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DELIVER SMARTER
Insights on Reaching the Inbox
TODAY’S SPEAKER

Brad Gurley
Director of Deliverability
WhatCounts
2
HOT TOPICS

Changes afoot at Gmail and Yahoo
•

What effects have been seen?

•

How should you react?

Engagement: the ke...
CHANGES AT GMAIL & YAHOO

4
RECENT CHANGES AT GMAIL & YAHOO
Recently, both Gmail and Yahoo made changes that caused
ripples in the email marketing com...
GMAIL TABBED INBOX
In June, Gmail announced the addition of tabs to the inbox
– Mail would be automatically sorted into ta...
THE IMPACT OF TABBED INBOX
Tab placement is based on Google’s internal algorithm
– Most commercial email is routed to the ...
DEALING WITH TABBED INBOX
Many marketers have sent dedicated campaigns asking users
to manually move their mailings to the...
DEALING WITH TABBED INBOX
Starring a message or thread can also push it into the
Primary tab – for now.

• By default, Sta...
YAHOO MASS ACCOUNT DEACTIVATION
In June, Yahoo announced they would be deactivating
any account that had not been accessed...
YAHOO DEACTIVATION IMPACT
On July 15th, Yahoo deactivated many accounts
– WhatCounts users saw no significant increase in ...
DEALING WITH YAHOO REACTIVATION
Most senders don’t need to take any action for these
reanimated email accounts.
If your sy...
ENGAGEMENT: THE KEY TO THE
INBOX

13
ENGAGE!
Nearly all major ISPs and email providers have recently
increased their focus on user engagement as a factor in
ma...
SMART MARKETING = PERSONALIZATION

Deliverability
15
SMART DELIVERY = RELEVANCE + TARGETING
Provide content subscribers
want to read
•
•

•

Provide useful or informative cont...
SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
When a new subscriber signs up for your mailings, they should know
exactly what to expect in their ...
PROMOTE THE UNSUBSCRIBE LINK
Contrary to most marketers’ instincts, the Unsubscribe link
should be prominently placed with...
SO LONG, FAREWELL…
For every email marketer, there comes a time when you must say
goodbye to the non-engaged users in your...
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE:
Q: Has Comcast had any recent changes? They seem to be blocking all of our
emails....
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE:
Q: Many companies are using the little graphics in subject lines. Does that
affect...
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE:
Q: I’m already following best practices, including using an unsubscribe link
at th...
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE:
Q: When we launch a campaign that includes thousands of emails to Google,
Yahoo, O...
THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING!

24
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Deliver Smarter: Insights for the Inbox

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You’re planning, creating, and getting ready to send holiday email campaigns. But how do you make sure your emails get to subscribers’ inboxes and they see the content you’ve worked so hard to create? In this webinar, learn about:

Recent changes at Gmail and Yahoo
The rise of engagement as a factor in deliverability
How personalization and targeting impact delivery rates
When to say goodbye to non-engaged subscribers

Published in: Technology, Business
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Transcript of "Deliver Smarter: Insights for the Inbox"

  1. 1. DELIVER SMARTER Insights on Reaching the Inbox
  2. 2. TODAY’S SPEAKER Brad Gurley Director of Deliverability WhatCounts 2
  3. 3. HOT TOPICS Changes afoot at Gmail and Yahoo • What effects have been seen? • How should you react? Engagement: the key to the inbox • How personalization and targeting help improve delivery rates • When to say goodbye to nonengaged users 3
  4. 4. CHANGES AT GMAIL & YAHOO 4
  5. 5. RECENT CHANGES AT GMAIL & YAHOO Recently, both Gmail and Yahoo made changes that caused ripples in the email marketing community • Gmail introduced the Tabbed Inbox in late July • Yahoo performed a mass deactivation of inactive accounts, also in July What are these changes, and how do they affect you? 5
  6. 6. GMAIL TABBED INBOX In June, Gmail announced the addition of tabs to the inbox – Mail would be automatically sorted into tabs based on Gmail’s recommendations – Tabs included Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums In late July, Google rolled out these changes to all Gmail users – The mobile Gmail app was also updated to include tabs 6
  7. 7. THE IMPACT OF TABBED INBOX Tab placement is based on Google’s internal algorithm – Most commercial email is routed to the Promotions tab – Many marketers worried this would greatly decrease opens Since the full rollout, reviews of the tabbed inbox have been mixed – Many sources report a slight decrease (1-3%) in overall open rates of marketing emails – A number of senders have reported increases in open rates Do you need to take action? – Some senders have taken action based on speculation – Your open/conversion rates should be the driver, not industry data 7
  8. 8. DEALING WITH TABBED INBOX Many marketers have sent dedicated campaigns asking users to manually move their mailings to the Primary tab. • Users can drag mail from one tab to another • A prompt allows for all mail from that sender to be rerouted • This could impact delivery to other users over time 8
  9. 9. DEALING WITH TABBED INBOX Starring a message or thread can also push it into the Primary tab – for now. • By default, Starred message threads display in the Primary tab • This would likely not affect any future deliveries to this or other recipients 9
  10. 10. YAHOO MASS ACCOUNT DEACTIVATION In June, Yahoo announced they would be deactivating any account that had not been accessed within 12 months – This included accounts both with and without Yahoo Mail – Yahoo would also allow users to request the deactivated usernames, which would be reactivated just one month later Concerns about increased hard bounce and spam complaints were raised – Yahoo indicated a “very small” percentage of these accounts were Mail users 10
  11. 11. YAHOO DEACTIVATION IMPACT On July 15th, Yahoo deactivated many accounts – WhatCounts users saw no significant increase in hard bounces – Many other sources report little or no change Around August 15th, Yahoo began to reactivate usernames that had been requested by others – WhatCounts users saw no significant increase in spam complaints – There have been scattered reports of new users receiving mail intended for the old user of the account – Yahoo indicates these are rare, but has worked with Facebook to create a special header for senders with sensitive data who use email address as a login key 11
  12. 12. DEALING WITH YAHOO REACTIVATION Most senders don’t need to take any action for these reanimated email accounts. If your system houses sensitive and/or personal data and you send login details via email: • You may want to implement the new special “Require Recipient Valid Since” header • WhatCounts Support can help answer questions and determine whether this solution could be beneficial 12
  13. 13. ENGAGEMENT: THE KEY TO THE INBOX 13
  14. 14. ENGAGE! Nearly all major ISPs and email providers have recently increased their focus on user engagement as a factor in mail delivery. To keep up, marketers must adapt their practices to target engaged users and foster engagement in others: • • • • Send relevant content to targeted users Set clear expectations for new subscribers Provide a prominent unsubscribe option Clean subscriber lists regularly 14
  15. 15. SMART MARKETING = PERSONALIZATION Deliverability 15
  16. 16. SMART DELIVERY = RELEVANCE + TARGETING Provide content subscribers want to read • • • Provide useful or informative content in addition to promotions Tailor mailings to segments of subscribers based on demographic data Give a reason to keep opening your email - instead of deleting it Target engaged users • • Use open, click, and purchase data to target your most active and loyal subscribers Provide added value for your most engaged users 16
  17. 17. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS When a new subscriber signs up for your mailings, they should know exactly what to expect in their mailbox. This includes: Who is sending the mail • The From Domain and company details should be clear What types of emails you’ll be sending • Promotional vs. informational, etc. How often you’ll be sending • Daily vs. weekly vs. monthly What topics or areas of interest will be covered • Preference centers provide customization options Unclear expectations at the time of sign-up are often the driver of spam complaints. Clearly outlining these items will help reduce complaints received. 17
  18. 18. PROMOTE THE UNSUBSCRIBE LINK Contrary to most marketers’ instincts, the Unsubscribe link should be prominently placed within the message body • Unsubscribe links that are hidden or hard-to-find will generate spam complaints from unhappy users who want to unsubscribe • Placing the link in the preheader has been shown to reduce spam complaints in many cases 18
  19. 19. SO LONG, FAREWELL… For every email marketer, there comes a time when you must say goodbye to the non-engaged users in your lists. Depending on your sending frequency, it is generally recommended to segment out users who haven’t opened your past 50+ emails. A re-engagement campaign can help capture some of those users: • Last chance to stay on the list • Needs a strong call to action • Subject line should grab attention • Remove non-responsive contacts 19
  20. 20. ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE: Q: Has Comcast had any recent changes? They seem to be blocking all of our emails. A: We have not seen any indication of changes at Comcast. Typically, mail blocked at Comcast indicates your volume of spam complaints and/or spamtrap hits are too high. List cleaning is usually the best option. You can contact our Technical Support team for further assistance: http://www.whatcounts.com/email-marketingcompany/contact-us/ Q: How can I determine a good open and click-through rate? A: This question is probably better suited for our Strategy Team, but I can say what is considered “good” for open and click rate varies widely by industry and market. The “average” open rate across all sectors is typically in the 10-20 percent range. 20
  21. 21. ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE: Q: Many companies are using the little graphics in subject lines. Does that affect deliverability? A: All of the testing we’ve done, along with data from others in the industry, indicates most symbols in the subject line do not affect delivery rates – yet. In fact, many tests indicate they increase open rates considerably. However, there’s always the possibility spam senders may start using these characters frequently, which could lead to a delivery impact down the road. 21
  22. 22. ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE: Q: I’m already following best practices, including using an unsubscribe link at the top of my emails. Is it the end of my business if the ISPs won’t stop blocking my emails as spam? The big providers are always going to allow email from big players such as Amazon and Netflix and from each other. Is there no way for smaller businesses to get the same treatment even if their emails are just as clean or cleaner? A: The size of the sender doesn’t actually matter so much – I’ve seen multinational companies with names you know very well who have had delivery issues with the major ISPs. There’s always a specific reason (or set of reasons) your messages are being blocked, usually due to spam complaints and/or spamtrap hits. In many cases, the bounce response returned to the server will give the reason for the block. I would suggest contacting our Support Team for assistance: http://www.whatcounts.com/email-marketingcompany/contact-us/ 22
  23. 23. ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE: Q: When we launch a campaign that includes thousands of emails to Google, Yahoo, Outlook/Hotmail, and certain other services/ISPs, mail servers begin to throttle the receipt of email and start bouncing mail once we reach a certain limit/hour. Is this common, and is there a way to overcome this problem? A: ISPs and mail providers rarely block mail based solely on volume. Any blocks are usually based on reputation or engagement. While most ISPs do have a connection limit or limit on number of messages sent per connection, WhatCounts’ mail software is already set up not to exceed those thresholds. So any blocks you’re seeing would likely not be based on the volume of mail sent, but on other factors. 23
  24. 24. THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING! 24
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