Here is a quick summary of some of the more important and/or interesting news stories on email marketing to cross the transom this week:

Inbox Management Enjoys Spotlight at InboxLove Conference (via GigaOm)
A conference in Mountain View, CA on Wednesday called InboxLove attracted a crowd of engineers and entrepreneurs from the inbox management space. What’s the inbox management space? It’s this burgeoning industry of startups and new products aimed at helping consumers prioritize, filter, archive and otherwise triage all their emails. New studies and products are in the news daily, like this article by the BBC on the psychology of why it’s so hard to manage our inboxes, and this new release by erstwhile juggernaut AOL called Alto (which is a pretty nifty piece of software, by the way). Inbox management is a really important trend for email marketers to follow because it can fundamentally alter how consumers interact with messages, which impacts metrics in the near-term and will ultimately dictate new best practices.

Email Timing Matters More (via Marketing Sherpa)
The other email trade meme this week was on the timing of emails. A number of different studies hit the market, each of which analyzed some vast number of messages to determine when most are sent and how engagement metrics vary by time of day. The link above points to an infographic on Marketing Sherpa which covers one of the studies, but the others are directionally similar. The gist is that the longer emails sit in inboxes, the less likely they are to receive attention. So we need to send when people are checking their inboxes. Messages sent at 8am and 9am have the highest open and click rates, with another spike at around 3pm and then one smaller spike at 8pm. Mobile email is extending the effective sending day, allowing marketers to send before people are at their desks and after they’ve gone home.

Return Path Acquires Data Integration Company Context.IO (via The Next Web)
Boy has Return Path been busy. After launching a whole new suite of competitive intelligence tools a couple weeks ago, they announced this week their acquisition of the Canadian Data Integration Company Context.IO (as well as being named one of the “Top 50 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune Magazine). What Context.IO does is make email data available to developers so that it can be integrated within applications, such as collaboration tools and CRM. It does not have direct and immediate implications for email marketers, though any activity around harvesting email data only underscores the value of the channel. Whenever I see announcements like this one, it’s pretty clear that the future of email is bright.

Emails of the Presidential Candidates Compared by Key Performance Indicators (via Return Path)
I told you Return Path had been busy. Also this week they published a pretty insightful analysis of the email programs of the presidential campaigns, taking a look at list size, inbox placement, read rate, immediate delete rate, spam complaints, pass along percentage, priority inbox percentage and other metrics. It’s all pretty fascinating, even if you’re growing weary of the campaign.

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