Adapting to a Multi-Device World: A Utility Company's Perspective
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Adapting to a Multi-Device World: A Utility Company's Perspective

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How do you adapt email strategy and design to perform in the new multi-device landscape? This case study of Portland General Electric will take a look at the challenges presented by PGE’s highly......

How do you adapt email strategy and design to perform in the new multi-device landscape? This case study of Portland General Electric will take a look at the challenges presented by PGE’s highly mobile customer base and how creating simplified, responsive templates led to improved engagement, not just on mobile, but across the board.
We’ll cover:
Strategy - PGE’s audience and modeling content and strategy around mobile friendly design
Design - A dive into the design methods and patterns used to make PGE’s campaigns user friendly regardless of device
Results - A deeper look at how the redesign has performed, including increased engagement on mobile & desktop
Looking Forward - How can multi-device engagement be improved in the future? A look at where we see multi-device engagement heading in the coming future.

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  • PGE  -1.5 million customersCommercial and residential power provider.
  • Active in the communitySponsor parks and campgroundsPromote sustainable energy Support environmental protection initiativesEmail is large method of communicationPromotional, customer alerts, newsletters
  • Being a utility company…Far more diverse than your average listMarketing to entire city/regionEmail marketers have subset of population – niche, assumed behaviors
  • Forever 21– 60% of online purchases are from womenMore actionable contentCater content to demo
  • Thrillist – men tend to click earlier in the day than womenCater deployment and strategy
  • PGE’s audience is diverseAgeGenderSocioeconomic statusCater to the cross-demographics
  • Advantage – City of PortlandPortlandia slide –Cartoonish representationBut Portland truly has a unique culture
  • Socially liberalRecycling binsGreen mass transitPGE in on it – offering green/renewable energy as option
  • Vibrant local food and drink sceneHip and trendy cultureTech forward societyLocated on silicon forest –similar to silicon valleyApple software engineering, HP, Oracle, Yahoo! have bases thereInfer that audience would access via mobile device
  • Juxtaposed against Home ConnectionMonthly newsletter400,000 residential customers – anyone with an email address essentially.Suppress unengaged and inactive customersSubscribers cross several demographics.
  • Prior to redesign engagement…Used “mobile first” approach for promoSuccess – increased CTRs, 1 column translates across devicesLimiting for a newsletter
  • “Mobile optimized” newsletterStacked navigation at top, sidebar at bottom1 breakpoint – bad for big phones, small tabletsAnything bigger than 480 px received full scale, has to pinch to zoomLarge amounts of contentTable of contents/anchor linksPeople don’t interact with email like printPrint – shelf lifeEmails - expendableTable of contents largely ineffective
  • Overwhelming aspectBeing used to create web traffic via “Pay Your Bill” “View Your Account”Needed redesignUser experience –digest content, 5 articles
  • Overwhelming aspectBeing used to create web traffic via “Pay Your Bill” “View Your Account”Needed redesignUser experience –digest content, 5 articles
  • Overwhelming aspectBeing used to create web traffic via “Pay Your Bill” “View Your Account”Needed redesignUser experience –digest content, 5 articles
  • Quantify the need to move to responsiveMobile open rates – peaked around 40%KPIs – become stagnant into end of 2012Needed to reengage audienceNeeded to change to break friction – email from electric company
  • Quantify the need to move to responsiveMobile open rates – peaked around 40%KPIs – become stagnant into end of 2012Needed to reengage audienceNeeded to change to break friction – email from electric company
  • Business opportunities our strategy team was seeingone of the major design goals - Mobile first designimportant to address Mobile readership growth
  • analyze existing newslettersbasic improvements to content and design to simplify user experience1st thing - several elements we could get rid of without losing any valuetable of contents - anchor links - little customer engagement -large amount of vertical and horizontal spacing
  • wanted to test dropping preheader text and vamp
  • after what could be strippedworked out placement of remaining contentnav, article format & layout, sub stories, footer elements prioritizedanalytics and previous customer engagementold designs - fighting for priority
  • single column main layout - MF simplicity & seamless experience small & largenow - singular focus and approp. visual weight given priority and importancefluid design - no major breakpoints
  • as you can see - bottom portionone area didn't opt for single columnpreviously in the sidebarcouple of requirements1.) always below primary 2.) minimize vertical spacing 3.) variable number
  • card or tombstone patterntake up half the vertical space on large screensallows for easy stacking as viewport shrinks50% or 100% widtheven or oddclient desired flexibility
  • card or tombstone patterntake up half the vertical space on large screensallows for easy stacking as viewport shrinks50% or 100% widtheven or oddclient desired flexibility
  • card or tombstone patterntake up half the vertical space on large screensallows for easy stacking as viewport shrinks50% or 100% widtheven or oddclient desired flexibility
  • One of the main roadblocks we hear about when it comes to responsive design is how to handle navigation.
  • One of the main roadblocks we hear about when it comes to responsive design is how to handle navigation.
  • scannabilityspeak to now seeing higher engagement in stories
  • scannabilityspeak to now seeing higher engagement in stories
  • focusing on simplicity and a single column fluid design and purposely keeping design elements lean and mobile first, we were able to create a nice cross-device experience with only a few major breakpoint shifts.tweakpointsdive in moreux & visual appeal
  • focusing on simplicity and a single column fluid design and purposely keeping design elements lean and mobile first, we were able to create a nice cross-device experience with only a few major breakpoint shifts.tweakpointsdive in moreux & visual appeal
  • As you can see here. All of these design decisions combine to create a nice user experience for every customer, no matter what their screen size or which device they happening to be reading the email from.
  • ResultsDescribe last send of old templateKPIsCTR rates immediately increased 20% MOM6 mo. rolling average increased 21% - sustained growthCombined with PGE’s effort to create engaging contentDramatically increased CTRLast send of old template to June send – increased 112% (2.92% to 6.21%)
  • Mobile OpensFindings are timelyMobile readership continues to growAddressed the need earlyMore effective communication with audienceManner in which audience is demanding
  • Business ConnectionRetrospective – updated all newsletter templates at the same timeWorked for HC, different for B2BB2B audience – desktop open rates as high as 70%B2B stagnation at end of 2012, similar to HCApplied similar responsive and design techniquesResponsive not as big of an impactSimplification and clarification principles were effective
  • BC is bimonthly, implemented in AprilOR increased 53%CTR increased 72 %
  • BC is bimonthly, implemented in AprilOR increased 53%CTR increased 72 %
  • stats show - mobile first design worked wellcan it be extrapolated to a larger scale to tell something about email marketing
  • PGE does have a few key things that show that this may be a trend across the whole industryPGE's wide ranging demographics for one provides a good representation of the general industry that other niche companies can't represent nearly as well if you're talking about a company such as GoPro for instance that has a very tech savvy audience that doesn't represent the general market nearly as well60-70%44% of overall open
  • 1.5 billion new smartphones by 2015customers now smaller screensat the same time
  • 144.8 billion emails - 4 billion Facebook - 500 million tweetsThe combination of smallerdevices and increased amounts of information means that overly heavy amounts of content and overly complex design simply don't work anymore.Providing customers with easily digestible content & simple designs that make for quick interactions is the way forwardPGEMore and more examples like this are emerging every day. Buckle, Product Review, 146% customer interaction
  • All of this points to the fact that the answer for email going forward is to Simplify. Simplify content. Simplify interactions. and Simplify design.

Transcript

  • 1. Target Audience
  • 2. Litmus Reading Environment Desktop Mobile Webmail
  • 3. KPIs - January – December 2012 Open Rate Click-through Rate Click-to-Open Rate
  • 4. is.gd/tedc13
  • 5. is.gd/tedc13
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  • 7. is.gd/tedc13
  • 8. is.gd/tedc13
  • 9. is.gd/tedc13
  • 10. is.gd/tedc13
  • 11. is.gd/tedc13
  • 12. KPIs - Jun 2012 – Jun 2013 21% 20% Open Rate Click-through Rate 112% Click-to-Open Rate
  • 13. Litmus Reading Environment 26% Desktop Mobile Webmail
  • 14. KPIs - Jan – Dec 2012 B2B Newsletter Open Rate Click-through Rate Click-to-Open Rate
  • 15. KPIs - June ‘12 – June ‘13 B2B Newsletter 72% Open Rate Click-through Rate Click-to-Open Rate
  • 16. Simplify