AWS Messaging & Targeting Blog
How Amazon Simple Email Service supported the growth of email in 2020
Over the last 12 months, organizations of all types have increasingly needed to stay connected to their customers. With the move to virtual interactions accelerating across industries, email has remained a trusted channel for customer communications. Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) has seen record outbound email traffic in 2020, supporting critical customer communications during COVID and commercial moments like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The importance of email during COVID
Unlike real-time communications like voice or live chat, email is asynchronous. It can be read and consumed at the customer’s leisure. In some geographies like North America, email also represents an individual’s unique identity, persisting longer than mobile phone numbers or social networking accounts. Even with the importance of email established before 2020, it was important to most organizations to send only the right messages during the COVID crisis.
Many organizations chose to decrease promotional or marketing emails during the pandemic voluntarily. This decrease in sending was to recognize the increased stress most individuals were facing in their personal lives. However, even with the drop in marketing emails across organizational types, there was an increased need to communicate and maintain customer engagement. Most organizations went through three distinct customer communication phases with email in 2020: React, Respond, and Reimagine.
- React – These were the initial emails sent to acknowledge the COVID crisis, occurring early in 2020. These emails included messages reinforcing commitment to customer health, employee safety, or communicating new cleaning protocols.
- Respond – These messages often included communication on the status of the business or event. Most businesses needed to communicate their transition to remote work, temporary closures, and many in-person events canceled.
- Reimagine – Throughout the crisis, organizations were reimagining how to do business. Healthcare started operating video consultations, and restaurants shifted to pick up/take out only. Email communication was vital to take customers on the journey into this “new normal,” even as some businesses started to reopen.
To send these customer communications at scale, many organizations worked with Amazon SES.
How Amazon SES scaled and supported customers in 2020
Amazon SES saw several sending spikes that aligned with organizations working to communicate with their customers during COVID. Nine times in 2020, transactions per second (TPS) in Amazon SES exceeding 150% of the previous record held by 2019 Black Friday. This over 150% TPS spike also occurred on 2020 Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In addition to supporting those upsurges in throughput, the Amazon SES team also responded to customer feedback on increasing the global footprint of Amazon SES. Since January, Amazon SES increased the total number of regions supported from 6 to 18, including the US government cloud. These additional regions were deployed during 2020 as the team worked remotely. This regional expansion enabled customers to adhere to local data sovereignty requirements for email sending while also improving performance.
Customers also told us they needed tools to help them manage compliance with important governance laws like CAN-SPAM and GDPR. Amazon SES released list management to help organizations manage their customer’s contact information and preferences.
As we move into 2021, email will remain at the forefront of customer communication channels. Enterprise customers like Netflix and Duolingo rely on Amazon SES to deliver their email at scale. For more information on how you can use Amazon SES, visit our website.