Salesforce Acquires Rebel, Brings ‘Magical’ Interactivity to Email Marketing

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Rebel announced its forthcoming acquisition by Salesforce at the tail-end of last week. Rebel provide a platform for creating “email that doesn’t play by the rules”, emails delivering interactive experiences, by turning the humble email into an extension of websites or apps. Brands are empowered to send emails with a competitive edge, and stand out in any crowded inbox.

It’s an exciting acquisition that B2C marketers customers will benefit from, once it joins the Salesforce Marketing Cloud suite. Although no details of the acquisition have been disclosed, there’s plenty to talk about…

Why Email, why Rebel, why now?

We could say we’re entering an email renaissance.

Email marketing in B2C organisations grew 106% within a 2 year period, according to Salesforce’s ‘State of Marketing’ report. Not growth we would expect from an older channel like email. It’s persistently popular and lucrative; however, it’s now all about multi-channel alignment: using email in coordination with websites and apps.

The ‘magical’ experiences that Rebel provide include in-email shopping, reviews and embedded forms. Surfacing these interfaces in email guarantees a higher rate of engagement and removes friction, now that subscribers can take these actions without leaving the email message. I bet this makes email marketers sit up and listen as interactive components, like those listed, have traditionally lacked compatibility with email.


Above: Rebel Shop in action. 

Rebel is made up of 4 products:

  • Rebel Shop:

    Turn emails into a shop’ – one-click checkout in-email, supported by major commerce platforms (including Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Magento, Hybris, ATG).

  • Rebel Mail:

    web functionality into emails, and deploy with a range of email service providers*

Above: Quiz embedded in-email, delivered by Rebel Email. 

  • Rebel Actionable API:

    ‘Turn email into a surface for your application’ – launched as a platform for email developers to let their imagination loose. Bring app functionality into emails, such as appointment booking.

  • Rebel Lite API:

    a lighter version with reduced in-email analytics.

*although it’s predictable that these will be discontinued under Salesforce ownership – to be confirmed. 

Above: take a peek at Rebel Builder. 

Final Thoughts

Rebel is a promising new member of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Not only will it empower B2C marketers to breathe life into tired emails, more importantly, help execute multi-channel marketing.

It’s a trail Salesforce want to blaze for its customers, making Marketing Cloud a no-brainer choice for the world’s most innovative brands. Other commentators have pointed out that this is the next installment in the Salesforce-Adobe tensions that have been rising recently, following the Marketo acquisition. In the race to win in the email marketing space, ultimately the end customer wins.

As always, when Rebel functionality will become available in the Marketing Cloud suite is unknown – let’s keep our eyes and ears open.

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