Google has announced an exciting step forward for digital customer experience – the ability for Gmail users to see dynamic content inside emails (initially limited to the Gmail web interface).

What is dynamic email content, you ask?

If you imagine email as a static snapshot of content at the point in time that it was created – then dynamic content enables the recipient to view “dynamically updated” information from within the original email.

Take for example a developing news story – the original news release is sent out by email. A couple hours later, new information is uncovered. Instead of sending another email with the update, the news publication can add an update to the original email.

This new capability also promises to enable organisations to add sparkle and efficiency to their emails.

On their blog, Google gives a couple of examples of brands such as Pinterest and who have implemented dynamic content during the beta stage, to make the customer’s access to up-to-the-minute information even more efficient.

A customer no longer has to click through from the email to a web page to access up to date information, or a form, or the comments – brands can present that information directly within the original email. According to Google, seeing the comment threads, filling out forms or replying to comments inline directly from within the message itself, are just some of the applications of this new functionality.

Oh, how far we have come

Looking back, we’ve come a long way from the first ever email message sent in 1971. Over almost 50 years, email has evolved slowly but steadily – remember basic plain text emails? It seems each decade has a notable enhancement – late 1990s saw the introduction of imagery via HTML; late 2000s saw the roll out of responsive coding for mobile, and in the last couple years, the introduction of interactive emails.

Despite many sexier platforms entering and dominating the digital marketing conversation, email remains the top performer when it comes to return on investment for marketers. This should be no surprise – there are around 4-billion email users worldwide and email still shows a significantly higher click-through rate than social media – a campaign is six times more likely to get a click-through from an email than from a tweet, and email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

Through all of this, email has retained its core value proposition – the ability to connect authentically with another person in an information rich format.