Yahoo's new email service aims to cut through clutter

Smarter tools to personalise content will benefit direct marketers as more email moves to smartphone.

Yahoo: third-most-popular web-based email service
Yahoo: third-most-popular web-based email service

Yahoo’s new email service should enable direct marketers to provide better content to cut through the noise of what has become a cluttered advertising medium.

In a significant shift for the Verizon Media brand, Yahoo Mail now automatically groups people’s emails into "views" such as deals, travel and attachments. 

Users can "control email overload" with a one-tap "unsubscribe" tool and log on to the app with other email accounts. 

Helpfully for marketers, certain emails can be elevated to top of the inbox, such as commercial offers, package tracking and travel updates.

Andy Lane, managing partner at Wunderman Thompson UK, said customisation has become crucial for email, since more than half (53%) of all email is now read on the smaller screens of mobile devices and it needs to work harder to cut through "noise". 

"Gmail led the way and Outlook has really caught up, so anything which helps us as marketers enable better email content everywhere for customers is attractive," Lane said. "Spotlight on savings could be interesting – it’s something which I think all email providers need to do to give more relevance to the long-tail of emails, which customers never see. I think these have brought them in line; it’s now [about] how they take the next step with the functionality."

Much of this new functionality is made possible by users’ emails being electronically scanned, in a similar way that Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook do. There is also the opportunity to serve users ads based on their activity.

When asked by Campaign, Verizon Media would not say which keywords within emails are scanned, but pointed to its privacy policy and "state-of-the-art privacy dashboard that provides them the ability to access and manage their data".

On the privacy dashboard, users can select whether they want "personalised ads", which are generated based on "educated guesses about your interests based on your activity on our sites and services".

The spokesman added: "We use industry-standard technology to electronically optimise mail and facilitate fundamental functions of the product, such as spam prevention, personalisation, search features and product innovation."

Yahoo Mail is the world's third-most-popular web-based email service (not including Apple), with 6% of global market share, according to Litmus Email Analytics data from August. Gmail is by far the most popular (29%), followed by Outlook (10%).

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