Ed note: This is a guest post from Jordie van Rijn

Earlier this year, at FinovateEurope a new email marketing product was launched. Now I know most email marketeers aren’t that into finances and probably missed out on it, because the event was mainly about finance. But this launch is actually quite an exciting development, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Well you know about PDFs right? The new product is based on a PDF. But an interactive PDF. That is basically a mini-website inside your document on your local machine. It can have multiple ‘virtual pages’, you can sort data, have interactive graphs, group data and have animations and videos. Or just have multiple pages with text and visuals. You can host the PDF on a server and only include a link in the email, or you can send it as an attachment.

Take a look at the screenshot. The tabs are “virtual pages” and you can use forms in the PDF (yes also newsletter sign-up or preference centers), if I am not mistaken, the data can be updated in real time.

Global Card Interactive PDF in Email
The interactive PDF wasn’t first shown at Finovate for nothing. It can be locked with a password and you can use it to send bills, payment overviews and in this case a “one click payment”. The ESP that has developped this one click payment has always been focussed on digital billing so that is logical.

Will we see more interactive PDFs?

I believe this technology can be used for more than only billing, you can make a mini-website at a personal level and send it like a message. The experience you get from this is quite different than if you would go to a “real” mini-site, it still feels like a message and it still feels personal. Also the fact that you can easily update and keep it password protected brings quite some extra potential. There might be some concerns with the attachment(size) in some countries, or maybe some hesitation by readers to open attachments and you do need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the interactive PDFs. So there are some things to concider, but the possibilities are just as big.

For now it’s a usefull way to get your bills digal, with the possibility to add some extra’s. Some very cool extra’s.

Full disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with the ESP that launched this. But you have to give them some credit for this kind of innovation, it’s quite unique. You can see a movie with a Finovate presentation here.

Would you use an interactive PDF and for what? I’d love to see more services that use use interactive PDF’s. So if you know about any, please post them in the comments.

About the author

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant, with over 8 years of hands-on experience in e-mail and loyalty marketing. Founder of the email vendor selection website. He works with small and A-list brands to inncrease their email marketing succes. Regularly shareing his observations and thoughts via blog and speaking at events.