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LashBack Presentation at Mailcon January 2019


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On January 5th, LashBack CEO Peter Wilson delivered an impactful presentation entitled “Building Long-Term Value in Email” at Mailcon in Las Vegas. Utilizing LashBack’s unique insights on email, the presentation focused on how the market is evolving -- with a clear need to focus on the consumer experience and what actions deliver long-term business value.

Prioritizing best practices does not mean focusing only on optimizing message components and inboxing, it has to consider the consumer experience. There must be a relationship with the consumer and LashBack has developed a comprehensive view of this relationship that includes quality, volume, relevance and trust.

Included again in this year’s Mailcon presentation was a wealth of insights on quality, performance and delivery rates. However, with new standards being implemented in response to data breaches and privacy issues, there should be a renewed focus on consumer value and protection. The presentation points out that keeping the consumer experience at the forefront is critical to maximizing longer-term revenue opportunities and business value.

About LashBack
LashBack is a leading provider of digital marketing intelligence to major brands, agencies and networks. The business is a patent-holder that has been awarded for innovation, recognized as a member of the Online Trust Honor Roll, and a consistent advocate for best practices over more than a decade. Whether you represent a large brand or are just getting started -- are more focused on risk or growth -- we have the information and services to help you accomplish your objectives.

Published in: Internet
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LashBack Presentation at Mailcon January 2019

  1. 1. Building Long-Term Value in Email Peter Wilson - CEO, LashBack Mailcon, Las Vegas January 2019
  2. 2. January 2019 2 LashBack Raising the bar through a commitment to innovation and best practices. • Leading provider of digital marketing intelligence to more than 100 major brands, agencies and networks • Patent-holder that has been providing services for more than a decade • Member of multiple industry organizations, awarded for innovation, and recognized as a member of the Online Trust Honor Roll • Long-time advocate for marketing best practices and improving the consumer experience In addition to core solutions in compliance, brand protection and list monitoring, we have developed new solutions that provide our clients with unique visibility into risks and opportunities among their partners.
  3. 3. 3 Disclaimer January 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.
  4. 4. January 2019 4 Building long-term value in email • We spend a lot of time thinking about what works in email and how best to help our clients be successful using email as a marketing channel. • Our prior presentations at Mailcon have focused primarily on actionable, technical insights from a wide-range of data, like what components most accurately predict delivery and the importance of list overlap. • We will again share a fair amount of data-based insights, but our key premise today is that the industry as a whole is arguably too preoccupied with fine-tuning specific stats and, as a result, missing the “forest for the trees”. • The market is evolving and maturing. The opportunity remains strong, but a bigger picture view is warranted. It puts a greater focus on the consumer experience – and connects perfectly to the actions that build long-term business value.
  5. 5. January 2019 5 Market overview A few observations -- • Quality remains solid • Inboxing is down a bit (led by Gmail) • Strong correlation between message quality and inboxing • ESP delivery varies pretty meaningfully, most recently - IBM (Silverpop), Yesmail, and DotMailer are among the standouts - BlueHornet and Campaigner seem to be struggling with delivery • Tricks are common and don’t generally work • More international sending • Varied impact of different blacklists • Short links can be problematic • Single consumer sign-ups can still lead to hundreds of messages 1. Message quality 2. Delivery/inboxing 3. ESPs 4. Legal environment 5. Consumer experience
  6. 6. January 2019 6 LashBack Global Quality Index (GQI) • Considers millions of B2C email messages • Evaluates messages based on multiple, objective 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 • Quality is assessed on a 1 (poor) to 100 (best) scale
  7. 7. 7 Overall trends in quality and delivery January 2019 85.0 51.4% 48.4% 31.7% 86.8 47.5% 54.0% 37.1% +1.8 -3.9% +5.6% +5.4% May 2018 LashBack Global Quality Index (GQI) Gmail Inboxing Yahoo Inboxing Microsoft Inboxing Nov 2018 6 month change
  8. 8. January 2019 8 Gmail quality has been increasing
  9. 9. January 2019 9 Yahoo quality has been increasing
  10. 10. January 2019 10 Microsoft quality has been declining
  11. 11. January 2019 11 ESP performance -- four ESPs have >75% delivery at Gmail
  12. 12. January 2019 12 ESP performance -- five ESPs have delivery of 83%+ at Yahoo
  13. 13. January 2019 13 ESP performance -- only four ESPs have >50% delivery at Microsoft
  14. 14. January 2019 14 ESP quadrants for recent Gmail delivery IBM Silverpop Adobe Neolane Magento Oracle Eloqua Responsys (Bronto) Salesforce ExactTarget
  15. 15. January 2019 15 ESP quadrants for recent Yahoo delivery
  16. 16. January 2019 16 ESP quadrants for recent Microsoft delivery
  17. 17. January 2019 17 Data breaches and misuse prompt fines and sweeping new privacy laws California Passes Sweeping Law to Protect Online Privacy A new privacy law in California, believed to be the toughest in the United States, gives consumers new rights over their personal data. The New York Times, June 28, 2018 In addition to a lawsuit by the DC Attorney General and the maximum fine permitted under U.K. law, Facebook is being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. Google is changing its policies to restrict access to email data as part of a series of privacy updates that came after it confirmed Google+ had exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of users. 6 Months, 945 Data Breaches, 4.5 Billion Records The equivalent to 291 records were stolen or exposed every single second in the first half of 2018 Computer Business Review High-profile data breaches and legislative changes are combining to create a perfect storm of disruption in the personal data landscape... Now GDPR is here, it changes the way companies in Europe and beyond can collect, process and hold personal data. Dunnhumby, May 29, 2018
  18. 18. January 2019 18 Lists, opens, and click-throughs • Email continues to drive a high percentage of customer acquisitions and purchases, and to generate a strong ROI • New subscribers make up a large/disproportionate amount of email lists • The numbers vary a bit, but seem to stay in a range • Open rates are typically in the 15-25% range • CTO rates average ~9% • Personalization meaningfully improves performance • Familiar from address/sender name is the most commonly cited reason for opening a message • Segmentation - based on interest - meaningfully improves performance Some overarching observations: • The channel continues to be very effective • Subscriber relationship is key • Absent prioritizing relationships, churn is high and new subscribers make up a disproportionate amount of lists • Subscribers engage when they think you know them – personalization, familiar sender, segmented list (relevant/valuable content)
  19. 19. January 2019 19 Focus on the bigger picture Garrett Dunham wrote a strong article for about a year ago. In it, he asks questions of a number of email industry veterans. Some of the more impactful statements from the article include: “… a lot of people apply too much importance to “open” and “click” rates. I think these metrics make for great meeting agenda decisions. So that management has something to chew on with the minions actually doing the work. There are only two things you need to do well as an email marketer to produce world class results… Know your audience better than they know themselves… Spend 95 percent of your time crafting and writing the best emails in the world that add value and solve problems.” “What really impacts his metrics? ’Caring. Giving a damn about the person (people) receiving the emails. Helping solve their problems should be your core desire.’” “People are happy to receive more emails than we had originally thought, even up to a few times a day. They have to be highly relevant, contextual to what they signed up for and truly valuable to the receiver.”
  20. 20. January 2019 20 Fine-tuning subject lines works great… up to a point
  21. 21. January 2019 21 Consumer experience Is a consumer treated reasonably, consistently and as-agreed when they sign up at a typical auto loan or rewards website? Do they know what to expect? Do marketers view it as a relationship or a short-term opportunity? One sign up at resulted in as many as 110 messages a day and more than 1,400 messages over the first month or so. Not only that, but a look at a handful of sites, shows a pretty dramatically varied experience. What happens as the balance shifts: • consumers will have more information and stronger rights • marketers will face more restrictions on their ability to use and sell consumer information There is a global trend - in part responding to years of overuse of consumer data – toward the argument that consumers (not data collectors/list owners) own their personal data. The only reason that a sign-up yields 110 messages a day is a lack of transparency and accountability. This is changing.
  22. 22. January 2019 22 Wide variations in consumer experience -- Messages over 1st 42 days: 104 Average messages/day: 2 Max messages/day: 4 Max from-domains/day: 1
  23. 23. January 2019 23 Wide variations in consumer experience -- Messages over 1st 36 days: 605 Average messages/day: 17 Max messages/day: 56 Max from-domains/day: 56
  24. 24. January 2019 24 Wide variations in consumer experience -- Messages over 1st 43 days: 1,408 Average messages/day: 33 Max messages/day: 110 Max from-domains/day: 42
  25. 25. January 2019 25 Wide variations in consumer experience -- Messages over 1st 42 days: 331 Average messages/day: 8 Max messages/day: 53 Max from-domains/day: 3
  26. 26. January 2019 26 Wide variations in consumer experience -- Messages over 1st 36 days: 159 Average messages/day: 5 Max messages/day: 71 Max from-domains/day: 71
  27. 27. January 2019 27 Wide variations in consumer experience -- summary Among the 5 profiled sites Low High Messages over 1st 35-45 days 104 1,408 Average messages/day 2 33 Max messages/day 4 110 Max from-domains/day 1 71 • Consistently light • Consistently heavy • Heavy, then light • Light, then heavy • Irregular/concentrated on certain days • No discernible pattern based on vertical • Samples included auto loan, online content, rewards & coupons, ride sharing, credit scores, and mortgage refinance An analysis of approximately 50 lead gen/sign-up/landing page sites: in the initial 43 days, the signups generated anywhere from 1 email message to more than 1,400 • 20 generated fewer than 5 messages • 12 generated more than 100 messages (more than 2 messages per day) • The average sign-up resulted in 95 messages
  28. 28. January 2019 28 One topic dominates the others 1. Consumer experience 2. Message quality 3. CEP behavior/filtering 4. ESP behavior/relationships 5. Mailing tactics 6. Privacy & data issues 7. Compliance/unsubscribing/legal environment
  29. 29. January 2019 29 Consumer experience is the forest People have a tendency to think about the variables somewhat independently and to focus on incremental adjustments and optimization – add or subtract text, rotate domains, manage complaints, adjust to new laws. The variables aren’t independent and it is a bit like trying to drive from the back seat. The dominant, fundamental issue is the consumer experience. If you prioritize the consumer, you will succeed for the long-term. If you focus on tricks (the trees), short-term is the best you can hope for. Not only are the variables NOT independent, but your behavior impacts the person sitting next to you. And transparency is going to be more and more important and available. The consumer experience is multifaceted. It isn’t just about volume, it is also about quality, relevance and trust.
  30. 30. January 2019 30 How do you make sense of the variables that impact consumer experience
  31. 31. January 2019 31 A clean and comprehensive view of consumer experience
  32. 32. January 2019 32 Quality, relevance, volume and trust Consumer preferences: • Don’t inundate me • Don’t sent me irrelevant or misleading offers • Let me opt-out • Don’t sell my information • I want to be able to identify the sender
  33. 33. January 2019 33 An example of the consumer experience • A consumer (with a new email address) enters their email address at two sites--site X and site Y. • Over the next sixty days they receive: 389 messages from 342 different from addresses across 226 different domains • Site X sent quality messages and has an established sending reputation, but still caused damage • The consumer doesn't know which site to blame and blames both. Site Y suffers as a result of Site X’s practices
  34. 34. January 2019 34 A holistic view of consumer experience and business value Focusing more on overall consumer experience requires a longer-term view. Such a view, in our opinion, connects to the principles that build long-term business value. For this market, at this time, the approach includes: 1. Commit to quality 2. Skip the tricks 3. Prioritize the consumer experience 4. Build a strong business 5. Invest in intelligence Advertisers are starving for strong, quality email partners • Innovative companies are meeting this need -- developing solutions that enable brands to see quality, reward the best senders, and cut-off low quality senders • The changes in the market will not be the demise of email marketing. They will be an improvement in the experience… and an increase in business to those that best align their practices with the consumers’ interests
  35. 35. January 2019 35 1. Commit to quality The market is changing. There will be more transparency and consumer control. • Technology is advancing • Dynamics like bidding (front-end transparency) and feedback loops (back-end transparency) becoming more common • Consumers will be better informed and better protected • The market and its participants are maturing • Information is better and standards are higher A good partner is one that will last and one that does the right things. • Not about meeting the minimum requirements (finding the edge, avoiding complaints) • Scale and high volume are different concepts • Do you have a relationship with the consumer (this is more fundamental to “quality” than offer design or brand) • Have they requested information from you • Do you understand and align with their interests and expectations • Are you responsive when they change Strong brands want strong, consistent partners. • The best path to consistent results is having a good relationship with the consumer
  36. 36. January 2019 36 2. Skip the tricks There are always going to be new quirks that seem to give results a bump, like spam text, spoofed domains and special characters. We see these and other tricks used every day. The results are generally poor. A year ago, we ran an analysis on the use of spam (hidden) text and found that it meaningfully reduced delivery at Gmail, as an example. Exactly the opposite of its intended effect. 1. Google has figured this out. 2. It is just an obviously bad practice. A test of subject lines that were sent with and without emojis, showed that the majority (63%) of the messages inboxed better without the emojis included. In some instances, materially. Inboxing for this subject line, as an example, was 62% without the emoji and 33% with the emoji. A large sample of B2C emails (~290 million) inboxes at just under 30%. A subset of thousands of eBay and Walmart spoofed messages inboxes significantly worse (13% and 5%, respectively).
  37. 37. January 2019 37 3. Prioritize the consumer experience Do you have a relationship with the consumer? Are you doing the things that the consumer wants and expects, in terms of: • Quality • Volume • Relevance • Trust If you are prioritizing the consumer experience, it is likely that you are. If you are trying to manage your sending based on clicks or opens, you are much more likely to miss one or more of the consumer’s expectations. One missed component can dramatically impact complaints and unsubscribes. Squeezing every penny out of every lead isn't worth it in the end. Even setting proper expectations--telling the consumer exactly what is going to happen--isn't enough. If a consumer is angry about being inundated with irrelevant advertising they won't remember or care about what they agreed to thirty days ago. They'll just be angry at email marketers in general. This is not about more sophisticated consumers or altruistic marketers, but through a combination of events like data breaches and consumer abuse, we are moving to a different, higher standard. The businesses that can adapt will succeed.
  38. 38. January 2019 38 4. Build a strong business Market dynamics should influence business strategy. There was a time when short-term profits were relatively easy in email marketing and there is always a chance to jump in and jump out, but the opportunity for that approach is more limited than ever. You can win a hand of poker without knowing anything, but you can’t win for a sustained period of time without good practices. The bar is higher and there is more transparency. If your goal is to build a business that lasts, it requires some real investment. • Have a clear vision for how you create value • Don’t fly blind – commit to a consistent compliance effort • Really think through the incentives for your team. They can easily create unintended behaviors - Do you have an affiliate manager running compliance • Consistently think about the difference between vendor and strategic partner - One is a price-driven bidder while the other understands and advances goals - Mostly about building a trusted relationship • Concentrations = risk. Minimize concentrations - One list, one person, one client, one ESP. It will catch up to you • Be accountable and do the right things even when no one is watching - Reputation matters and takes time to build. It will catch up to you
  39. 39. January 2019 39 4. Build a strong business, continued • From more than a decade working in this industry as an investment banker, I would say that the primary determinants of business value are scale and sustained growth (minimal concentrations) • As LashBack’s CEO for the last 7 years, I can tell you that advertisers are increasingly focused on finding new quality partners and ensuring quality from existing partners
  40. 40. January 2019 40 5. Invest in intelligence Technology can be used to capitalize on small differences and this can be very addictive. Test, fine-tune, test, fine-tune, etc. But that generally prioritizes the shortest-term considerations, at the expense of consumer and advertiser interests. A short-term focus is why a single sign-up can generate 100+ emails a day. Technology can also provide insights on quality, capacity, and consumer preferences – identifying risks and opportunities. These strategic and actionable, medium-to-long-term considerations need to be part of the formula. More transparency is coming and access to the information and feedback will help to strengthen the market. Advertisers and ESPs will increasingly rely on technology tools: • Brand protection • Attribution and scoring • Quality metrics • Identifying, vetting and monitoring senders
  41. 41. January 2019 41 Greater visibility to manage quality
  42. 42. January 2019 42 A stronger, more consistent market Publishers/mailers will always work to optimize their sending, but 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
  43. 43. January 2019 43 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: January 2018 Mailcon presentation: July 2018 Mailcon presentation: