The decade challenge — Email

iPads, Amazon Alexa, Slack, Instagram, and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes. What do all of these things have in common? They didn’t exist at the beginning of this decade. 

As the year comes to a close, you may have seen your friends and family participating in the “the decade challenge,” where a person shares side-by-side photos of themselves at the beginning and end of the decade. So we’re going to do the same thing for email. 

Unlike pumpkin spice lattes, email did exist in 2009. It wasn’t great — but luckily, email has gone through some major changes in the last 10 years that have improved the security and usability of this tool, both for businesses and for consumers.

So here’s a look at email at the start and end of this decade, highlighting five of the biggest changes from the past 10 years.

  1. Visual presentation is better for brands and consumers

The most apparent change is in the way email looks. The majority of email clients provide powerful features and functionality with a clean and simplified UI. And with 42% of email being opened on smartphones or tablets, email design has shifted to provide the same powerful tools in the form of an app accessible on tablets and mobile devices.

The visual evolution isn’t over yet. New standards like BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) will soon create a richer inbox experience for end users through the use of brand elements in the inbox — and as it does that, BIMI will also help grow the adoption of secure email practices and extend brand reach in email. 

Before and after BIMI: 

  1. Spam is mostly solved

Spam filters have improved dramatically, to the point that inboxes like this are a thing of the past. (If you still want to win $300,000 INSTANTLY, you can always check your spam folder.)

While most spam messages no longer make it to the inbox, we now have a bigger problem to worry about: phishing attacks. What makes modern phish so dangerous is that they don’t use malicious links and the kinds of obvious scams that are caught by spam filters. Instead, they manipulate the sender identity of the email to make it appear to come from a trusted source — often without including any links or suspicious content at all. 

Fortunately, Valimail’s Sender Identity Platform catches these attacks. 

  1. Most email is business-to-business and business-to-consumer

Email is far from dead, but it is being used in a different way. Messaging platforms like Slack and Whatsapp provide a simple way to carry out most day-to-day communication among consumers. But email still leads as the most effective way to connect with partners, prospects, and customers.  

  1. Most messages are now authenticated with SPF and DKIM 

Valimail’s research program has tracked authentication usage across multiple industries. Our latest numbers show that more than 80% of domains in most industry categories use SPF as an authentication method. It’s considered a best practice not only in security, but marketers know that it also helps boost email deliverability. 

The shift to cloud services makes mechanisms like SPF and DKIM even more important as they allow other services (like Marketo, MailChimp, and cloud services used for HR and payroll) to send email using your corporate domain. And since mail isn’t only originating from a single server in your office, these standards are critical for maintaining sender identity in a cloud environment. 

  1. DMARC is growing exponentially

Although the DMARC standard has only been around since 2012, the growth in its adoption has been impressive. In the past 3 years alone, there has been a 5x increase in the number of DMARC records worldwide with over 850,000 domains using DMARC. 

Why all the hype? DMARC eliminates the most dangerous type of phishing attack: exact-domain impersonation.

Check here to see if your domain is protected by DMARC. 

The developments in email might not be as futuristic as being able to yell at Alexa to order you a pumpkin spice latte. But they are huge improvements in the usability and security of a tool that most of us use every day. And when you order that latte, you’re probably getting the receipt via email. So isn’t it good to know that it will arrive in your inbox safely — without a bunch of spam and phish alongside it? 

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