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LashBack Presentation at Mailcon August 2019


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LashBack Presents at Mailcon NY 2019

In August, several members of the LashBack team attended the Mailcon and Affiliate Summit East conferences in New York. The conferences provide a great opportunity for our team to meet with clients and contacts, and stay on top of what is going on in the world of digital marketing. It was a busy few days with lots of productive meetings and conversations.

As in previous years, LashBack CEO Peter Wilson gave a presentation at Mailcon, diving into the deep reservoir of LashBack data to find unique and actionable insights for the audience. This year’s presentation, “A Deeper Look at the Consumer Experience” contained an overview of some of the trends in email quality and delivery, with an emphasis on how different emailing practices are viewed by consumers. Building upon previous Mailcon presentations, some common themes around quality and prioritizing the consumer experience were explored with detailed examples. As the data continues to show us, the influence of greater transparency driven by technology and consumer expectation are sure to have an effect on the business practices of effective marketers.

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LashBack Presentation at Mailcon August 2019

  1. 1. A Deeper Look at the Consumer Experience Peter Wilson - CEO, LashBack Mailcon, New York August 2019
  2. 2. 2 Disclaimer August 2019 All of the observations in this presentation are based on data received and analyzed by LashBack. Presentations are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment. The observations may be influenced by multiple factors including the date, source, and size of the data set and your results or experience may be meaningfully different. We do not make any representations or offer any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. The information contained herein may be subject to copyright protection; we believe that LashBack’s use of information and images herein constitutes fair use, but any use of this content, including work created by LashBack, may require the express written permission of the copyright holder. We are strong advocates for quality marketing and do not advocate the use of any technique or practice in a vacuum or that is counter to established best practices. Any action you take upon the information presented is strictly at your own risk.
  3. 3. 3 Topics/game plan • High-level overview of the trends in email quality and delivery • What are the key dynamics around the consumer experience in email • Businesses resist change and markets can appear to change slowly, but consumers and technology are driving a higher expectation for transparency • Is there a disconnect between what consumers want in B2C email and how they are typically marketed to? • Clear as mud. The consumer experience ranges from good to ugly and the consumer has almost no ability to anticipate or control which will occur. o Consumers want and expect transparency. A lack of transparency enables undesirable sending. o We’ll show various examples of different sending practices and patterns • We believe business innovation and technology will solve the issues -- faster and more effectively than new regulation • As more transparency inevitably comes, we believe the market will continue to thrive, but the rules for sending will evolve August 2019 While not the focus of this presentation, it should be noted that a lack of transparency also harms senders and, in fact, drives some of the undesirable practices. Left without clear and consistent rules for sending and delivery, senders rationally shift toward maximizing short-term ROI, which is often accomplished by higher volume and creative techniques.
  4. 4. 4 50,000 foot view on email volume, quality and delivery August 2019 Roughly 280 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2018 • Up 4.5% over 2017 • Expected to increase at a similar rate annually over the next 5 years Data from multiple sources including There are approximately (in 2018): • 1.5 billion active Gmail users worldwide • 400 million Outlook users • 228 million Yahoo users Gmail has been growing by 20%+ per year while the other two have been fairly flat Large and growing market increasingly dominated by Google/Gmail
  5. 5. 5 Overall quality fairly consistent, but Gmail inboxing has declined January 2019 LashBack GQI and inboxing considers millions of B2C email messages. Quality is assessed on a 1 (poor) to 100 (best) scale. Messages are evaluated based on criteria including: • Deceptive subject line • Blacklisting (IP and/or domain) • Authentication failure • Delivery • Presence of vulgarity • Presence of a plain text unsubscribe • Forged send date • Presence of a list unsubscribe header
  6. 6. 6 Gmail inboxing decrease generally follows decline in Gmail quality January 2019 Overall market GQI Gmail GQI Gmail GQI Gmail inboxing
  7. 7. 7 Email will remain a strong and effective channel, but it is evolving We have long been advocates for transparency and best practices in marketing We believe that the market is evolving in the direction of greater consumer control of their data, but that technology and market opportunities - more than laws and regulation – are going to drive dramatic change This has been slow to happen because the largest and most innovative firms have been more focused on gathering and using consumer data, but eventually markets change, and it can happen quickly “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.” Ernest Hemmingway, The Sun Also Rises Is there a disconnect between what the consumer wants and what they receive (in B2C email)?  If there is, what does it look like, why does it exist, and how is it going to change? August 2019
  8. 8. 8 Disruptive innovation “A disruptive innovation is… a product [or] service… that… is unattractive to the established leaders in an industry.” Clayton Christensen “The reason why it is so difficult for existing firms to capitalize on disruptive innovations is that their processes and their business model that make them good at the existing business actually make them bad at competing for the disruption.” Clayton Christensen “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” William Pollard Blockbuster succeeded for more than 25 years, generated billions of dollars in revenue, and, at its peak, employed more than 84,000 people. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin August 2019
  9. 9. 9 Consumers want quick access to information that improves their experience Information wanted Solution Find rides Uber Find renters Airbnb Find food GrubHub Find tables OpenTable Find contractors HomeAdvisor Find dates Find gas prices GasBuddy August 2019 Information wanted Solution Find hotel prices Trivago Find insurance prices EverQuote Find house prices Zillow Find loans LendingTree Find work space WeWork Avoid traffic Waze Find everything else Amazon  Transparent information and ratings are everywhere. For a view of what “too much” looks like, I recommend watching Black Mirror’s “Nosedive” episode
  10. 10. 10 What does the consumer want in (B2C) email? The consumer wants timely and valuable offers in a reasonable volume • Timely and relevant • Reasonable volume • Ability to stop the marketing • True information about who is sending the message • The ability to engage with a site (provide information) based on a clear understanding of what to expect August 2019  Quality  Relevance  Volume  Trust
  11. 11. 11 Some perspective on desired email frequency According to a recent study by Return Path on email send frequency: “In simple terms, we found that engaged, Primary accounts will tolerate up to about five emails per week from a given sender. Beyond that, the ensuing complaints increase dramatically, and read rates drop significantly.” Using the RP data, one reader calculated the optimal send frequency at 6.2 emails per week. August 2019
  12. 12. 12 What does the consumer get? A hard to predict experience A LashBack study of several thousand email sign-ups indicates: • The average signup resulted in 100 messages in the first 30 days and 500 messages in the first 90 days o About 3 messages per day during the first 30 days, then 7 messages per day • A pretty wide disparity in experience, ranging from 1 message in 90 days to more than 3,000 o Some sites sent less than 10 messages, but these are likely looking for confirmation • Typically large brands, like and, sent relatively few messages and used identifiable domains while “lightly-branded” sites, like and, sent large volumes using many domains o Those that sent 50-100 message over 90 days include large brands (like,,,,, and, as well as some lesser-known brands (, and August 2019  A big part of the problem is not being able to anticipate the experience. Some large brands send heavier than expected, and many lesser-known brands send very reasonably
  13. 13. 13 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly August 2019 Some send • Modestly, in sign-up vertical • 1-2 messages a day in finance • Heavy volume, weighted toward sign-up vertical • 10+ messages a day, mostly in finance • Massive volume, independent of sign-up vertical • 20-100’s of messages a day in weight loss, dating, jobs, etc. There do not appear to be any “clear winners” with regard to inboxing; the most impactful seems to be varying practices There are some clear variances in strategy • Sending patterns • Changes in sending at 30/60/90 (sometimes data sales and sometimes internal properties) • Varied use of sending domains • Volume sent by major brands vs. lightly branded • Varying from sign-up vertical • Major brands versus lightly branded • Impact on delivery
  14. 14. 14 A few examples of heavy sending Sends 20-70 messages a day until about day 80 146 messages on day 8 About 100 messages per day after day 57 808 messages on day 58 Almost 3,000 messages from 100’s of domains August 2019
  15. 15. 15 Examples of sending patterns August 2019 Importantly, the collected data tells only part of the story. Additional sign-ups at the same site, for example, may have different results 1. Heavy initial sending 2. Progressively ramp sending (30-60-90) 3. Test then isolated blast 4. Delayed first message 5. 20-60-0 pattern
  16. 16. 16 High initial volume, then no sending (confirmation/response needed) August 2019 asdasdasdasdasdasd
  17. 17. 17 Progressively heavier email August 2019 asdasdasdasdasdasd
  18. 18. 18 Test then hit ~30 August 2019
  19. 19. 19 Delayed first message August 2019 asdasdasdasdasdasd
  20. 20. 20 Messaging in a 20-60-0 pattern August 2019 asdasdasdasdasdasd
  21. 21. 21 A few examples of different sending domain use/strategies August 2019 Sending domain Seen in # of sign-ups Average first day seen 1 2 1 2 17 68 4 41 4 38
  22. 22. 22August 2019 A few examples of different sending domain use/strategies (continued)
  23. 23. 23August 2019 General mail • More/increasing domains • Poor/declining delivery Same vertical mail • Fewer/steady domains domains • Better delivery A few examples of different sending domain use/strategies (continued)
  24. 24. 24August 2019 Subsequent delivery based on sign-up vertical
  25. 25. 25August 2019 We signed up to receive email at a handful of finance-focused lead gen sites.  Interestingly, within the sample, the sites tended to send either 100% finance offers or 100% general interest (non-finance) offers.  Inboxing generally declined for both approaches over the subsequent three months.  Both sent a high volume of messages, but the sites that stuck to the original vertical sent somewhat less and got better delivery. How does sticking to the sign-up vertical impact delivery? Sticking to the sign-up vertical appears to improve delivery
  26. 26. 26August 2019 We thought it would be interesting to compare the email that results from a sign-up at a typical, well- known, highly-branded site to that of a lightly-branded site. We used and The results are pretty dramatically different in terms of approach, results and consumer experience. Case study: Gap vs. DLZ Offers
  27. 27. 27August 2019 Dramatically different approach, results, and experience
  28. 28. 28August 2019 CareerBuilder is an interesting case. It is a large, highly-branded site, with $700 million or so in revenue, a global presence, PE backing, etc. You would expect: Consistent email from CareerBuilder about tips and job opportunities with solid/consistent inboxing. You would be wrong. Case study: CareerBuilder
  29. 29. 29August 2019 Asdas dasdsdasd AsdassdasdThe content, sender and delivery are likely not what you would expect Primarily HTML msgs from CareerBuilder; ~100% inbox Text only, personalized job offers with lots of questionable similarities; ~0% inbox More of the text job offers with 0% inbox; occasional CareerBuilder HTML msg with 100% inbox Unique job messages with distinct patterns. For example: Best Regards, Hilda Yates. Kind Regards, Rosalie Underwood. Best Regards, Angie Atkins. Sincerely, Faye Mills. Sincerely, Patrice Simon. Sincererly, Anita Kemp. Kind Regards, Brenda Gardner. Thank you in advance, Helene Sparks. Sincerely, Lois Hancock. Best Regards, Elvira Frank. Kind Regards, Nettie Harrington. Best Regards, Helen Warren. Sincerely, Mattie Oneal. Thank you in advance, Jessie Summers. Thank you in advance, Sharon Jenkins. Thank you in advance, Marcella Knight. Best Regards, Denise Holt.
  30. 30. 30 Fundamental market dynamics that contribute to poor consumer experience August 2019 1. Consumers want quick, easy and cheap access to deals, information, and services, but they provide limited information and can be quick to change their minds, forget and complain 2. Consumers are being inundated by near constant marketing messages (and data collection) across an expanding array of channels 3. Email is ubiquitous and effective 4. The cost to acquire and send a message is small 5. It is a market with low transparency, some subjectivity, and individual messages typically carry little harm (heavy sending can be brutal) 6. ISPs use undisclosed and changing rules to determine what messages to deliver  The result is that interests are often out of alignment and many senders take a short-term view of the opportunity • Solving the issues with additional regulation seems to be a challenging and imperfect approach • Similarly, unsubscribing is fairly ineffective
  31. 31. 31 Improving the consumer experience August 2019 • Overall, the market has been moving toward increased customization and targeting • It heightens the consumer experience and effectiveness of messages, but it often depends on significant access to consumer data • And clearly everyone is not in the “highly-targeted” camp • We believe that the next major change in the industry is going to come from increased transparency – what if the consumer can be forewarned (before submitting any personal data) about the typical email result/experience and can make decisions based on this information
  32. 32. 32 Increased transparency August 2019 LYFE Marketing • Can it be done? Yes • What would be the impact? • Consumers will be less likely to provide information at a site that is going to generate a high volume of email, especially unrelated to the sign-up • Consumers and senders would have to be better aligned; senders will generally have to reduce their sending • It remains to be seen how pricing and ROI would ultimately be impacted • Volume would decrease and costs would likely increase, but revenue per message would also likely increase • While we believe in the future of email, over the longer-term, markets tend to “revert to the mean” and email has had a return that was multiples greater than every other marketing channel. We should not be surprised returns in the 3800% range decline over time
  33. 33. 33 Best practices will continue to pay dividends As we suggested in January – • Commit to quality • The market is changing. There will be more transparency and consumer control. • A good partner is one that will last and one that does the right things. • Strong brands want strong, consistent partners • Skip the tricks • Prioritize the consumer experience • Build a strong business • Invest in intelligence August 2019
  34. 34. January 2019 34 A stronger, more consistent market The market is changing and the consumer experience is becoming more visible and important For many, it requires an adjustment in their approach - at a minimum - blending in (possibly subjective) medium-to-long-term considerations. Markets inevitably evolve away from a focus on immediate cash maximization; and that is happening in email. On the plus side – • this shift in perspective is core to creating business value • advertisers are clamoring for partners with this new/revised/quality approach • it helps to create a stronger, more consistent market New model: stronger relationships + good intelligence + smart mailing = maximize longer-term revenue Old model: good intelligence + smart mailing = maximize immediate revenue
  35. 35. 35 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) Website/request a demo: Contact sales team: LashBack video overview: Prior Mailcon presentations (viewed ~4,000 times): • Jan 2018: • Jul 2018: • Jan 2019: August 2019