Last week, Hotmail announced it would be offering its users a new inbox experience: Outlook.com.
Most of the updates have to do with the look and feel of the user's inbox. It's cleaner, sleeker, more like Microsoft's desktop Outlook product. It will also integrate more closely users' social connections within their email stream. They take a bit of a jab at Gmail by saying "your personal conversations won't be used to target you with ads." We'll see if users decide they prefer their privacy to relevance as Hotmail inboxes migrate to the Outlook.com experience. (Gmail just announced today that they finally top Hotmail for largest number of monthly active users.)
Here are a few screenshots of the new layout (click each to view):
The biggest gasp for email marketers was the realization that some or all of our hotmail subscribers may suddenly have a new email address: a scary thought for deliverability! How can we get into the inbox if the address someone signed up with just changes? The good news is that many users won't change their address (right away). The email address change is not automatic and not required in order to get the new Outlook.com inbox look and feel.
It is pretty easy — as in, just a few clicks — to change over to an @outlook.com email address, though. And if Hotmail/Outlook users select to, they can start with a brand new fresh (empty) inbox and wipe out any legacy subscriptions and emails.
My advice: keep an eye on your engagement and bounce rates specifically at @hotmail.com over the next few months.
If you notice high bounce rates, especially, it may be worth it to segment out all your hotmail.com email addresses to send them a special invite to update their email address in your list. If you use the emfluence Marketing Platform for your email marketing, you can find all your hotmail.com email addresses using the Domain Split feature in the Contacts section.