The Wall Street Journal reported the other day that news email subscription TheSkimm is rolling out a paid premium service. For some industries – mainly tech, politics, and news – the emergence of the email newsletter as the product has proved successful, with brands like CB Insights, Mattermark, and others using newsletters as either the crux of their product or as part of its primary value proposition.
The death of email has been long-forecast, particularly in light of the skyrocketing popularity of chat apps like Slack, WhatsApp, Line, and others – all of which is made more interesting by experimentation in the field of chat apps: people don’t use email for mobile payments or stickers or location sharing like they do on Facebook Messenger. Content producers have even started using chat apps as storytelling platforms.
And yet, email persists, and has proved a remarkably resilient medium, with even non-newsletter services like Pocket using email as a means of integrating sponsored content. Email works well this way — app developers can avoid diluting the purity of their product’s experience, while also monetizing in a subtle way that allows sponsors to easily track ROI.
I would suggest that given the ephemerality of messaging – ahem, Snapchat – email has transitioned to being a place to store permanent messages, to keep things of greater importance, and, therefore, has also become a medium on which firms can build services better-suited to more intense, longer-form content.