One trend that topped predictions this year was email. That's because it continues to be the channel that gives marketers the biggest bang for their buck.

Here's a look at five email trends marketers should keep an eye on (and use to their advantage) to maximize their ROI.

1. Mobile keeps gathering speed

If you're still debating the importance of a dedicated mobile email strategy, consider this: In 2015, mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic for the first time. And e-commerce sales show a similar trend with mobile accounting for $13 billion of all online sales during the 2015 holiday season, an increase of 59% from 2014.

Mobile is clearly here to stay—and that's a good thing. An inbox in the pockets of 186 million people is a game changer for marketers.

To be a player in that game, marketers must focus on creating content for mobile readers and on using responsive design to ensure emails are as attractive and engaging on a smartphone as they are on a 15-inch monitor. After all research shows more than 71% of people will delete an email immediately when it doesn't display correctly.

Take advantage of the mobile-optimized templates offered by email service providers. If you don't have that option, create simple changes to make emails more attractive on mobile devices. Think single-column design, more white space, calls-to-action in the form of buttons to tap, and shorter subject lines.

2. Recipients get real value in their inbox

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image of Cynthia Price

Cynthia Price is the vice-president of marketing at Emma, a provider of best-in-class email marketing software and services that help marketers do their best work.

LinkedIn: Cynthia Price