-spam filters have continuously improved to help cleanse the inbox of spam and unsolicited messages, and innovations like segmentation, personalization, BIMI, STO (send time optimization), and SLO (subject line optimization) on the back-end are all helping improve relevance.But there is trouble in paradise. New push messaging channels (RCS, SoIP, and WhatsApp) have brought interactivity and two-way engagement. Measurement challenges are rising in email with Apple’s privacy initiatives and image caching done by both Apple’s email client and Gmail.

The big questions, therefore, are:

  • Can email step up to solve the marketer’s CAC and data challenges?
  • What is the solution to attention recession?
  • Can email improve engagement from its low rates?
  • Can it serve as the base for a reliable pipe to enable brands to communicate reliably to their customer base?
  • How can the email experience be modernized and made interactive?
  • How is Email 2.0 different from Email 1.0?
Email revolution via email 2.0 - Netcore Cloud

It is this world of brand-customer engagement that Email 2.0 seeks to conquer.

Hooked Score is the starting point to focus on – it is a metric to measure engagement intensity at an individual level, shifting the conversation from aggregate opens/clicks to stickiness and streaks.

AMP makes emails dynamic, interactive, and real-time by enabling apps and micro websites to be embedded inside emails.

Ems combines microcontent and stories to make emails a daily utility in the lives of end customers and improve the mental availability of the brand.

Atomic Rewards brings gamification and micro-incentives to enable marketers to nudge customer behavior.

Progency (product-led agency) extends the internal brand execution team by combining the product, professionals, and process to deliver KPIs and get paid based on performance.

Taken together, these five innovations of Email 2.0 can engineer the habit revolution by making email cool again, enable marketers to cut wasteful adtech spending and collect more customer data, and empower CMOs improve revenues and profits.

Email innovations combined with smart execution and better measurement - Netcore Cloud

Hooked Score

Hooked Score shifts the focus from measuring just aggregate opens and clicks to (a) measuring stickiness and streaks and (b) getting these metrics for individuals. It can create cohorts based on engagement intensity. A simple way to measure Hooked Score is to use a multi-point exponential moving average. This places greater importance on recent actions.

Streaks are very important for marketers but haven’t received adequate attention. The goal must be to ensure that every message sent is being read and engaged with. It means creating an email habit. If this is not being measured, marketers have no hope of improving it.

The current focus is on campaigns – segmenting the email base, sending out a common message to that base, and measuring the campaign’s efficacy. While the overall numbers are useful, marketers need to shift focus to thinking of their customers at the receiving end of the campaigns.

Hooked score measures habit creation: focus on stickiness, and engagement intensity

Here are some of my past writings on Hooked Score:

Martech’s Magicians: Microns, Micronbox, and µniverse:

“One of the key objectives is to win the transaction upstream game. This means focusing on attention, engagement, and habits. A simple way to measure this is to track all the actions that a customer does with the brand communications and properties.”

Email2: Energizing Engagement:

“First, measure Hooked Score for all email subscribers. Also, calculate aggregate, average, and median scores. This can also be done for the past 6 months to get a trendline of change. As a side project, Hooked Scores can also be correlated with each customer’s CLV (customer lifetime value).

Second, a goal can now be set for the email engagement team. Let us say the target is to double the aggregate Hooked Score over a year, which means it needs to grow 6% monthly. The email engagement team can then create its own tasks: they could focus on reactivation of the inactive base (those with Hooked Score of 0) or do a branding series with existing customers to drive greater engagement. As another side project, the team can track changes in Hooked Score with NRR (Net Revenue Retention).”

Continued in Part 4

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Written By: Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain
Founder and Group MD, Netcore Cloud