The Complete Guide to Creating Engaging Interactive Emails

Interactive emails are taking over inboxes everywhere. But how exactly do you create these engagement-boosting messages? This guide will explore everything from types of interactive elements to real-world examples, top creation tools, performance metrics, and more. By the end, you’ll have all the insights needed to start crafting emails that convert and captivate audiences. So let’s dive in to the exciting world of interactive email marketing!

Page Contents

What are Interactive Emails and Why are They Important?

Interactive emails allow recipients to engage directly with content and take actions within the email, rather than having to click through to a website. They incorporate dynamic and interactive elements that bring emails to life.

Definition and Examples of Interactive Emails

An interactive email typically contains elements like:

  • Forms and surveys
  • Quizzes and polls
  • Shopping carts
  • Expandable content sections
  • Image carousels
  • Interactive images and buttons
  • Games and puzzles
  • Videos
  • GIFs

These elements allow the recipient to click, tap, hover, scroll and otherwise interact with the email content.

For example, an interactive email could contain:

  • A short product quiz to help recommend items to buy
  • An image carousel to browse new catalog items
  • A feedback survey form to collect customer opinions
  • An interactive receipt showing items purchased
  • A scratch card that reveals a special offer code

The key is creating an experience for the subscriber within the email, not just passive content.

Benefits of Using Interactive Emails

There are several key reasons why interactive emails can be highly effective:

Provide a More Engaging Experience

Interactive elements catch the reader’s attention and entice them to actively participate with the email, rather than just passively reading it. This boosts engagement.

Reduce Friction and Increase Conversions

By allowing actions like surveys and purchases directly within the email, there is less friction compared to clicking through to a website. This can increase desired conversions.

Gain Valuable Insights

The interactions and data collected within an interactive email, such as form submissions and poll responses, provide valuable user insights.

Higher Open and Click-Through Rates

Interactive emails tend to have more opens and clicks. A Litmus study showed 2x more opens and 3x more clicks compared to regular emails.

Improved Brand Perception

Creative interactive emails can improve brand perception by showcasing innovation and providing an enjoyable experience.

Stats Showing Effectiveness of Interactive Emails

The data clearly shows that interactive email performs better than static options:

  • According to Salesforce, interactive emails deliver 2-3x higher unique open rates.
  • Experian found that interactive emails showed 19% higher unique clicks than static emails.
  • Mailchimp reported that emails with interactive content had 63% higher unique click rates.
  • Campaign Monitor showed emails with interactive content had 42% higher unique open rates.

Clearly, adding interactive elements provides substantial engagement and performance benefits compared to plain text emails according to data from multiple sources.

In summary, interactive emails enable exciting new possibilities like in-email transactions, surveys, personalization and gamification that capture attention and provide immense value. The data shows significantly higher open rates, click rates, and conversions. Any brand looking to take their email marketing to the next level should be experimenting with interactive content.

Different Types of Interactive Email Elements

There are many creative ways to build interactivity into your email campaigns. Here are some of the most popular interactive elements being used by top brands:

Forms and Surveys

Forms and surveys allow recipients to provide direct feedback and input within the email. This provides tremendous value for market research and customer satisfaction tracking.

For example, you could include:

  • A short product satisfaction survey
  • A quiz to determine subscriber preferences
  • A mailing list signup form
  • A contest entry form
  • A feedback form after a purchase
  • An event registration form

Tips for using forms/surveys:

  • Keep them short and concise
  • Only ask valuable questions tied to clear goals
  • Make form fields clearly visible
  • Use radio buttons or dropdowns instead of free text when possible
  • Thank users after submitting

Litmus has a great post covering best practices for interactive forms in email.

Shopping Carts

For ecommerce brands, this can significantly increase purchase conversion rates from emails by reducing friction.

In-email shopping carts let customers add products to a cart and checkout directly from the email, avoiding the need to visit the website.

Example shopping cart use cases:

  • Send a summary of a customer’s cart if they previously abandoned purchase
  • Allow pre-ordering upcoming products within an announcement email
  • Share personalized recommendations that can be added to cart

Considerations when adding a shopping cart:

  • Only show cart summary initially – allow viewing full cart and checking out after clicking a button
  • List prominent calls-to-action for checking out after cart items are added
  • Make sure cart syncs correctly with main ecommerce platform
  • Show updated total cart quantity/price when items are added

Quizzes and Polls

Engaging quiz or poll questions keep the reader actively involved. These can collect valuable data and lead to content recommendations.

Example types of quizzes/polls:

  • Personality tests to match subscriber attributes to products
  • Surveys to determine what content they want to see
  • Quizzes about brand trivia or product knowledge
  • Polls to get opinions, feedback and insights
  • Quizzes that reveal a discount code upon completion

Tips for effective polls/quizzes:

  • Keep them short, no more than 5-7 questions
  • Use conversational tone and even humor if appropriate
  • Show real-time results after participation
  • Use poll results to improve marketing through segmentation

Image Carousels

Image carousels allow scrolling through multiple images within the email, rather than just a single static image.

Benefits of using carousels:

  • Showcase more products, images, or stories
  • Demonstrate product features and capabilities
  • Highlight expanding collections and inventory
  • Visually tell a narrative across images

Image carousel best practices:

  • Limit carousels to 3-5 images to avoid overload
  • Make sure images are high resolution
  • Add descriptive captions for each image
  • Use obvious navigation like dots or arrows
  • Ensure entire carousel is visible on mobile


Videos can bring products or campaigns to life in a vivid way. However, support is still limited across email clients.

Ideal video use cases include:

  • Product demos and tutorials
  • Brand stories or “about us” videos
  • Announcements and new product releases
  • Customer testimonials
  • Animated explainers of key concepts

Tips for adding videos to emails:

  • Use short 1-3 minute video clips
  • Add thumbnail image fallback for unsupported clients
  • Link to YouTube or external page as backup
  • Use compressed file formats like MP4

Make sure to check out our full guide on adding video to email campaigns.

Animated GIFs

GIFs allow simple animation and visual interest. Though overuse can be annoying, subtle motion can capture attention when relevant.

Effective ways to use GIFs:

  • Show short product demonstrations
  • Animate logos, graphics or characters
  • Highlight moving features like rotation or bouncing
  • Draw attention to key messages
  • Set a scene or mood with subtle ambient motion

Recommended GIF guidelines:

  • Use 1-3 second short loop length
  • Keep image area small, maximum 25% of width
  • Make sure animation and movement are smooth
  • Avoid hyperactive or distracting movement
  • Use relevant motion for focus, don’t just animate for the sake of it

Hover Effects

Hover effects add interactivity on desktop by revealing content when the mouse hovers over an element.

Some ideas for hover effects:

  • Show more info when hovering over a product image
  • Change button color or shape on hover
  • Preview pop-up content before clicking trigger
  • Reveal an image caption on hover instead of static text
  • Expand navigation or menus on hover

Tips for effective hover effects:

  • Don’t hide essential info revealed only on hover
  • Change cursor to indicate interactive element
  • Provide mobile alternative since hover isn’t possible
  • Allow sufficient time to read content on hover
  • Avoid animations that trigger on every slight mouse move

Scratch Cards

Scratch card effects allow recipients to virtually scratch off an area in the email to reveal special hidden content.

Fun ways to use scratch cards:

  • Reveal discount promo codes or coupon codes
  • Show contest winner names or prize reveals
  • Uncover personalized content recommendations
  • Share exciting announcements and news
  • Redeem points or rewards to uncover deals

Best practices for scratch card emails:

  • Use brush stroke animations for scraping motion
  • Make sure entire scratch area is removable
  • Add fun sound effects or celebrations on reveal
  • Allow clicking to scratch for mobile users
  • Provide an alternate way to view hidden content


Accordions allow collapsing and expanding different email sections to show more content in less space.

Accordions are commonly used to:

  • Separate email content into logical sections
  • Show additional info for specific products
  • Segment by topic or category
  • Share FAQs or troubleshooting steps
  • List steps in a process or methodology

Tips for accordions:

  • Indicate accordion functionality with arrows or +/- icons
  • Animate open/close motion for smooth experience
  • Open the first accordion by default
  • Allow only one section open at a time
  • Use brief but descriptive headers for each section

Interactive Buttons

Buttons can include effects when clicked for greater interactivity. For example:


  • Toggle showing or hiding in-depth content
  • Expand accordion sections
  • Show more list items on click


  • Switch between different content views
  • Cycle through product images
  • Toggle between sections

Progressive Profile

  • Add or remove interest profile elements with each click
  • Progressively build a visual representation of preferences

Before & After

  • Show product then and now comparisons
  • View before/after images for tutorials
  • Show stock price changes over time

Interactive Images

Adding hotspots, zooming, 360 rotation and other effects makes still images more interactive.

Clickable Hotspots

  • Add touchpoints to guide or inform
  • Link parts of images to other content


  • Allow pinch/pull zooming on touch devices
  • Magnify areas on mouse hover or clicks

360 Rotations

  • Show full product views at any angle
  • Immerse with explorable environments

Parallax Scrolling

  • Add depth with layered images moving at different speeds

Image Effects

  • Change pictures on hover or touch
  • Animate motion effects like Ken Burns

The key with all types of interactive elements is enhancing engagement by letting the recipient take part rather than just passively consume. With creative combinations of different interactive components, email campaigns can become immersive experiences leading to higher satisfaction and conversions.

Tips for Creating Effective Interactive Emails

With great interactivity comes great responsibility. Interactive emails provide tremendous opportunities but also come with challenges. Here are expert tips to maximize the impact of your interactive email campaigns.

Include a Clear Call-to-Action

With so much going on in an interactive email, you still need to make your desired goal and next steps abundantly obvious.

An effective call-to-action:

  • Uses contrasting colors that attract attention
  • Provides precise direction on the action to take
  • Uses urgent phrasing like “Register Now” or “Buy Today”
  • Is strategically located near interactive elements

For example, an email with an integrated shopping cart should include a prominent CTA button above the cart prompting the user to check out.

Without a clear CTA guiding the recipient, interactivity may be ignored or misunderstood. Don’t leave things open to interpretation – tell subscribers exactly what you want them to do.

Make it Mobile Friendly

Litmus reports that over half of emails are opened on mobile. With interactive emails, mobile optimization is even more critical to ensure usability.

Tips for mobile-friendly interactive emails:

  • Use large touch targets for buttons and input fields
  • Avoid complicated multi-step interactions
  • Test on different mobile devices before sending
  • Don’t require precise hovering or complex gestures
  • Adjust layout dynamically for smaller screens

Also ensure interactive elements like carousels, surveys, and scratch cards function seamlessly on touchscreens. Mobile brings both opportunities and obstacles – plan accordingly.

Test Extensively Before Sending

The more complex an email, the more important testing becomes. Rigorously test your interactive emails to catch issues beforehand.

Recommended testing checklist:

  • Design tests – Ensure alignment, spacing, and responsiveness are pixel perfect
  • Content tests – Validate text accuracy, grammar, and tone
  • Functionality tests – Test all interactions in different environments
  • Rendering tests – Review render fidelity in common email clients
  • Cross-device tests – Verify behavior on desktop, mobile, tablets
  • Accessibility tests – Confirm emails are readable by screen readers

Ideally, leverage a service like Litmus for automated testing against dozens of clients, devices, and spam filters. The investment will pay dividends in deliverability and results.

Use a Simple and Intuitive Design

Don’t let interactivity become a distraction – the core email content and design should remain clean and scannable.

Elements to optimize:

  • Layout – Organize content logically into clear sections
  • Navigation – Make interactive elements easy to find
  • Flow – Maintain linear page flow from top to bottom
  • Density – Spread elements out, don’t overload space
  • Typography – Use quality fonts and sufficient white space
  • Color – Limit palette for clarity and accessibility

If recipients constantly have to hunt around the email to find things, you have a design problem. Interactive components should supplement the core content, not overwhelm it.

Provide Non-Interactive Fallback Options

Not all subscribers will be able to experience your email’s full interactivity due to email client limitations. Always provide alternatives.

Fallback options to consider:

  • Default to HTML content if interactivity doesn’t load
  • Show static image representations of dynamic content
  • Link to web-based version of surveys, carts etc.
  • Button to “turn off” unnecessary motion for accessibility
  • Offer plain text email alternative on request

Gracefully degrading the experience for non-supported clients ensures the core message still gets delivered, even if interactivity fails.

Balance Interactivity with Key Information

Don’t let interactivity sidetrack from your email’s purpose – highlight important info up front before diving into bells and whistles.

Best practices for balancing information with interactivity:

  • Summarize key details at start of email in clean static layout
  • Use interactive content below headlines for supplemental value
  • Link interactive elements torelated information
  • Break up lengthy sections of interactive content with text
  • Use animations and motion to emphasize key points

The interactive components of your email should complement and reinforce the core message, not become the focus themselves. Keep informative content visible and straightforward.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can create interactive emails that engage recipients while also maintaining clarity, accessibility, and purpose. The most captivating emails combine purposeful design, compelling content, and strategic interactivity into a cohesive experience.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building Interactive Emails

Creating an effective interactive email requires careful planning and execution. Follow these steps to ensure your campaign realizes its full potential.

Choose a Specific Goal and Metrics to Track

Begin by defining the purpose of your interactive email and quantifiable metrics of success.

Goals could include:

  • Increase coupon code redemptions
  • Generate more product reviews
  • Collect customer feedback
  • Reduce cart abandonment
  • Drive event registrations

Metrics to track:

  • Click-through rates on key CTAs
  • Submission rates for forms
  • Redemption rates for special offers
  • Sales revenue from email
  • Open and click heatmaps

With clear goals established, you can determine the appropriate interactive content and better optimize the campaign.

Select the Right Interactive Elements

Now it’s time to determine what types of interactive components will best achieve your goals.

Refer to your list of objectives and metrics as you ideate interactive content ideas.

For example:


Get customer product feedback

Interactive Element

Embedded star rating form

The element should directly tie to the desired outcome. Also limit yourself to 1-2 interactive components – don’t go overboard.

Design the Email Layout and Content

Next, map out the email structure and draft the surrounding content.

Planning considerations:

  • Where will interactive modules be positioned?
  • How much supplemental text and graphics are needed?
  • What is the logical page flow as readers progress through email?
  • How will you maintain design consistency between sections?

Focus on quality copywriting and strong visuals that complement the interactive content while retaining a clean, scannable layout.

Code the Interactivity (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc)

Now for the fun part – bringing the interactivity to life through code!

Some tips:

  • Use HTML/CSS for simpler effects like hover states
  • Leverage JavaScript frameworks for complex features
  • Follow coding best practices and validate for errors
  • Thoroughly comment code for future maintenance
  • Ensure cross-platform and cross-device compatibility

If new to coding, leverage libraries and templates to accelerate development. Services like Mailmodo also provide interactive email building blocks through easy drag-and-drop.

Thoroughly Test the Interactive Email

Meticulously test the fully assembled email across the following dimensions:

  • Visual fidelity in different email clients
  • Functionality of interactive elements
  • Accessibility on screen readers
  • Responsiveness across device sizes
  • Overall performance and page load times
  • Spam filter bypass in test environments

Be ruthless in identifying any issues – better to catch problems now than after you’ve sent to your entire list.

Analyze Performance and Optimize

Once you’ve sent out your interactive email, closely monitor performance data and recipient behavior.

Metrics to track:

  • Open rates over time
  • Click-through rates on key CTAs
  • Click heatmaps showing interaction points
  • Conversion rates on desired actions
  • Survey, form, or poll submission rates
  • Unsubscribe and complaint rates

Use these insights to continuously refine and optimize your interactive email approach, improving subsequent campaigns. Testing and iteration is key.

By combining deliberate email design, quality copywriting, technically sound development, comprehensive testing, and data-driven optimization, you can deploy highly engaging interactive emails that deliver spectacular results.

Real-World Examples of Effective Interactive Email Campaigns

The best way to get inspired for your own interactive emails is to analyze campaigns from leading brands. Let’s check out some stellar examples.

Netflix – Interactive Video Email

To promote its original film Dumplin’, Netflix sent an interactive video email that let recipients click through a conversation with characters from the movie.

The email design mimics a messaging interface. As users click the conversation bubbles, different video clips play showcasing content from the film.

This highly engaging spin on the typical “click to watch trailer” email provides a taste of the movie’s humor and relationships.

Why it works

  • Mimics modern vertical video chat interfaces
  • Grabs attention with interactive conversation
  • Shows personality of characters from film
  • Easy click triggers make it frictionless

Spotify – Personalized Playlists Email

Spotify promoted its personalized playlists feature by having subscribers click through genre buttons to preview auto-generated playlists tailored to their taste.

As users click rock, pop, hip hop etc buttons, the corresponding customized playlist preview loads directly within the email.

This interactive approach visualizes the core benefit instead of just describing it using text and static images.

Why it works

  • Shows real personalized playlists based on recipient
  • Interactivity mirrors exploring music by genre
  • Reinforces core brand value proposition
  • Clean, uncluttered interface

Eileen Fisher – Interactive Product Catalog

Fashion brand Eileen Fisher created an interactive product catalog inside an email to showcase their new clothing line.

Recipients can scroll through preview images of tops, pants, dresses and outerwear. Selecting one reveals details directly within the email.

This provides an immersive browsing experience and reduces friction compared to clicking out to the website.

Why it works

  • Showcases full line within one email
  • Lets recipients explore new arrivals
  • Reduces friction to learn more about products
  • Maintains brand visual language
  • Content remains scannable despite interactivity

The common thread is crafting interactivity that engages audiences while staying purpose-driven. Test and learn what resonates best with your subscribers.

Tools and Services for Creating Interactive Emails

Let’s explore the various tools and platforms available to bring your interactive email ideas to life.

Coding from Scratch

For complete customization and control, you can code interactive emails from scratch using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.


  • 100% customizable functionality
  • Integrates with external data sources
  • Complete creative freedom


  • Requires strong development skills
  • Time intensive to build complex features
  • Difficult troubleshooting and maintenance

If your team has the coding chops, this approach allows unlimited interactivity. However, it’s typically only practical for larger companies.

Popular frameworks like AMP for Email help accelerate development with reusable components.

Email Service Providers

Many email service providers like Mailchimp and SendGrid offer interactive email capabilities.

For example, Mailchimp lets you add:

  • Expandable content sections
  • Interactive images
  • Surveys and polls
  • Countdown timers

You can toggle these on using checkboxes in the drag-and-drop editor without coding.


  • Easy drag-and-drop addition of some interactivity
  • Integrates with email platform workflows
  • Leverages pre-built templates


  • Interactivity options can be limited
  • Advanced customization requires coding

While ESP-based solutions don’t offer full customization, they provide a simple starting point.

AMP for Email

Google’s AMP for Email project enables interactive email functionality using a subset of the AMP web framework.

It supports components like:

  • Image carousels
  • Expandable FAQs
  • Live polls
  • Product catalogs

AMP for Emails render as normal HTML in unsupported clients.


  • Lightweight web-like interactivity
  • Expanding client support
  • Backward compatibility


  • Still limited client support
  • Can be complex to implement fully

AMP simplifies advanced interactivity but requires adopting the framework.

Third-Party Interactive Email Builders

Services like Mailmodo and Movable Ink specialize in interactive email creation.

They provide intuitive drag-and-drop builders with components like:

  • Countdowns and tickers
  • Forms and surveys
  • Product configurators
  • Account summaries

You can then export HTML for any ESP.


  • Visual builder requires no coding
  • Includes wide range of interactive modules
  • Expert team handles implementation


  • Additional third-party cost and platform
  • May not integrate natively with ESP

If you don’t have developer resources, third-party platforms provide turnkey interactive email creation.

There are ample tools available to add interactivity to your emails at various code complexity levels. Identify the best fit based on your team skills, email provider, and customization needs.

The Future of Interactive Emails – What Next?

Interactive email is still in its early stages with tremendous room for innovation. Here’s an outlook on what the future may hold for this engaging new medium.

Increasing Use of New Interactive Elements

Expect to see continued expansion of interactive components as developers push boundaries. Some possibilities:

Augmented Reality

AR could allow virtual try-ons, digital models, and embedded 3D product views. For example, imagine clicking a sofa and seeing it rendered in your living room.

Personalized Audio

Text-to-speech generation could vocalize emails customized with subscriber names and details through audio clips.

Smart Compose Suggestions

AI may help generate dynamic content like personalized subject lines, offers, or even full email copy tailored to the recipient.

Contextual Triggers

Email content could change based on factors like time, location, purchases, or external events when the email is opened.


Face ID, touch ID, and other biometrics may unlock exclusive interactive content through built-in sensors on mobile devices.

Group Collaboration

Shared interactive spaces allow contributing responses visible to all recipients in real-time like Google Docs.

Predictive Interfaces

Interfaces may suggest and auto-populate input fields based on subscriber history and preferences.

The possibilities are endless as technology advances. But for new effects to become mainstream, expanded compatibility is needed.

Expanded Email Client Support

Lack of consistent support across email clients poses a major obstacle to wider adoption.

But there are signs of progress. Major players like Gmail are expanding capabilities:

  • Gmail recently enabled AMP for Email support.
  • Apple’s Mail app now supports some CSS animations and transformations.
  • Outlook is expanding their Actionable Messages capabilities.

As more clients add native interactivity, it removes the need for less compatible fallback options when designing emails.

We should see email clients vie competitively to provide the best interactive experience as expectations rise.

Integration with Other Technology like AI

Interactive emails don’t exist in isolation. Emerging surrounding tech like AI will enhance their capabilities.

A few ways AI could augment interactive emails:

  • Smart composition – AI may help generate dynamic interactive content customized to each recipient.
  • Prediction – Machine learning models can test variations of email content and interactivity to optimize performance.
  • Automated testing – AI can proactively identify rendering and compatibility issues.
  • Enhanced personalization – Algorithms can tailor interactive elements to user preferences and behavior.
  • Voice control – AI assistants may allow browsing and taking actions within emails via voice commands.

AI will handle the busywork allowing creators to focus on innovation and maximizing results.

Interactive Email as Standard Practice

Looking ahead, interactive emails have the potential to become a standard part of email marketing vs a novelty.

We’ll likely see:

  • Specialized roles focused on interactive design
  • Dedicated suites of interactive email creation tools
  • Common interactive templates and frameworks
  • Metrics benchmarking interactive email performance
  • Built-in interactive options in ESPs

Interactive email will transition from an experiment by some brands to a fundamental capability every respectable ESP and marketer possesses.

The technology is still nascent today but expect to see rapid maturation and adoption curves as clients expand support and innovators push boundaries. The email landscape 5 years from now will look radically different.

We are just scratching the surface of what will become possible as email transforms into an interactive digital canvas rather than static text documents. The future looks exciting!

Key Takeaways

Interactive emails provide engaging experiences that grab attention and drive conversions. Here are the key lessons:

  • Interactive elements like quizzes, carousels and shopping carts make emails participatory. This boosts engagement and reduces friction.
  • Studies show interactive emails achieve significantly higher open and click through rates compared to static options.
  • Include clear calls-to-action near interactive modules to drive desired actions. Also ensure mobile friendliness.
  • Thoroughly test across different devices and clients. Provide non-interactive fallbacks for compatibility.
  • First define goals and metrics before selecting interactive elements tied to outcomes. Later optimize based on data.
  • With the right preparation and strategic implementation, interactive emails can transform subscriber relationships and performance.
  • This is still just the beginning as technology evolves. Expect interactive emails to become a standard channel capability within 5 years.

The possibilities are endless for creating immersive, engaging experiences that subscribers enjoy. Use these tips and real-world examples to help guide your efforts in this exciting new frontier of email marketing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of interactive emails?

Popular interactive email examples include embedded surveys, quizzes, calculators, configurators, interactive images, Scratch to Win games, shopping carts, and expandable FAQ sections.

What are the benefits of interactive emails?

Key benefits include higher engagement, reduced friction by keeping users in the email, valuable data collection through forms, increased conversion rates, and improved brand perception from the experience.

What email clients support interactive emails?

Full support is still limited but improving. Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook support some interactivity through AMP for Email. Apple Mail has basic animation and interaction support. Support is more limited on legacy Outlook desktop.

How do you create interactive emails?

Options include coding from scratch using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, using your ESP’s built-in tools, leveraging AMP for Email components, or using a third-party interactive email builder like Mailmodo that has drag-and-drop modules.

Should every email be interactive?

Not necessarily. The goal should guide the tactics. In many cases simple well-designed emails are most effective. Use interactivity intentionally when it directly helps meet objectives. Don’t force it or overuse it.

What are important tips for interactive emails?

Critical tips include thorough testing, providing non-interactive fallbacks, keeping text scannable, clearly explaining how to interact, optimizing for mobile, maintaining brand consistency, and not overwhelming recipients with too many competing elements.