Sharing keys to success in a cutthroat retail industry may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the best way to progress and stay competitive. It’s how the industry moves forward and serves customers better.
Our Peer Forum Series gives digital marketing experts the opportunity to do exactly that, by walking through hands-on case studies and dialoguing with top innovators in the field.
At our October Peer Forum in New York City, we gathered digital strategists from top retailers such as Macy’s, Walmart, Williams-Sonoma, Tapestry, L’Oreal, Bath & Body Works, and more, in conversation with Bloomingdale’s VP of Contact Strategy and our very own mathematics Ph.D., Greg Leibon.
Each of these experts brought their own unique perspective to the challenges facing email marketing in light of Apple Mail’s changes — and we all came away with insights and tactics to implement over the coming months.
As our day of learning drew to a close, we agreed on three main takeaways from Dr. Leibon’s presentation.
1. Apple Mail’s changes mean that marketers need to take a more granular view of the customer.
So far, the impact has been significant, but not drastic. Leibon’s research (based on 1.4 billion email sends) has shown:
- 8.5% increase in overall open rate
- 3.3% of the file open signal is partially corrupted today
- 5.2% of the file open signal is fully corrupted today
This means that 91.5% of the file open signal is unaffected right now - but that’s not the whole story. That number is projected to decline to 61.1% as MPP adoption increases over the next few months, meaning that nearly half of all email subscribers will be giving off at least some false or corrupt open signal.
2. MPP will hit hardest in email file health and personalization.
There are two main areas where the impact of MPP will be felt the most: email file health and personalization.
The vast majority of email marketers are preparing for MPP’s increased impact in one of the following three ways. They’re either:
- Doing nothing
- Completely removing these false open email addresses
- Changing the recently engaged audience rules to use clicks instead of opens
If marketers don’t adapt, they could risk 5% of their subscriber population becoming corrupted and using bad data. Non-user-initiated opens being included means that marketers will send to a broader audience than they would have, and these people will be less interested, on average.
Open rate will go down and you will get in trouble from a deliverability perspective.
By completely removing the email addresses that submit false opens, marketers will lose a chunk of their email list, and with it, revenue. If you don’t send someone an email, they can’t convert into a paying customer through email. It’s simple.
Finally, if marketers choose to exchange opens for clicks, this comes with its own set of issues, including that clicks take a much longer time to show whether a customer is interested in something you send them, or if they’re actually engaged with your emails.
Since only 50% of your file has clicked in the past year, this strategy is far too conservative and will cause marketers to send to too few people, and since the time since the last click is far greater than the time since last open, people will often have changed what they’re looking for since then, so the data will be old and less useful.
3. A better way forward
Dr. Leibon proposed that a better way to manage Apple’s non-user initiated opens is a two-pronged strategy in which marketers:
- Decouple the data, tracking device personalities instead of seeing all opens as the same
- Make inferences to fill in the gaps, grouping customers who are similar to the ones who give you uncorrupted data
The conclusion we came to is that this will, of course, be an uphill battle, but with an intelligent strategy, email marketers can make it work and get comparable results if they approach the problem in the correct way.
If you’re interested in taking a deep dive into some of the content highlighted here, as well as learning about how Bloomingdale’s is personalizing email frequency, book a briefing here so we can fill you in on all the content you missed at this year’s NYC Retail Peer Forum.