Progress and Opportunities in Email
Peter Wilson - CEO, LashBack
HitPath Masters Conference
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
September 2016 3
• 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
Protect your brands and data
Identify risks and opportunities
PMA Compliance Council
September 2016 4
The audience probably splits down the middle on email
email, so I
“Email is a
and get a
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
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.
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.”
Email is significantly more effective than social media
91% of all US consumers use email daily
Email leads to more frequent and larger purchases
What are the risks… are there control issues?
• 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
But we don’t use networks or affiliates….
Messages sent to
A closed loop is critical
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.
• What are the requirements?
• What’s going on in the market?
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
A simple example
Date: Has it been manipulated?
To: Has it been harvested?
From: “Miller Brothers Ford” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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?
No postal address
Deceptive from address
Some advertisers flag
use of “best” and “top”
CAN-SPAM Best practices Feed-provider general Feed-provider specific
Opt-in Clear, non-deceptive
Not sent to harvested
Document the opt-in
Header No forged headers
Relevant and not
misleading subject line
Accurate from line
No privately registered
Don’t claim to represent a brand
Body No guarantees or promises
No hidden text or other
techniques to bypass
Postal address and
unsubscribe links should not
be embedded in remotely-
Clear ads-only experience
Email must display the URL of the parked domain
Email should keep text simple and stick to generic
Consistent theme and messaging
Do not claim an association with a brand or a
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
• Use the word “click” on any link (i.e., “click here
• Use the words “search”, “find”, “compare”,
“explore”, “browse”, “shop” or “learn” on an action
• 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
Sender Clearly display sender with
Corporate name and contact information (that
matches the approval)
Unsub Clear, working unsubscribe
Other Not sent through an open
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
• A feed-provider seed address
• A system to monitor for non-compliance
What are the issues that come up in SPAM cases?
• Dan Balsam is a serial litigator of SPAM-related cases
• His suits follow a predictable format
• Summary, example
• Sues under California law
• 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
Can’t use generic or
misleading friendly from lines
like “Approval Department” or
Can’t use “not-readily-
traceable domain names”
Can’t use subject lines like
“Approved” or “Your request
has been accepted”
A few common sense steps (from non-lawyers)
• 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 gmail.com and yahoo.com (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,
• 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.
Trends and observations on email quality
• We have more than 200 million messages in our database and examined compliance and delivery across
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
From line Deceptive, not
domain, misused from
Deceptive, not relevant and
privately-registered fairly common.
Friendly from Deceptive, not
N/A Deceptive and not relevant fairly
Subject line Deceptive, not
N/A Deceptive and not relevant fairly
Content Deceptive, postal
Plain text postal and opt-
out, hyperlinked opt-out
Core requirement issues fairly rare,
best practice issues are common
Issues most commonly flagged for clients
Requirements Best practices
Data from July/August 2016.
Can the issues/partners really be managed? Yes, they can.
Data from July/August 2016.
How does compliance impact delivery?
• 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.
Compliance and delivery, low hanging fruit
• 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
• 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.
Compliance and delivery, more challenging
• 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.
likelihood of bulk
Deceptive Not relevant
“PLEASE REPLY ASAP”
Unrelated to offer
Friendly from 80%
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
Looking a bit deeper at email delivery
• 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:
Ranked by inbox % Greatest # of
Greatest # of
4. Loan (29%)
3. Auto (61%)
2. Education (74%)
1. Health (79%)
5. Dating (27%)
6. Sex (14%)
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One person’s view on where the market is headed
• 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
• 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
September 2016 26
One person’s view on where the market is headed, cont’d.
• 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
• 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
An example of products in development
• 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”)
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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.
September 2016 29
Questions and contact information
I appreciate your time and welcome any questions.
Chief Executive Officer
1017 Olive Street, 4th Floor
St. Louis, MO 63101