The great big data fragmentation


Collections of focussed, specialised tools for each job instead of one big suite for all

It’s not a secret that the phrase “big data” didn’t actually bring anything new: single customer view, data mining etc. have been around for a long time. But the ability to attain, store and use that data tends to require a custom build in house or a very expensive all encompassing suite.

Subsequently it got written off for all but the larger brands who could use and value justify the cost of the big suite.

It felt like this knowledge had got lost over the generations of SME marketing managers whose predecessors had ripped the knowledge from the archives to save future generations from such disappointment.

The catchphrase “Big Data” was enough to bring these wants and dreams back to the minds and hearts of all marketers, including those who couldn’t afford it.

This time though, those people whose investigations would have thrown them into such hope of a feature set only to be broken by the price, had a much better time of it as will we all.

“Multitasking is the thief of quality”, today’s solutions are about specialist software, focussed and best of bread not the full all singing all dancing suites that may do everything but not all of it will be what you want.

The best of Big Data is a fragmented solution where you buy a solution to your problem not one solution to all problems and use what you need.

Focussed solutions like abandoned forms and baskets from software like Triggered Messaging, Light Box sign up forms from software like PadiAct, where the solution is a very narrow element but you get so much control and so many options and so much data.

Added to that, the new demands from the marketer have caused existing software providers to make more of their data available with added features to use it.

ESPs are a great example. While an ESPs will count each event that can happen to an email, the stats available are often basic. This new requirement has pushed ESPs to compete over data mining features as they have over deliverability, visual-editors and customer service over recent years.

Engagement, single customer view, automations, purchase & abandon purchase tracking and more are available from an ESP.

It may not surprise you to know that not all features are written by each ESP, some are white-labelled specialist 3rd parties. That is not a bad thing at all. No ESP has tried to write their own inbox preview software, most just API to Litmus and many even tell people about it.

The only concern is when brands get bought and solutions are bundled together as a single product but are not and feature quality is diluted as the suite grows.

A few seasoned ESPs have been bought by seasoned database & enterprise solutions firms or an ESP has bought other companies for features they want. There is a lot of confusion over what they actually offer now or what they were bought for and this will serve to open the door to the more fragmented solutions where you pick and choose dedicated best of breed solutions and expect them to work together.

Nowadays people expect the ESP to integrate more because that is the end point for the data but cloud based Single Customer view solutions are arriving to sit in between multiple databases and you ESP, keep an eye for them, they’re game changers.

Gmail Promotions Tab Grid View in action



Tah dah!

This is about 300px wide, now mobile subject rules apply to the Promo Tab:

Animated Gifs don’t work btw.

Getting the G+ logo working was a bit complicated, the sending domain seemed to make a difference and I tend to use the numerical Google plus url as it is a sort of primary key.

More to follow and they’ll probably be a more formal post on the Pure360 blog early next week, stay tuned!


2014-04-03 Update:

In order to get the G+ icon/logo:

The sending domain appears to need to have valid/working MX records.
The domain needs to have some sort of DNS link to the domain listed as the brand’s url on the G+ page.
– Tried it with a sub-domain of the domain listed on the G+ page and it worked
– Tried it with a sub-domain of a domain which redirected to the G+ listed domain and it worked
DKIM doesn’t seem to make a difference either way.

2014-04-04 Update:

The GooglePlus url code is not required. If your sending domain’s dns is linked to the domain your confirmed as your site in Google Plus it just picks it up automatically.

The fact you can specify a GooglePlus profile link seems pointless because it won’t pull the logo unless the sending domain is linked and it’ll do the look up that way anyway.

Sent an email for the first time from a different brand, did not include the G+ data, in fact, tried to wing it by editing the publisher data to call a different image and changed the url/googleplus to just say image:
Gmail still pulled through the google plus image from the account, the only link was the sending domain and item url of their site.

2014-04-11 Update:
Upon further investigation it seems one should be able to get the logo untie inbox from a different domain. The same form used for the transactional schemes also registers your domain with your company.. Testing to follow.

Mobile inbox triage

Mobile inbox triage

Mobile inbox triage

While the spike of opens in the first hour will be high, the clicks will not.
The breakdown by device will show that a large proportion of opens in that first spike are iPhones but you will get very few clicks.
That first spike of mobile opens is the inbox triage when recipients have a quick flick through their inbox while they move about, have a spare moment or when their phone beeps and they check to see if it’s important.

At that point they are assigning an importance and urgency to the email, there are two most likely actions to follow: Mark as unread to deal with later or back to the inbox because there is nothing relevant, the email could be left as read, archived or deleted.

In fact tapping through is fairly rare at this stage. This is due to a combination of time and if the site to click through to is mobile friendly. If a recipient knows the landing page is not mobile friendly they are extremely unlikely to tap through ever, let alone then and there, they may get to it on the desktop later though.

The unread emails will either be dealt with when they are in front of their computer or when they have time and most likely a decent wifi connection.

What can we learn from this? Mainly not to get so exited about open times, there are so many more environment variables now, the time of the delivery is not the be all and end all. Just make sure the email is there in time for the best time to open. Think of Groupon o’clock – I (used) to get Groupon emails at about 4am so it was there when I got up, not so much now and I buy less because I have less time to consider it.

People who won’t tap through then and there might get back to it later, however, if you sent it later so it is there at the optimum click time, will you miss them all together because they simply didn’t get to their inbox that night and then got on with their lives?

They are seeing your emails, your SenderName, your subject line, your inbox snippet preview and many are opening the email; there is a lot of marketing going on there.

If you need to push for conversions…

  • make the landing page light weight and mobile friendly and make sure the recipient knows about it.
  • Get more info in the email copy so people who want to read can.
  • Send more: follow up on non-openers, follow up on non-clickers, people opened on more than one device, people who opened again later but did not click; give them more chances to get to your site.

Will Facebook Email make Email Marketing Shexzy again

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]
According to just about all of the major media sources Facebook intends to launch it’s own fully featured email client as part of the Web 2.0 Summit on Monday 15th of November.

Facebook calls it ‘Project Titan’ and Tech Crunch & the Guardian are calling it the ‘Gmail Killer’.

The email account name will most likely be your own vanity url. So if you haven’t got one already you’d best hurry up in case someone gets the name you want! Some rumours have already confirmed that has already been purchased by Facebook, presumably for this purpose.

This biggest effect on Email Marketing is the rumour that it will be 100% permission – you will only be able to send email to people who have already given you permission. Things like being friends or fans on Facebook will decide senders’ permission to email a Facebook address.

Challenge for Marketers

Many people have stated that this new level of permission will be the biggest challenge to email marketers ever. With the emergence and popularity of web-apps like Otherinbox which sit in front of multiple inboxes to protect the users of non-permission emails, Facebook’s uber permission stand should not be a surprise.

Recipients are voting with their clicks and they only want email that they have asked for. With Facebook already being a central hub where people have a lot of control over who can see and interact with them, it is likely that many Facebook users will welcome this.

I don’t see this as a challenge, people should know early on that people who are fans on Facebook are people that have gone out of their way to engage with you and are real fans.

Users will have the control over permission, so there will be a larger consequence to getting it wrong and marketers will have to keep the content good to keep the fans in.

The email community who already struggle enough to segregate well should welcome this kind of automatic targeting and now Facebook might do a big chunk of it for you!

Shexzy Email

All of the press is all about Facebook, Twitter Google, Apple and Microsoft. With Facebook getting into the email domain, there will be more focus on Email Marketing in the main stream media and those who hold the purse strings will once again be interested in email marketing.

Thus making it shexzy again.

I’m personally very intrigued as to how it will all actually turn out.
Also: the Facebook Search Engine which will apparently use friends’ preferences as well as the user’s to provide results & FBmail will also apparently integrate with Microsoft’s Office Online.

Moving out from to the rest of the internet would put Facebook head to head with Google. This could be a very big leap for Facebook, hopefully not too big in one go but if all of the rumours are even close to right, digital marketing could change a great deal and Email Marketing will be right in the shexzy middle of it.

Email Radio: Luke Glasner’s five favourite email marketing metrics

[tweetmeme source= “getintheinbox” only_single=false]Luke Stat-Walker Glasner (now a qualified Jedi Master of Stats) properly annihilated Email Radio a week or so ago with his awesome metrics action. I know I often do a write up but I’ve listened to it 3 times now and I can’t do it the justice that Luke himself has.

I do intend to really get to grips with it and make a detailed account of how I will use it. Also I had my guys at Pure360 listen to it to help them get more budget.

Basically on the back of Mark Brownlow’s statement that email is not sexy enough to get the budget from the big boys, they don’t need to hear about open rates and clicks, they want to know if it is profitable.

Luke picks it right up where it left off and tells us how to connect with the bosses and get the internal recognition we need to get budget. We prove profit and we get budget..

Everyone who does email marketing should read this post.

Tuesday we had the pleasure of welcoming email marketing metrics Jedi Luke Glasner of Glasner Consulting to eMail Radio. It was a fantastic show which has gotten raves from those lucky enough to catch it live! If you missed it, you can check the podcast out here! We asked Luke about his five favourite metrics and he’s obliged with this post.

There are many metrics worth tracking in email from average revenues to spam complaints, but which are the ones you need to track for your programs?  Here are five metrics that I track for my program’s success that you can use in yours.


Listen to this podcast again

If you target well you get to make your emails Shexzy

[tweetmeme source= “getintheinbox” only_single=false]

This month I had the usual chats with people about getting better engagement from their emails. The place I tend to start is the creative, mainly because it is the easiest thing for someone, not as advanced with email as I, to interact and empathise with. Subsequently they are “more inclined to fix an email than ‘faff’ about building a targeted list” as one of them told me recently.

So normally it begins with the pre-header and building for Outlook’s imageless preview pane: keeping the images smaller in the top third, getting more text in etc. etc. the stuff we all say everyday.

However, in the hope of motivating people to want to segment better, there is the opinion that for certain, special emails, that would go to already very engaged subscribers, the image blocking would not be a problem.
This would be because the recipients know that brand already so you only have to worry about the subject line to make them prioritise it. Many recipients will already have safe listed the sender and the others probably just load the images without thinking anymore.

At that point, you have the freedom to be creative, as long as you satisfy various filters’ image to text ratios.

The kinds of email I am talking about are normally things like:

  • Invites to special events with a very targeted audience.
  • People who go to the same thing every year.
  • People who always interact with the emails.
  • Special offers on products that people have on their wish lists.
  • There are also niche lists for scarce things like Pure360’s Scally Rally list for instance.

When there is scarcity and people will be more engaged, you have more freedom to be creative…
…as long as you make the experience good and avoid the junk filters.

In some ways, that can even be a goal for marketers…

Luke ‘Stat-Walker’ Glasner (Jedi of Metrics), tells us to look at the money because that is what the bosses see.
If you can prove profit each time and then make it better, you’re all talking the same language, showing good results and everyone’s a winner.

Too often we only look at the open rates and click throughs, with only one list all getting the same email.
If you target correctly and aim to get more engagement, then send the engaged a prettier email next time, in the knowledge that they will see it all, your life is easier and you should get better conversions.
I’m sure there was a shorter way of saying that?

Then tie that in with Luke’s approach: you are onto a winner and your emails are shexzy!