When Super Senders explore switching to a new ESP, they inevitably hear pitches where an ESP’s sales rep makes numerous claims about how easy they’ll be to work with, and how everything they want to do is possible on this new platform. They’ll see slide decks and videos and maybe even some hands-on demonstrations of the product so they can get a feel for the user interface.
Although the industry puts a big effort on making the most of the moments that matter, ultimately marketers need to communicate with their customers in the way that their customers think of them. This means a constant two-way relationship between brand and consumer — not just sending messages (although cross-channel messaging is increasingly important), but staying top of mind in all channels, both active and passive. That’s why MessageGears has introduced support for Facebook Custom Audiences and Google Customer Match as destinations within its Segment product.
For many marketing and I.T. teams, there are few things they’d less readily volunteer to do than switch from their current email service provider. We hear it all the time. Even when they acknowledge the problems they have that seem insurmountable, their last switch was so difficult and time consuming — even after they were told it’d be easy — that the devil they know can seem like a better bet than the one they don’t.
Recently, we published an update to the research we had conducted concerning the marketing messaging trends among the world’s Super Senders as the world came to grips with COVID-19. Now, after a month of continued self-isolation and quarantine in many places around the world, we wanted to take another look at the larger trends of email sending and interaction to see how marketers were reacting to the prolonged fight against the virus. Key questions for this analysis were:
- What are the volume trends for email over 2020? Can we observe some sort of stability or continuing trend?
- What kinds of mailings are being sent? Do we see a shift in marketing campaigns vs. triggered messages?
- How are recipients interacting with mailings? Now that many people are staying at home for much of the day, will that affect interaction?
To perform the analysis, we reviewed billions of delivered emails since the beginning of the year. All times displayed are in Eastern time for ease of visualization, and all volumes are relative.
MARCH 31 UPDATE
As we enter another week where the world is mostly under shelter-in-place orders due to COVID-19, we’re continuing to monitor delivery and engagement rates for email marketing sends. We wanted to know:
- How are brands communicating with users during the crisis?
- Are users more likely to interact with mailings now that many are sheltering in place?
- Are users more likely to unsubscribe from mailings?
Email continues to be a critical tool for enterprise brands during these uncertain times. For most industries, consumers are clicking and buying, and even in sectors like travel and hospitality where marketing has essentially been paused, email will be one of the most important channels in getting things ramped back up.
I previously wrote about how we recently rolled out MessageGears Engage, our brand new product that offers secure and scalable access to customer contextual data (or any other internal data) in an easily consumable format. This enables personalization in real time, empowering marketers to deliver an unprecedented level of brand engagement and up-to-date content.
That marketer-focused overview gave a good high-level look at the product, but I’d like to take a deeper dive into the struggles that modern enterprises face, and how Engage can be an incredibly useful tool to help organizations overcome data hurdles.
To get marketing personalization right, it’s essential that you have access to information about the consumer. The brand’s knowledge about the consumer informs to a great extent the messages they send, and determines how relevant those messages can be. For most senders, though, information access stops at the point when they hit Send, so the messages have no way to keep up with what’s often rapidly changing data. Because most companies are using old data, the problem only gets worse. There are tools that try to solve this problem, helping marketers personalize messages at the time a consumer engages with them, extending the how long they can be relevant.
The problem we consistently see across large enterprises that want to send relevant messaging is that the data that is available is not always the data they can use in their messages. Time and again, I.T. resources do their best to make data as usable as possible, but oftentimes the real world doesn’t allow for easy and “real” use of that data.
Email is an effective and low-cost medium to reach users but, at its core, it is a static one-way communication channel with limited capabilities for dynamic content. Adding interactive elements into email is difficult, as is optimizing for different device types. There are so many variables at play that many marketing teams just settle for a simpler, more traditional approach.
What would be possible if email were truly an interactive experience, though? Instead of sending static communications that basically amount to digital postcards, each message could be a conversation — a true, personalized interactive experience?
I’m happy to announce that MessageGears is taking a step in that direction with our newest feature — content support for AMP for Email.
Time zone-based sending is nothing new to anyone in the B2C email marketing world – It’s a solution to a problem so obvious, it’s almost surprising it even has a name. You can’t send emails about a sale starting (or ending) to every time zone at once and expect people to respond to your message. And on top of that, we already know the specific time you send out a message can have a real impact on the engagement rate. Enabling to set up campaigns to “Follow the sun” as they say, is one of the most basic table stakes features of modern ESPs.
But just because it can seem basic and almost obligatory doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. This is something we’ve thought a good deal about — how can we utilize our platform’s unique access to your data in order to take time zone-based sending to the next level? And when we looked at the current landscape of ESPs and their time zone-based sending features, we saw some holes that needed to be filled.