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Progress & Opportunities in Email


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We'll take a data-driven look at the past year to highlight how email has evolved and discuss examples of the biggest issues facing email marketers today.

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Progress & Opportunities in Email

  1. 1. Progress and Opportunities in Email Peter Wilson - CEO, LashBack HitPath Masters Conference September 2016
  2. 2. 2 Game plan September 2016 1. Who is LashBack? 2. Why get excited about email? 3. What are the risks? 4. What are the requirements? 5. Insights on quality and delivery 6. Market trends and opportunities 7. Wrap-up
  3. 3. September 2016 3 LashBack • Based in St. Louis, providing services for more than a decade, receive and catalog millions of messages daily • We have more than 100 major brands, agencies and networks as clients -- including many HitPath clients • We provide critical visibility and information to businesses using email to acquire new customers  Manage compliance  Protect your brands and data  Identify risks and opportunities PMA Compliance Council
  4. 4. September 2016 4 The audience probably splits down the middle on email “You seem nice, but we don’t do much email, so I am going to quietly check my messages… most of which are email ironically.” “Email is a great channel. We pay attention to the details and get a great return. We couldn’t be more excited about your presentation.”
  5. 5. September 2016 5 There are lots of reasons to love email Median ROI for select channels/formats according to US marketers, June 2016 Response Rate Report, 7/28/16, Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric Online Display Paid Search Direct Mail Social Media Email 28% 25% 18% 27% 122% 25% 50% 100%75%0% “As in past surveys, email stays in the top spot, both in terms of median ROI and usage,” the study said. “The ROI of email far outdistances all other media, and conventional wisdom attributes this to the perception that email is free or very inexpensive to use.” “Over half of this study’s participants plan to increase their usage of email in the next 12 months,” the study said.
  6. 6. September 2016 6 In case you are still not convinced According to McKinsey & Company -- “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media— nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined. That’s because 91 percent of all US consumers still use e-mail daily, and the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher.” Jan., 2014  Email is significantly more effective than social media  91% of all US consumers use email daily  Email leads to more frequent and larger purchases
  7. 7. 7 What are the risks… are there control issues? September 2016 Advertiser Agency Lead aggregator Network Publisher Network Publisher Publisher Feed provider Domain mgmt. EducationDynamics Direct Agents PCH Google Rook Amobee Matomy • Any time you rely on any third-parties there are risks • This is especially true if they are paid based solely on consumer action/reaction (performance basis) • Some advertisers go direct to publishers and others use various agencies, aggregators and networks
  8. 8. 8 But we don’t use networks or affiliates…. September 2016 Advertiser (auto) Captive agency Regions Email platform Marketing partner Dealership Dealership Agency of record Dealership Channel experts Email platform Email platform Email platform 3rd party agency Marketing partner Marketing partner Marketing partner Brand protection Internal marketing Contractor Channel agency Legal Regions Regions Regions Dealership Dealership Dealership Dealership DealershipMarketing partner Brands, messaging and compliance Messages sent to consumers
  9. 9. 9 A closed loop is critical September 2016 Advertiser (auto) Captive agency Regions Email platform Marketing partner Dealership Dealership Agency of record Dealership Channel experts Email platform Email platform Email platform3rd party agency Marketing partner Marketing partner Marketing partnerBrand protection Internal marketing Contractor Channel agency Legal Regions Regions Regions Dealership Dealership Dealership Dealership Dealership Marketing partner Consumer Advertiser (auto) Consumer
  10. 10. 10 Checking-in September 2016  Email is a great opportunity and you are likely emailing more than you realize.  Unless you are personally hitting send, there are control issues to be managed. Half-listening Committed to Candy Crush • What are the requirements? • What’s going on in the market?
  11. 11. 11 What are the requirements? • Legal requirements • Most notably CAN-SPAM, aspects include • Content - relevant, not deceptive, contactable sender • Unsubscribe – clear, working, honored unsubscribe mechanism • Sending – not sent through open relay, not sent to harvested address, no false header • Policy requirements • Use of • Permitted content – approved subject line, creative • Best practices – plain text postal and opt-out, publicly-registered domain September 2016
  12. 12. 12 A simple example Date: Has it been manipulated? To: Has it been harvested? From: “Miller Brothers Ford” <> Should not be “Approval Department”; is the owner of the sending domain identifiable? Subject: “Fall Clearance Sale” Should not be “Wire Transfer” or “_U_R_G_E_N_T**” Message: Is it misleading? Is the creative approved? Does it link correctly? Can the consumer opt-out? Is there a valid address? September 2016
  13. 13. No postal address Deceptive from address Misleading from address (special characters) Misleading subject (“Auto Response” and special characters) Some advertisers flag use of “best” and “top”
  14. 14. CAN-SPAM Best practices Feed-provider general Feed-provider specific Opt-in Clear, non-deceptive consumer opt-in Not sent to harvested email Document the opt-in Header No forged headers Relevant and not misleading subject line Accurate from line No privately registered sending domains Don’t claim to represent a brand Body No guarantees or promises No hidden text or other techniques to bypass filtering Postal address and unsubscribe links should not be embedded in remotely- hosted images. Clear ads-only experience Email must display the URL of the parked domain Email should keep text simple and stick to generic statements Consistent theme and messaging Do not claim an association with a brand or a government entity No incentivized clicks or threats No connection to pornographic content Font size and color clear, consistent and legible A single, clear action button that: • References “ads” or “sponsored listings” • Leads directly to a parked domain (no interstitial page) Do not: • Use the word “click” on any link (i.e., “click here for…”) • Use the words “search”, “find”, “compare”, “explore”, “browse”, “shop” or “learn” on an action button • Use terms like “sub-prime”, “bad credit” or “fair credit” on credit card offers • Use terms like “read article”, “watch video” or “search results for” • Represent “approval” • Make claims about being “near the user” • Use high-risk terms like “learn more” or “learn about” Sender Clearly display sender with contact information Corporate name and contact information (that matches the approval) Unsub Clear, working unsubscribe Other Not sent through an open relay Must be pre-approved: • Domain parker, senders, creative and material changes to the nature of the site Domain parker must use: • Unique IDs/property codes for this traffic • Separate channels for each email acquisition source/creative • A feed-provider seed address • A system to monitor for non-compliance
  15. 15. 15 What are the issues that come up in SPAM cases? September 2016 • Dan Balsam is a serial litigator of SPAM-related cases • His suits follow a predictable format • Summary, example • Parties • Sues under California law • Case • Recipients didn’t provide consent • Misused from domains • Misleading friendly froms • Proxy-registered from domains • Misleading subject lines • Defendant is liable for mail sent by their agents • No need to show actual damages • Defendants do not meet the standard for a reduction in liability Third-party domains ( prohibit spamming Can’t use generic or misleading friendly from lines like “Approval Department” or “Online Dating” Can’t use “not-readily- traceable domain names” Can’t use subject lines like “Approved” or “Your request has been accepted”
  16. 16. 16 A few common sense steps (from non-lawyers) September 2016 • Do not allow the use of major email provider from domains. • We have more than 3 million B2C messages in our database with a sending domain of and (150,000 since 8/1) • Misleading subject lines are the most common of the other claims, but closely followed by friendly from issues. At a minimum, do not allow the use of the most egregious, frequently-cited terms. • We still see lots of mail referring to “approvals” or from the “Approval Department” • Do not allow the use of proxy-registered domains. • Roughly 20-30% of messages are sent from proxy-registered from domains. They are easily identified and addressed.
  17. 17. 17 Trends and observations on email quality • We have more than 200 million messages in our database and examined compliance and delivery across multiple subsets September 2016 Category Primary issues Best practices/other Observations Send date Forged send date N/A Fairly rare, but we have more than 1,200 messages received 8/1 – 9/22 with a forged send date (after 9/22). From line Deceptive, not relevant Publicly-registered sending domain, misused from ( Deceptive, not relevant and privately-registered fairly common. Friendly from Deceptive, not relevant N/A Deceptive and not relevant fairly common. Subject line Deceptive, not relevant N/A Deceptive and not relevant fairly common. Content Deceptive, postal and opt-out present Plain text postal and opt- out, hyperlinked opt-out Core requirement issues fairly rare, best practice issues are common and impactful.
  18. 18. 18 Issues most commonly flagged for clients September 2016 From line not relevant Subject line deceptive From line deceptive 24% 62% 18% 13% 10% 80% 86% 18% Requirements Best practices “Friendly from” deceptive Content deceptive Image- based postal Image- based opt-out Proxy- registered domain Data from July/August 2016.
  19. 19. 19 Can the issues/partners really be managed? Yes, they can. September 2016 Content deceptive “Subject” deceptive Opt-out not hyperlinked 35% 13% 24% 44% 10% 20% 58% 18% “Friendly From” deceptive Postal address present Proxy- registered domain 4% 34% 17% 2% LashBack clients Non-clients Data from July/August 2016.
  20. 20. 20 How does compliance impact delivery? September 2016 • Messages without any compliance issues are 12% more likely to reach the inbox than messages with at least one compliance issue. • Messages with more than three issues are 34% less likely to reach the inbox than messages without any compliance issues. • Different compliance issues coincide with different delivery rates. The most damaging appears to be the absence of a postal address. Messages that are compliant other than a missing postal address are 59% less likely to reach the inbox.
  21. 21. 21 Compliance and delivery, low hanging fruit September 2016 • Make sure the postal and opt-out are plain text. • If the postal is not plain text, the message is 92% more likely to be delivered to the bulk folder. • If the opt-out is not plain text, the message is 90% more likely to be delivered to the bulk folder. • Make sure the opt-out is hyperlinked. • Messages with a hyperlinked opt-out were 73% more likely to be delivered to the inbox. • Make sure the domain is publicly-registered. • If the domain is not publicly-registered, the message is 80% more likely to be delivered to the bulk folder.
  22. 22. 22 Compliance and delivery, more challenging September 2016 • Use relevant, non-deceptive subject, from and friendly from lines. • Between subject, from address and friendly from, a deceptive from address has the greatest impact on delivery. Component/issue and likelihood of bulk Deceptive Not relevant Subject 78% “Free” “Auto Response:” “Re:” 66% “Click here” “PLEASE REPLY ASAP” Unrelated to offer From 89% 77% Friendly from 80% “Joe” “Approval Department” 87% “Amazing Offers” “Great Rates”
  23. 23. 23 In general, what is the trend in email delivery? • An analysis of more than 100 million messages over the last 18 months, shows: • Inboxing on a monthly basis ranging from 40-80% • Inboxing is typically 60-70% with a modest positive trend • The lowest rate of inboxing was in the 4th quarter of last year September 2016
  24. 24. 24 Looking a bit deeper at email delivery September 2016 • Across our data since August 1, mail being delivered to the inbox of Gmail users has averaged 31% as compared to 56% for Yahoo and 53% for all other email providers. • Some ESPs significant exceed these averages. For example, ExactTarget and SendGrid have average delivery greater than 95% to Yahoo addresses. • Looking at delivery, since August 1, based on 6 keywords: Keywords Auto Dating Loan Education Health Sex Inbox % 79% 71% 61% 29% 27% 14% Ranked by inbox % Greatest # of messages sent Greatest # of messages reaching the inbox 4. Loan (29%) 3. Auto (61%) 2. Education (74%) 1. Health (79%) 5. Dating (27%) 6. Sex (14%) Dating Health
  25. 25. September 2016 25 One person’s view on where the market is headed Players • Advertisers want a systematic approach and broader view of risks and opportunities • Greater visibility and control • More efficient ways to manage risk, evaluate performance and build scale • Advertisers in certain verticals, like education and personal loans, are undergoing major changes • Ad-feed providers, like Google, are playing a larger role and driving new practices • Networks are emphasizing efficiency • Clickbooth’s shift to “performance exchange” • Matomy’s launch this month of a self-service demand side platform • Service providers are emphasizing quality and breadth of service • ImpactRadius acquisition of Forensiq • PepperJam acquisition of AdAssured • Zeta interactive acquisition of Acxiom Impact
  26. 26. September 2016 26 One person’s view on where the market is headed, cont’d. Compliance • Advertisers are getting better tools and driving higher standards • Filters are getting smarter; less poor quality mail to the inbox • The absence of a plain-text postal alone nearly stops a message from inboxing Email • More dollars flow into the channel as the standards and tools are enhanced • Heavy trend toward mobile opens, and emphasis on mobile experience • According to Litmus, 56% of email is opened on mobile devices • Affiliate email sending has shifted significantly to ESPs • The trend continues toward increasingly customized and optimized B2C email
  27. 27. 27 An example of products in development September 2016 • Provide advertisers with a broader view of their partners’ sending practices • Layer into this: • Custom-weighted quality measures (blacklisting, authentication, subject and from line issues, vulgarity, unsubscribe issues, volume of messages per recipient, etc.) • Insights on volume, vertical and delivery Broader: All mail sent by publisher (“level 2”) Broadest: All mail sent on IPs used by publisher (“level 3”) Narrow: All mail sent for advertiser by publisher (“level 1”)
  28. 28. September 2016 28 Wrapping up 1. Email outperforms all other channels. 2. The compliance and policy risks are manageable. 3. Addressing the issues not only reduces risk, but improves delivery.  Some of the most common issues are easily remedied – postal, opt-out, proxy domains, etc. 4. The market is rapidly evolving toward higher standards and greater transparency.
  29. 29. September 2016 29 Questions and contact information I appreciate your time and welcome any questions. Peter Wilson Chief Executive Officer LashBack, LLC 1017 Olive Street, 4th Floor St. Louis, MO 63101 314.754.2286 (office)