Say hello to Clutter, Outlook’s new, smarter “Junk” folder. Clutter captures emails that are not designated as spam, but the recipient has historically shown no interest in. Follow along as we explain what Clutter is + how it affects B2B email marketing.
What is Clutter?
Outlook’s Clutter is a new system for filtering out mailings that are marked “low-priority” or “uninteresting” based on past and current engagement levels. The functionality is similar to the Junk Email folder already in Outlook, but these emails aren’t spam. They’re just mailings that have proven to be less likely opened by the recipient, based on previous open and click behavior.
How does Outlook’s Clutter work?
You might have missed this new feature, as the Clutter folder looks just like any other folder in Outlook’s Inbox. Clutter works automatically, as long as the feature is enabled in the Outlook Web App (OWA), but it can be turned on or off by the user at any time.
Emails won’t be immediately segmented into Clutter. It takes Outlook a little while to learn your mailing preferences and behavior before it begins flagging emails. You can facilitate this process by manually using the “move to clutter” feature or flagging them as clutter.
Once Outlook learns your behavior and engagement levels with certain types of mailings (based on sender and recipients), it applies the same rules to those emails going forward.
As Clutter adds mailings from the inbox to the Clutter folder, you’ll receive a summary email from Outlook of the number of mailings from certain senders that have been removed from Inbox. You can quickly scan the mailings in your Clutter folder and move any relevant emails back to your Inbox.
(It’s important to note that Clutter can disproportionately affect B2B marketers, because they’re more likely to be sending to a business (Outlook) email address.)
Cutting through the Clutter
How will Clutter impact email marketers? Keep your emails out of the Clutter box by sending relevant, high-quality mailings customers will want to open and engage with. High engagement levels keep your emails in recipients’ Inbox and out of Clutter.
Target, optimize and test! Target and segment your email list, so recipients only get mailings relevant to them. Optimize your subject line, call to action, and mailing body to boost opens and clicks. Test and tailor until you get consistent high engagement levels.
Watch your Outlook Clutter folder, as the system learns your engagement levels. Save your mailings from routing to Clutter by sending targeted messages to segmented groups that will find your mailings interesting and relevant to them (you should already be doing this). Gone are the days of batch and blast, so target, optimize, and test to your advantage.