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This webinar is now available for viewing on demand.
It’s been a few weeks since Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection announcement (check out our press release where we cover high level impacts). We’ve been taking this time to understand the impacts to the marketing community, how Campaign Monitor can help you evolve and navigate these changes, and more importantly, the opportunity this presents to us all to think and engage differently.
Please join us for a special webinar event – Navigating an Evolving Privacy Environment. Join Campaign Monitor and special industry guests as we discuss these changes and our tips for how you can evolve and thrive in this changing environment.
With over 66 years of combined experience across technology, product, digital marketing and media, this is a session you don’t want to miss.
Tuesday, 10th August
8-10am CST (US) / 2-4pm BST (UK/EU)
Tuesday, 10th August
5-7pm CST (US) / Wednesday, 11th August 8-10am AEST (APAC)
Desta: Welcome and thank you for joining us today for our webinar on navigating and evolving privacy environment. I’m Desta Price, CM Group’s chief product officer.
Some of you may ask, who is CM Group? CM Group has 7 brands and more than 70,000 customers with nearly 1,000 around the world to deliver email and multi-channel marketing solutions to the industry. The presenters today are proud to represent our teams around the globe who are honored to work with you, our customers, each and every day. We’ve got a great lineup for you today of information and speakers. First, Tom will walk through the details of Apple’s upcoming updates. We’ll then look at how we move forward, both tactically and strategically, in light of what we know of these changes. Before we hear from our product teams, we’ll meet with two seasoned industry experts in a fireside chat to talk about past hurdles we’ve seen in digital marketing, how the industry overcame them, and what lessons we can learn and apply to what’s currently happening and the evolving state of privacy.
How businesses interact with consumers continues to evolve, and we must find new ways of creating and nurturing relationships that drive value. These relationships need to be beneficial to both the customer and the company. In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of policy changes. Global policies and regulatory changes affect advertising technology, digital marketing, the ecosystem at large, including the general data-protection regulation, or GDPR, Canada’s anti-spam law, and also California’s consumer privacy law.
To navigate this evolving environment, we need to adapt our consumer relationships. We need to establish and grow them over time to build meaningful connections. Our approach is gathering first-party data. We’ve seen this already in practice, in our everyday world. For example, we give a phone number or email address in exchange for loyalty points or a discount. Consumers want and deserve to be in control of their data, and it’s our mission to enable personalized engaging connections between you and your customers in this new world.
We’re going to provide examples and some ideas on how to move forward in this dynamic environment. But first, before we do that, we wanna give you more insight into the changes that are happening. For those of you more technically-minded marketers, you’ll appreciate some of the details we have to share. Let me turn the conversation over to Tom Janofsky, CM Group’s CTO, to tell you about what our teams have been doing with testing and research over the last few weeks. All yours, Tom.
Tom: Thanks again for joining us today. I’m Tom Janofsky, CM Group’s CTO. Today, I’d like to talk about the technical details behind the changes that Apple has introduced. At a high level, these apple changes are consistent with broad trends we’ve seen in the email market over the last few years, including GDPR, Gmail image proxying, and open pixel filtering.
The new Apple features we’re discussing today are called Apple mail privacy and iCloud Private Relay. Both of these will be opt-in features for iOS, iPadOS, and Mac OS users. iCloud Private Relay will initially only be available to users on a paid iCloud account. Based on the user experience we’ve seen in the beta, as well as the uptake rate for the recently released app-tracking transparency feature, we believe that many users will opt into using these privacy features.
Let’s go through specifically what the new features are, and then we’ll talk about specifically who it impacts and what features you use today that may be impacted. When a user opts into Apple mail privacy, the native mail application will first load all images that are shown in an email when the email is downloaded to the device. This is not how it works today, today email images are only loaded when an email is open, including tracking pixels. This is how we determine open rates for an email.
Those images are also going to be loaded through a proxy. So, this means that the direct IP address of the subscriber is not gonna be available to the email-service provider. Additionally, the user agent, which is what an email service provider uses to determine what kind of email client is being used to open the device, is no longer going to be specific enough to identify the device. In addition, if the subscriber has opted into the iCloud Private Relay, that same functionality that hides the IP address from loading an email is also gonna be carried over to the Safari browser.
So, what subscribers does this impact? Any subscriber who’s using the native Apple Mail application to read their email, be it on an iPhone, an iPad, or a Mac, will be able to turn these features on. Subscribers who use those devices but instead read their mail through Gmail or through an Outlook application or on their respective web views are not impacted. Initial surveys show that for consumer lists this may be 30% to 40% of the traffic but the percentage of people who are affected will depend greatly depending on your specific audience.
So, what does this mean for working with an email product? First of all, it means that open rates will become less accurate. Since email service providers measure opens by counting the number of times that an image is loaded and the Apple Mail privacy change will download all images when an email is opened by a device, this means that open rates will likely go up. And also there will be no way of knowing if a specific subscriber has opened an email or not. The changes regarding IP address masking will affect GEO targeting features. So, if you’re currently building a list based on the geographic region that a subscriber is located in, that will become less accurate over time. Specifically, how less accurate it becomes won’t be clear until the feature is available in wider use from Apple.
Additional areas of impact include engagement and open targeting, so, using engagement criteria the target opens, or automation steps that target opens, will be less accurate than before. Also, device and client segmentation, building lists that use devices or operating systems will be less accurate than it used to be.
In terms of timeline, Apple traditionally releases their updates in September. We will continue to monitor and test each new beta release. We believe that these changes will get widely released in Q3 of this year. And based on adoption rates from previous operating-system upgrades, we expect that we will see those be quickly adopted across iOS, iPad OS, and Mac Mail.
Desta: Thanks, Tom. Let’s step back and take a look at how these changes may impact our marketing strategies and how we measure them. We’ll talk about specific best practices later in the presentation. Right now let’s recap the key things you need to know about how these changes will shape your efforts in the near future.
So, the three key things to know. First, reviews, referrals, events, and more, drip series and campaigns can influence user behavior just by being in a customer’s inbox. Use lengthier time windows to measure success. Number two, collect data directly from the consumer when it’s important for segmentation, for targeting. Ask, don’t infer, about language, location, time zone, and device preferences. Previously used inference methods are becoming increasingly less reliable. And three, consider collecting additional personal identifiers, phone number, social handle, to help bridge gaps in conversion. Masked identifiers and features such as “hide my email” could make it harder to use a lone identifier as a single source of truth.
With these thoughts in mind, later today, you’ll hear more about solution best practices and recommendations in response to the evolving conditions that we live in. We’ll talk about updating your landing pages, preference centers, and subscription forms to collect and form customer segments. You’ll also get guidance on how to leverage our platforms to identify success metrics beyond opens. We’ll also talk to two industry experts about their vision on how privacy is shifting the marketing landscape. This isn’t the first technological change affecting digital marketing and we know it won’t be the last. We’ll talk with our guests on how to prepare for changes and what to do to manage expectations for your stakeholders.
So, where do we go from here? There’s several areas that we can focus on for the future. First, going beyond opens and click-through rates. Opens and click-through rates were and remain proxies to larger success metrics such as revenue or page views. Clicks will remain a relevant metric for engagement but they don’t need to be the only success metric that you’re following. Email marketers often refer to single mass sends, what we used to call “batch and blast,” as campaigns. The irony is that these sends are themselves just a moment in a series of customer experiences. The aggregate of those experiences is what matters. A campaign is a series of actions leading toward a goal or multiple goals. It’s time to talk about those goals. What are they and what do they mean to you?
As we look forward at our roadmap in the coming months, know that our goals are centered around knowing about your business goals. We’ll also be focused on making reporting on key metrics easier for you, providing you with a one-stop shop for your success metrics across your digital channels and making the transfer of data between your systems and our systems seamless and as real-time as possible.
Leveraging metadata. Open rate and click-to-open rate are metadata points about consumer behavior. But they’re rarely the true business goal of email campaigns. A consumer’s loyalty to a product or a brand persists even if they don’t visit it, consume it, or use it every single day. Deriving the type of phone or browser from a web call, from a device to server, mapping an IP address to a city or region, hinging the definition of success on long-form newsletter because it was opened but for an often indeterminate length of time, these are examples of metadata points. Digital marketing has always relied on processing metadata about consumers to position itself as a more attractive mechanism for selling products and delivering information. Any instance to give precise understanding of ROI appeals to executives. Media has long dealt with imperfections in measurement. Ratings books, print circulation numbers, even subscription counts, these were traditionally accepted measures of scale and success but they never correlated to a precise number of eyes and ears consuming the content. It was and remains at best an estimate.
Commerce marketers benefit from straightforward attribution models thanks to cookies and URL parameters. Purchases and revenue are often easy to collect and retreat back to ad hoc campaign sends. However, affiliate marketers know the difficulty in tracing things back to the right source every time. Revenue and purchase count are easy to calculate but not every commerce company sees those values as the same, nor are they always the measure of success other stakeholders are evaluating.
The explicit shift to implicit attribution. Across all verticals, digital marketers need to look and start taking credit for more consumer activity. We have existed far too long in an explicit attribution model. When peers and other marketing channels display direct-mail events are able to take credit through more implicit and less conservative attribution models. Here’s what’s going to be different though. If you’re wondering, “Well, what’s the catch in all of this?” digital marketing and digital marketers will undergo a shift to be even more comfortable with implicit attribution models for measuring success. Maybe a product review happens within 7 days of receiving a post purchase automation series. Let’s take credit for that. If a user clicks on a smiley face or a thumbs up in your long form, self-contained newsletter, at least once a week, take credit for it. Own that success and create a new baseline for active engagement. When a user attends an in-store or on-site event or webinar, attribute that back to the most recent automation or mass send as a met goal. What we owe stakeholders and executives is an understanding that we and they were already comfortable with implicit models of attribution and digital marketing. We can expand that universe to report, attribute, and segment on so much more than email opens and clicks.
So, why email still works? And remember, when it comes to building loyalty, end users don’t think of their interactions with your brand as a campaign or a statistic, consumers rely on email as a trusted direct medium that delivers information, news, discounts, shopping enticement all in a mailbox that also houses critical bills, medical alerts, and messages from loved ones. A study in 2020 showed that email engagement was up 200% since the pandemic began, at a time when things were pretty uncertain. That’s a great indicator of confidence in a medium that can cue app downloads, website logins, product reviews, travel plans, donations, event registrations, and so much more all from a tap or a click in the palm of your hand. As our solutions continue to evolve to better tie push notifications, SMS, chat apps, and so much more to the overall workflow, we know email remains a tried and true method of communication. Let’s pause for a moment before we transition to our fireside chat.
So, thank you everyone again for your time today and welcome to our fireside chat. Joining us now are two industry veterans who work closely with commerce and publishing brands across the world. They’re also expert email marketing and they’ve gotten their background using both our tools at CM Group, as well as others. So, today I wanna actually welcome Monica and Allison to join me as part of our fireside chat. So, Monica and Allison, if you wanna go ahead and unmute yourselves…and, hopefully, that then will give me the option to start by having you both introduce yourselves. Allison, maybe you can give us a little bit about your background to get started.
Allison: Yeah, sure, thanks for having me here today. So, my background…my name is Allison Mezzafonte, my background is in media and publishing. I’ve spent my career working at a variety of media companies and publishers, some digital, some print, some combination of the two. Originally started my career on the editorial side of the house and worked my way over to general management where I had been sitting for the last 8 or so years until I left and went out on my own. And, so, I work now as an advisor to CM Group and I get to participate in lots of great events like this one. And because my background is very much in media and publishing and I’ve been a customer twice now of Sailthru, I have this unique position where I get to sort of be the voice of the customer within the walls of the company. Which is really fun, I kind of get to wear both hats, having been on the other side of the table where you all sit. So, I’m really happy to be here and excited for our conversation. And thanks again, Desta.
Desta: Absolutely. And we’re excited to have you here and just hear a different perspective from somebody who’s kind of outside the walls and understands what happens day to day at one of our customers. So, Monica, maybe you can introduce yourself for us.
Monica: Of course. Hi everyone, my name is Monica Deretich. And, similar to Allison, I also sit outside of the walls and was a previous customer of Sailthru. I spent my career mostly entirely in retail embedded in e-commerce. I’ve worked for subscription business, D2C, and now consult with retailers ranging from startup to enterprise and even brick-and-mortar. So, I’m excited to be here. And, similar to Allison, I also provide the lens of a retail marketer and what’s important to retailers in the changing dynamics that I’m excited to talk about today. And I bring that to CM Group so that they can best serve their customers.
Desta: Well, I appreciate having you here as well. And, you know, we’ve been talking so far today really about the changes that Apple is bringing. Which is nothing new, privacy continues to evolve. And, so, we’ve put some questions together that we really think are our customers. You know, we’ve heard a lot from them, asked them to give us feedback on questions they’re having. But I think getting the two of you to kind of give your lens on some things, you know, from sitting in their shoes will be really helpful.
So, let’s go ahead and get started. First question is really, “How do I get my executive team to understand this change?” And, you know, we remember that everyone else in the industry is dealing with the same issue, you know, privacy is changing for everyone. So, I’d love maybe Allison if you could start us off with that.
Allison: Sure. Yeah. Well, I mean I think if there is one thing that we’ve seen across the media and publishing industry is that we’re constantly having to adapt to industry changes. And, so, I wish I could say that this is something new. It’s not. But I do think that we’re seeing generally like sort of two reactions, right, either it’s sort of like, “The world is ending, sky is falling, what are we going to do about this?” and then I think there are other companies where they’re just feeling less urgency and there’s sort of a little bit of like, “what changes are coming up?”
And I think that’s important to remember is that we’ve dealt with changes of this magnitude in the past and we’ve always gotten through it. Right? It’s forced us to adapt and be more efficient and strategic. And, you know, we’ve dealt with GDPR and CCPA and, you know, years ago dealing with Facebook and Google and their algorithm and policy updates. You know, media companies have gotten [inaudible 00:21:41] left and right for things like bad UX or bad ad experiences or clickbait headlines. And it’s forced us to adapt and I always think it sort of made us better for it. And, so, I like to think of it as a great opportunity for the industry to improve to really work on list maintenance and really our email strategies.
You know, there’s one stat that I recently came across, it said that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data if it creates a more personalized experience. And, so, I think that’s important to keep in mind, I think we have to figure out how we’re going to strike a balance here not going too far in one direction and making sure that we’re able to create great experiences for customers while still, you know, playing nice with Apple and managing these privacy changes.
Desta: It absolutely makes sense. Maybe, Monica, we can get your take on it.
Monica: Absolutely. So, on the retail side, I think we’ve been, in different ways, we’ve all had a very interesting and unprecedented holiday season. And I can’t believe it’s August and we’re going into it. So, I think the nature of retail is that it’s typically responsive to, you know, immediate performance. So, a little bit of blinders and catching breath is sort of the sentiment I’ve gathered from my peers. And I think, with this new update coming and impacting or creating another unprecedented holiday season for retail, I think it’s almost…the approach I would take is the, you know, repetition, start to continue to bring this up. And if I can give a tip to those listening in today, you know, bring this up in your recurring meetings and communications with your, you know, internal cross-departmental partners. This is a big milestone. Be proactive. Start to understand and view your data and see how much of, you know, your email list is using an Apple device. Understand the open rates and the differences. This is gonna help shape the conversation and educate internally to your executive team. And if I could make a suggestion in addition to understanding, you know, the current metrics, you know, start building and bundling up with a high-level plan to pivot and sort of demonstrate the agility that’s probably already been demonstrated in the last year because of all the changes when pivot’s needed as a result of last year.
Desta: Yeah. It’s definitely been 18-20 months to remember, or not remember, I guess depending on how you look at it. And I know it’s changed the world here. And, obviously, as we look at privacy, people have become kind of more aware I think of things. And, so, Allison, you touched on it a little bit but, you know, as we look at the past, I think there’s some moments where digital marketing has encountered some changes disruptive to the industry. And, so, Monica, maybe you start us off on this one, you can tell us a little bit more about kind of how you see those impacting what we do today and how did we deal with it in the past, how do we take it forward?
Monica: Yeah. So, Allison, touched on GDPR and CASL and I think, you know, in my experience, those were the biggest instructors in email. So, I do think that we have gained so much, in the last year, just a positive spin, as marketers, we’ve become so agile and flexible to things like supply-chain issues, shipping delays, inventory challenges on the retail side that we’ve been able to be really flexible. And that’s the biggest learning. While we may not have all the answers and, you know, we’re sort of planning for the unpredictable, that is our biggest strength that we’ve basically gained in the last year.
And I think, I know we may be talking about the specific tactics, but GDPR and CASL were the biggest things, and we’ve gotten through that right. It wasn’t easy, it had an impact we’ve navigated. You know, marketing is all about iteration and optimization, you have to start somewhere and then you have to test. Right? It’s not a “check the box and move on,” it’s continue to work on and optimize.
Allison: Yeah. And I would add to that. You know, GDPR, CCPA, those were definitely challenges that we had to face as an industry. But even thinking back before that, you know, before Facebook and social channels were what they are now, you know, we were able to use them as marketing channels where you didn’t have to pay to play, where you could really control and own your own reach with your audience and control the message that you distributed to them. And then, of course, that all changed. And when it changed, it was such an abrupt sort of slap in the face where, you know, businesses were building their businesses, their livelihoods depended on their ability to reach these people who were engaging with them on these channels. And then Facebook and others decided to change that. But I think the takeaway is that there’s always going to be these types of pressures and, like Monica said, we’re always being forced to adapt.
I think the reality, in my opinion, is that, as an industry, the sooner that we iterate and adapt, the better off we’re all going to be, specifically around things like changing KPIs. You know, if we all get on board with it, on the buy side and the sell side, I think, the sooner we can kind of move forward collectively.
Monica: I agree 100%. I instantly thought, “Accept the fate, let’s just move forward.”
Desta: I was gonna say I agree too. Change is inevitable, I mean that’s what we live and breathe, that’s life. And, so, how do we adapt to it and how do we become smarter and learn from it in order to apply it forward. So, slightly different question kind of related, “Is it still wise to focus on dormant and disengaged audiences? I know, you know, over the last, you know, many months of the pandemic, there was a lot of focus. And there are risks with deliverability in terms of domain reputation, etc. So, I would like your take on that.
Allison: Sure, I can jump in on that. So, I mean my opinion is it’s probably not the best place to put your resources. I mean I think we’ve seen, you know, the post-COVID slump, there was a ton of engagement during peak 2020. We’ve seen a lot of that drop off. There’s been challenges across the board at all different types of media companies figuring out how to re-engage these users. It’s not to say it’s not possible but, my personal opinion, and it might swing a little bit too far in one direction, but, you know, my sense is like let’s focus where we have an audience that is engaged, try to build out that profile, and maximize that audience.
You know, I think, if ever there’s a good time for us to be doing hygiene checks of our lists and get our audience to a good place, it’s now. So, I would, rather than focusing on re-engaging the people who’ve been dormant, I would think more about how can we build upon the audience that’s been incredibly engaged.
Desta: It makes sense. And maybe, Monica, your take on the retail side.
Monica: Well, it actually matches perfectly to what Allison said. So, I echo that. Not focus on dormant or disengaged audiences, maybe that’s a strategy for a different channel, but focus on retention before they become disengaged. And, you know, last year, many retailers saw a trim in budget and head count. So, I typically guide my clients to focus on high-intent and high-value users and customers to generate the most results for all of their efforts.
Desta: It makes sense. You know, if we look at, I’ll say, this new world with privacy, you know, does it still make sense to do A/B testing of subject lines or is that really now irrelevant, based on kind of the information that we have available to us? And maybe, Allison, you can kick us off with that one?
Allison: Yeah. I mean I think that there’s always going to be learnings that we can gather, even if they’re not explicit. I think the bigger question is like, “How quickly will the technology adapt to keep up?” Because really what this means is that KPIs are changing, right, which we all know, and the metrics that we once used to inform A/B testing, right, so, opens, for example, are no longer an option for us. So, what metrics are we going to be using to trigger these signals?
And I think that’s a question for the technology partners that we all work with that, yes, it will continue to evolve, I don’t think we’re going to have the answer, all set and done by September when these updates are due to happen. But I do think it’s very important to be having these conversations with your technology partners to understand what they’re thinking about and how they’re planning to adapt, knowing that metrics and the means of trigger are going to change.
Monica: And I agree. So, you should absolutely continue your work, subject-line testing. A subject line is still a lever for a marketer to engage, you know, a subscriber or customer. So, if I had run A/B winner tests solely on open rate, I’d probably would’ve put out some losers, to be honest. A subject-line test should be looking at, yes, open rate to see the performance of the subject line, but all the way through to click, to conversion, and revenue. Right? So, there are so many metrics to do it. You know, obviously, it pushes it down the funnel and focus on click but I think it’s important to follow the performance on your top winning metrics. So, if it’s a first-time conversion rate on retail or RPM or revenue for your existing customers, run your subject-line tests, it’s still a lever for marketers, and look at a primary KPI.
Also, I wouldn’t discount the data that is still available after this Apple privacy update. It’s still a solid proxy for the rest of your audience and how they behave and it’s still a viable way to understand what your customers want to see or what they’re reacting to.
Desta: Makes sense. And I think, you know, as part of it from, you know, talking on the product side for the solutions used out there, we’ve gotta do a better job in helping to service the metrics that customers need to go beyond where they are with kind of opens and clicks today and get to whatever is meaningful for their business. And, so, I think we’ll continue to build off of that.
You know, I guess a more general question, and, you know, I wear my hat as a mom of also teenage girls who do a lot of things retail online, they get a lot of stuff, but just will this change consumer behavior? You know, how do we think that will impact the end consumer very differently, I think, on the media side than the retail side, but how do we expect this to really change what consumers are doing?
Allison: Yeah. I mean I go back to the staff that I threw out earlier, that like 83% of people are willing to hand off over their data if it means a better more personalized experience. And, so, you know, I don’t imagine that this is going to change consumer behavior directly but I do worry about the impact it’s going to have on consumer experiences with our brands. Right? So, there’s a reason that personalization exists, of course, right, and there’s a reason that we collect data and build segments and try to create profiles of our audience because, the more we know about them, the better experience that we can serve them.
And, you know, like I said earlier, like I hope the pendulum isn’t swinging too far in the other direction where it makes this type of personalization obsolete and leaves consumers with, you know, generic email experiences. Because that, you know, we know could affect their relationship with our brands, and that’s, obviously, not what we’re going for here. So, that’s my concern with the update.
Desta: And I’ll say, just as a consumer, that isn’t what I want either because that doesn’t work for, you know, what I want in an experience. And, so, Monica, I would love your take on the retail side.
Monica: Sure. So, I put my consumer hat on and I think about going on to an Instagram and seeing a pop-up that says, you know, “show my email,” “hide my email…” it’s always “hide my email” and it’s default. I’m a marketer so that hurt pains me to say but, you know, it’s kind of autopilot mode. So, I don’t think that the consumer is going to be aware of what impacts it’ll have on the marketing and messaging they receive as a result. So, I don’t think that their consumer behavior is going to change as a direct result of these Apple updates. But, similar to what Allison said, down the line, it’s going to impact the relevancy of what we put in front of our consumers.
I think that, as marketers, we need to, you know, sort of shift based on the decisions we can make and what we are able to collect. It may not be a return to analog and madmen advertising but it’s gonna be a balance. And I think it puts more…I won’t say “pressure” but more of a focus on brand authenticity and storytelling. And that’s really something I know that, you know, on the media side, in Allison’s world, the storytelling, that is the product. Right? And, on the retail side, email has been such a revenue-generating channel that I think that it’s evolving to be a part of a broader customer experience across many channels and the metrics of success more focused on engagement. So, it’s really shifting so many things that we have to take into consideration, as far as like how are we building relationships with the consumer. And then it’ll tell us and show us, hopefully, not immediate KPI metrics but, ultimately, in the customer lifetime value.
Desta: So, we’ve touched on metrics a few times. I guess, you know, if we dig into that a little bit more, what are other metrics that you think people can use as a new baseline as we go beyond kind of opens and clicks and how do we measure that. So, Allison, why don’t we go back to you?
Allison: Yeah. You know, it’s hard to say specifically what those metrics are going to be. There are, of course, a number of them, I think we all know what they are. In my mind, I think that the opportunity here is like we need to focus, not that we haven’t been focusing on this, but like increased focus on how to optimize for a customer experience. Right? Like that’s ultimately the direction that we should be heading in. Because, if we have an optimal user experience, theoretically, all else should follow.
And I think that shifts the focus a little bit. Right? It’s not just about opens, it’s about other actions that might be further down the funnel but might actually be more meaningful or, you know, be greater indicators of brands’ affinity or likelihood to convert. You know, I think…I mean I’ve seen this so many times within the industry, the industry’s relationship with outside platforms. I mean we become dependent on a certain way of doing things or measuring things, and then something like this happens where we’re forced to change and it feels sort of like, you know, the world might end but then actually kind of we move past it and then we just find new ways of operating.
And, so, I think, you know, there, you know, some of the other metrics that we might look at, it could be recency of sign up, purchase, in Monica’s case, in some cases, on the media side as well, on-site behavior and email engagement. I mean I think that there’s plenty of data that will still exist. It’s like a paradigm shift within the industry to get everybody, both the media side and the advertising side, to really shift the way that they view their KPIs.
Monica: Agreed. We’re not getting any new metrics out of this, we’re losing a little bit. But, you know, at the end of the day, there are top-line KPIs that we hold ourselves to, in regards to goals and budgets in a retail organization, that are not. So, you know, I’m on the positive side of things. I think it’s going to force us to be a little bit more creative on how we gauge performance and it may involve some more qualitative ways of looking at how consumers are engaging with the brand. We’re spoiled.
Desta: We can continue that way, we just have to figure out what to be spoiled about, I think. And I think, you know, if we look at, you know, a specific example, like if…you know, I have a newsletter, it’s self-contained, like what options do I have?
Monica: Yeah. And then, you know, I’ll take this one, and I, honestly, think this may be the fun part of all this as a marketer to be creative. I think there are tools out there that may have been sort of nice to have, that may be a nice layer on in regards to our email like toolkit, something like Liveclicker, for example. There are a lot of tactics that have been used on social programs, like Instagram Stories, around like live polls. That’s a great way to get engagement, you’re getting the user to click. That can be easily translated into an email. And not only that, to generate the click, but to then pull back into your ESP and leverage for segmentation purposes and really continue to collect that, you know, zero-party first-party data to build those relevant messages. And I think that is a really cool thing that could come out of it that we could see changing email campaigns.
Allison: Yeah. This is one of the first things that came to mind for me because, particularly in the media space, we’ve seen such success with these types of self-contained newsletters where consumers are increasingly becoming accustomed to consuming their content in that way, where they don’t expect having to click to go back to a website to read the full story, the full story is in the email. I don’t anticipate that that’s going to go away. I mean I think, sort of like we were saying earlier, you know, if you do [inaudible 00:41:42] the consumer and you provide a good experience and you meet their needs, I like to believe, hopefully, not naively, but I like to believe that all else follows and falls into place.
And, so, again, like I think it’s a little bit of…I don’t wanna say “smoke and mirrors” but like we shouldn’t be changing our email strategies and changing what we deliver to our consumers because the KPIs don’t line up or don’t make sense or we can’t report back to an advertiser about an open rate. So, I think it’s important to sort of keep our focus on that. I know that that’s easier said than done. But again, it’s like I said before, it’s like, the sooner that the industry, as a whole, adapts, both on the buy side and the sell side, the sooner we can kind of move past this and get back to just focusing on creating great email experiences.
Desta: I think well summarized there. And, unfortunately, that’s all the time we have today before we dive in deeper to each of our products. I wanna thank both of you for joining us today. It’s been very insightful just to hear kind of your perspectives coming out of industry. And we really look forward to having you back on some future conversations we’ll share.
As a note to everyone, these entire sessions will be sent out in recording with a transcript within the next week. And, so, you’ll have an opportunity if you wanna go back and listen to something that you thought you missed to do that. And, so, we’re not quite done yet. We’re going to pause for 5 minutes now and give everyone a chance to take a short break. And after that, we’ll be bringing back specific members of our product team who are gonna walk you through best practices and advice for continuing to make the best use of the platform as these changes evolve, as well as answer your specific questions that you submitted. And, so, we look forward to that. So, stay tuned and we’ll talk to you soon. Thank you.
David: Welcome back everyone. Thanks again for joining us today, a great presentation there with Desta, Monica, and Allison to wrap up the earlier part of our conversation today, now, as we shift over into a more specific conversation as to what is going on within Campaign Monitor. I’m pleased to have with us today not only myself, of course, but Stu. Hello, Stu.
Stuart: Hey, Dave. How are you doing?
David: Great to have you with us, Stu, the VP of engineering at Campaign Monitor. My name is Dave Studinski, I’m the director of product strategy across CM Group, which, as many of you heard earlier from Desta, represents all of our portfolio brands here within the larger CM family. Great to be walking through this larger presentation with you today. And then we’re gonna deep dive.
Now, as we start to talk a little bit more about the product specifically that you all use on a day-to-day basis, we’re gonna break down the things you need to know about how these changes are influencing your day-to-day operations, what it is you need to know about system functionality that may be changing or that you should be aware of. Stu’s gonna help us walk through some of those nuances and details so that you feel like you have all the information when you walk away from today as to what you need to be doing to prepare for these changes.
So, coming up, we’re gonna walk through these changes feature by feature, let you know what you should have on top of mind and in the back of your head as well, as the next few months come in. We’ll also then take a look at some of the things we’ve got coming up from a roadmap perspective within Campaign Monitor, some things you should be excited about. And then we’ll be taking your questions. So, of course, as the conversation evolves, feel free to keep those questions coming to us here in the chat, we’ll do our best to rally those up at the end. And, if we don’t have time to get to all of them, we’ll be sure to be following up with all of you individually to make sure that we get your questions answered.
So, let’s jump in and get the conversation started. First of all, recapping a couple of key things that we want you to know. If you take nothing else away from the conversation today, these are the key points that we want you to have in mind.
A truth here, open rates, going to be coming a little less reliable. So, it’s time to start looking beyond those open rates at engagement that may revolve from click behavior too. This is something to be aware of to keep in mind that how subscribers are engaging with this messaging is not necessarily changing but how you’ll be able to see it, again, with that open rate being discounted a little bit likely to go artificially up, that is what you’re going to have to be paying attention to. So, start to pay attention to some of the other metrics that may be influencing your business bottom line, that’s our first main point and takeaway today.
Secondly, first party data. This is something that we want you to be aware of as something to hold a little bit closer to the chest, to pay more attention to, and start to think about how you can bring it into your platform. Some of you may be using other data systems out there, you know, CDPs or even your own CRMs, and maybe that data is not accessible to you, as an email marketer, and it should start to be. Things like language, city, time zone. If you’re not bringing those into the system already, if you don’t have a way to segment on those audiences, now’s the time to do it. And if you’ve been using some of the more inferior ways to do that in the past, those are going to start to become a little less accurate, as we move forward in the future, because of these Apple privacy changes.
And lastly, on the third end, this is all evolving. iOS 15 still in beta right now so there’s still some things we think will happen, still some surprises that Apple may have up their sleeve. We have our teams, not only within Campaign Monitor but across the CM Group, proper paying attention to these. And we’re gonna be doing our best to keep, of course, our teams updated but also working to keep all of you in the know, so, as these changes evolve, you’re aware of what you need to alter within your tactical but also your long-term strategic visions for your email-marketing programs.
So, next we’re gonna start to deep dive into the feature a little bit and give you an understanding of what it is that you should be aware of, what’s changing, what you can do, from a best practice standpoint, to start to work around and work above these changes. And where we’re going to start with that conversation first is on the analytics and the measurement front. So, first of all, we’re gonna talk about those open rates. We know that those are going to change a little bit. Stu, talk to us about how this is gonna evolve in the platform and what folks can do to prepare for these changes.
Stuart: Yeah, definitely. Look, we’re all pretty clear that, you know, open rates have been something that a lot of people have used to benchmark the success of their campaigns and their marketing strategy. Our recommendation now is really to start looking at some of the other metrics that we have available and using those to really benchmark your campaigns. If you navigate to the Insights page within Campaign Monitor, there are some other metrics there that we’ve sort of got visible at the moment that you can use to just start benchmarking your campaigns today. Right? So, delivery rate is something that we think is super important. You, obviously, wanna know how many of your customers are receiving your communication. The click rate is the other thing that we wanna bring into a little bit more focus now. Obviously, the amount of people that are getting into your marketing. And then clicking through is super important.
One of the things that we want people to be aware of is, you know, click rate is something that we do show throughout Campaign Monitor. There are a couple of different ways to look at click rate. We’ll go into this in a little bit more detail in a couple other slides. But, generally, if you look here in Campaign, in the Insights tab, you will see, “Look, there is the click rate there, that is the actual click rate of the campaign,” not the click-to-open rate, which is often referred in other parts of the application. So, they’re the sort of measures that we want you to start looking for. You know, if you are sending out stuff that you wanna drive people back to your site and you’re trying to get, you know, conversions off the back of your email marketing, obviously, make sure that you have the right integration set up. Look at things like Google Analytics to measure basically your customer’s journey throughout the funnel. And you can really drive through and get the ROI of your email program front and center and something that you can easily and reliably see how well that’s performing.
Obviously, not everybody is trying to sell something through their marketing. And sometimes we have people like publishers and people looking at their email marketing and reading through the content. It becomes a little bit trickier in that situation. Our advice here is to look for ways to drive that click, look for things that you can put into your content that either gets people clicking through to your website or perhaps, you know, you have like a semi-regular survey that you want people to fill out, giving you feedback on the content that you’ve got in there. It doesn’t need to be super sophisticated, what you’ve got in to drive that click, all you really need is that call-to-action button, get people clicking, and then get something that you can reliably measure and won’t be impacted by these Apple privacy changes.
David: Click becoming that almighty new metric that we’re looking at, open starting to take a back seat, that’s the big takeaway coming away from this change I think that most people aware of at this point too. And then there’s another stat that, of course, is influenced only because it is the denominator in the equation of click-to-open rate. So, this is changing too. And to your point, Stu, you were talking about how this is also referenced in the Campaign Monitor platform. Break these out for us, tell us what we need to be looking for when we’re in this system.
Stuart: Yeah, exactly. So, you know, because open rates have previously been a lot more reliable, we’ve predominantly shown the click-to-open rate. So, that is, obviously, you know, let’s say 50% of your emails open and every one of those has a click-through, you’ll see your click-to-open rate sit at 100%. So, that is generally the metric that we show in a lot of our reporting screens. Like I said, in the Insights tab, you can go in and see the actual click rate, either for an individual campaign or a group of campaigns, over a time period. So, obviously, with the open rates starting to increase through the Apple privacy changes, it will mean that your click-to-open rate will actually start to decrease.
Now, it will depend how dramatic that will be, depending on, you know, the amount of Apple users you have as part of your subscriber lists. Obviously, the more you have in there, the bigger impact that’s gonna be and you’re gonna start seeing those click-to-open rates come down. Obviously, you know, looking at that click rate will be a better benchmark now and will be a better measure for it. As part of the product development team, we’re currently looking at how we start to show that click rate, and not just the click-to-open rate throughout Campaign Monitor, across all the reports, and, basically, make sure that the metrics that we’re presenting to you is as useful as possible and gives you as much communication as possible.
David: So, good to know, as we leave the analytics and metrics part of the conversation. Definitely those are the parts of the platform that we know will be more immediately affected, they’ll start to become visible as these changes roll out, as people start to download this new version and it starts to, of course, influence those rates. But let’s talk a little bit more about the tactical, the day-to-day, how this is gonna influence what you’re doing when you’re logged in and active. So, first of all, from a segmentation standpoint, when we’re thinking about how open influences the campaign engagement criteria that we have inside, talk to us, Stu, about what we can expect and perhaps what we should be looking to do differently.
Stuart: Yeah. So, look, I think we think that, as well as seeing, you know, how your marketing is performing, segmentation is probably the next biggest impacted section of our application off the back of these Apple privacy changes. We’ve called out here that, you know, the segment rules and open rates will become less reliable. Really, what do we mean by “less reliable?” Basically we’re saying, you know, “If you’ve got segmentation rules that have open rates as part of that rule, you know, you’re gonna see a whole lot more opens coming through.” That means that segment is gonna get larger and we can’t guarantee that everybody who is falling into that segment is going to be somebody who’s opened that email. So, basically, any segmentation rules that you have that include open rates, as part of that rule, they will start to become less accurate.
So, one thing that we are recommending here is, obviously, you know, if you’ve got segments that have rules like that, start to look to include clicks. Clicks will need a little bit of different thinking behind it, you know, sometimes it takes a little bit longer for a click to come through so you might wanna be a little bit more generous around some of the conditions and time frames that you have as part of that segmentation ruling. But yeah, we actually think, you know, using clicks will give you a clearer more accurate segment and will allow you to hit the customers that are really getting in and interacting with your email.
David: To your point, we know click rate always…the smaller number compared to open rate. So, extending that out in a longer period of aggregation to really look over the course of, instead of a campaign by campaign, but over the course of maybe a week or 5 days, even taking credit for just someone having done something within one of those 5 or 7 days could become a new metric looking forward, as opposed to some of us who got used to looking at the open-rate metric day after day after day. This kind of defines that new model for what engagement could look like.
Speaking of engagement, the segments that are based inside, that folks see when they’re logging in, these also may have some changes as a result of this or at least how they’re perceived. What do we think is gonna happen here?
Stuart: Yeah. So, this looks a little bit confusing to some people, this automated segmentation is actually only available to certain plans. So, if you haven’t seen this before, that’s probably okay, it is only on certain plans. But yeah, this automated segmentation where we talk about your active and your engaged segments, it will definitely be impacted. So, we will see more people most likely pushed into that active segment. It does use calculations and algorithm engines around open rates. And, as we’ve said, with those open rates increasing, you will see people move more into that active segment.
Currently, the product development team, again, they’re investigating ways to try and improve the accuracy of engagement segments in the long term. Again, look at those email client reports to get a gauge of how large the impact will be. So, again, it will depend very much on how many users you have at the moment that are on Apple devices. And, you know, if you’ve got a large percentage in there, it will have a bigger impact than somebody who has quite a small percentage of Apple users.
So, stay tuned with this one, this is gonna be something that we’re gonna be looking in down the track. We will talk a little bit about what we’re doing coming up in some later slides. But yeah, this is an area that will be impacted, we’re aware of it, and we are gonna be monitoring this pretty closely and looking at what changes we can make.
David: And again, because everything’s still in beta and we’re waiting for this to even really hit the general public, there’s still changes that Apple could have up their sleeve that are affecting this. So, this period of continuing to monitor and pay attention to what we see, at least in testing, that’s going on, being prepared to take action but then actually making sure that we’re ready to take action when the time comes, that’s all part of the strategy that you and the team are working on.
So, moving on now to…when we talk a little bit about location, we know, from the earlier conversation that Tom was walking us through, that we’re gonna see some nuances now. Because part of this Mail Privacy Protection and also the iCloud Plus Private Relay behavior can potentially alter or outright obscure what we’re seeing with those IP addresses that then can help us figure out where a location is. What’s the best way to handle this going forward? What do we think we should be doing to get some of this information back into the platform? You know, for most marketers, I think the important question here is, when you’re doing segmentation in a platform based on this, what’s your main goal? Is it you’re trying to reach people in a certain time zone and spread those sends out? Is it that you’re looking just to have some sort of a city-based conversation, the content you’re messaging relates to a specific city? There’s a couple of different ways that you could segment on this audience. But the important thing is at least having the information to segment. So, Stu, how should we start getting this information into the platform in, perhaps, a more explicit way?
Stuart: Yeah. So, look, one of the call-outs we’ve had is, you know, obviously, look at your signup forms, look at some of the ways that, you know, you’re adding people into collecting the information about your people when you sign them up, things like that. Explicitly asking them for location data is actually not a bad thing. Right? This might be around the plan that, you know, you wanna try and target them with something that is localized to them. Or, you know, you wanna be able to offer them something that is, you know, in their region or very specific to where they are. Asking those questions directly and getting that information at sign up is really important. I’ll touch on in a second too, there are other things that you can do around preference center and updating people’s locations where we can store that information through, have it available in custom fields. And then you can basically use that data to segment and do whatever you want off the back of that again.
David: And some other tips going into this, explaining why this data is really important, being able to pull in particular offers, being able to look at certain things you wanna be doing that are centered around someone’s zip code, someone’s postal code, someone’s city area. The important detail around this is ask what you need but, of course, don’t ask for too much. We all know and are sometimes worried about these barriers to entry, these barriers to acquisition, you don’t wanna ask for everybody’s every last detail of demographic information if you’re not going to use it. But if it’s important to you, go out, ask it. Explain why it’s important to them too. I think that’s probably one of the biggest shifts that we’re seeing in this conversation between consumers and email marketers is we’re actually now being put even more in a place where we need to explain, “Hey, we need this data so that we can do X for you. We can tailor a message, we can give you better discounts, we can tailor better offers.”
And, of course, for those of you that are working with postal codes, city-states, our pro tip to you, you don’t need to ask for both, you can generally infer a city and a state location or some geographical location based on a postal code or zip code. Don’t make people fill out three form fields if all you’re willing to do is ask them for one. Now, when it comes time to actually putting this information into these landing pages, Stu, any final thoughts or comments you have in terms of how to do this within Campaign Monitor?
Stuart: Yeah. Look, I sort of touched on it before, you know, and this is because of the changing landscape that we have, you know. As consumers, we’re all much more aware of what’s happening with our data. You know, we’re much more concerned about who’s got what and what they’re using it for. As Dave said, you know, be upfront with people. Right? Like tell them why you want the data. Usually, it’s in their best interest. And if people are engaged with you, they will often give you that information.
You know, I touched on making sure you’ve got it in things like subscribe forms. I mentioned too you can use a preference center to help your existing subscribers easily fill out their details. I think the key here to really remember is, you know, make it easy for your subscribers to have ample opportunity to control their data. I think, if they know they can get in and they can change it and there are opportunities for them to update and do everything else, people are much more open with the data. So, yeah, that would be my big tip is be upfront what you want for, why you need it, and I think you’ll find your customers will reward that with providing that data.
David: Absolutely. As Desta was saying earlier, this is certainly a new era of putting consumers in control of their data and building that trust. It’s not impossible, it’s not a feat that cannot be achieved, it’s just something that marketers and all of us really are gonna need to work together for in this new future. To continue to build not only loyalty and equity with consumers but build in that trust so that we can establish even stronger relationships, just as we do in our personal lives.
Our final stop here is we look at some of the automation and intelligence capabilities within Campaign Monitor. Many of you, of course, have automated journeys set up and triggers that start those out. Knowing that we’re gonna see some effects here, Stu, what should we be on the lookout for and maybe starting to think about changing within our journeys?
Stuart: Yeah. Like Dave said, this is sort of the final stop around things that we think might be impacted off the back of the Apple changes. Obviously, with automation, they are heavily dependent on things like segmentation. You have things like triggers that are segment enters, segment exits that, if you have those sorts of segments, you’ve got journeys set up. And they’re using open rates as part of that segment rule logic. You probably need to go and have a look at them, think whether that still makes sense, again, that message of how many of your users might be on Apple devices and then work out how big of an impact that is. If you are concerned about it, look at adding the rules in around clicks and building out that segment a little bit more from a longer time frame to allow for those clicks to come through, looking over a bigger range.
Obviously, triggers is one part of automation. Throughout your automation, you may have things like condition rules, you may have sending rules that are also segment-related. Obviously, have a look through those, have a look and see what the rules are on them, see whether they’re dependent on opens. And if they are, adjust that segment accordingly.
Yeah, I think that’s probably the big call out on automation, generally speaking. Otherwise, if you’ve got things like any of the other trigger styles around join lists or date-based or anything else, we don’t see any impact to that. It should just be anything that you’ve got that is dependent on a segment that would be using opens.
David: Yeah, we see the example on the screen of a welcome email, welcome series, post-purchase series, various drip journeys that we see. A lot of us are used to using open rates as a method to guide those next steps, something that now, of course, because of this Apple Mail Privacy Protection, starting to cause all the pre-fetching. Which means all these opens will be happening sometimes before the user is actually engaged, that can create a new path. So, we’re all having to step back now and figure out what does engagement really mean in these journeys, but also what does success look like? And I think that’s an important question to pose to marketers. As you’re constructing these journeys in your head, what is it that you really are trying to get at? What is the end goal that’s important to you for that consumer [inaudible 01:10:46] experience, whether it’s them starting a subscription series or pushing them to an ultimate conversion? Really paying attention to that end goal as you reevaluate these journeys, an important part of the process.
We know a lot of people like to send messaging. We get accustomed to having certain emails right inside of our inbox at a certain time relative to where they are. This is also something that, based on how it’s derived from the IP address, could be changed because of these open rates being altered because of Apple just opening these emails or giving us the impression that the emails are being opened, as they’re being sent to the device, as opposed to when the user actually opens. This could have a potential effect inside of the tool, as it relates to a certain feature, so, where are we out as to where we see the sort of functionalities too.
Stuart: Yeah. So, particularly around time zone sending, and again, this is one of those features that is available on some of our more advanced plans, so, if you’re not currently using time zone sending, feel free to tune out for a minute. If you are using time zone sending, obviously, as Dave said, this is where we do look at the GEO location data and attempt to try and hit the mail into the inbox of the person in their time zone. So, if you want it to land at 9 a.m., it lands at 9 a.m. regardless of where they are in the world. So, look, this will be impacted, obviously, because it is dependent on that geolocation data. We do have fallback algorithms as part of timezone sending. So, the impact of that we will, obviously, just have to wait and see exactly how much impact that has. Again, it will depend on the composition of your lists and how many of those are Apple users.
The risk here is, yeah, if the data is incorrect, your subscriber will receive it at not the ideal time. Right? Like, let’s say, hey, I wanted to send it at 9 a.m., they may get it at 9 a.m. in a different timezone. So, that’s the impact. We are recommending you assess the impact of what that might be to your email marketing program. If you do happen to know that you’ve got, “Hey, I’ve got accurate first-party data location,” you can look to, basically, do almost like a manual time zone sending where you segment according to that location and then send in batches. That is one approach that you can take. We are, obviously, as part of the product-development team, we’re also looking at ways that we can start to tweak this algorithm and see what things we can do to try and make sure that that geolocation data is accurate as possible. Again, that’s something I’ll touch on in a couple of slides later around things that we’re investigating at the moment that might help to try and keep these things still pretty accurate. So, we’ll be keeping you updated on everything there.
David: It definitely throws back to some of the earlier slides that we were discussing in terms of updating those landing pages or, perhaps, your subscription process to explicitly ask the time zone they’re in or just the area that they’re in if targeting at this particular time is an important part of your brand strategy and your marketing outreach. At the same time. I think that this also poses a broader question to the industry as to how important these sorts of segmentation tools and activities are to marketers but also to consumers, at the end of the day, knowing that we’re losing some of these tricks up our sleeve, if you will. But certainly, the first-party data option explicitly asking for it is a good way to go if you’re willing to put on a little bit of extra work, of course, to send out those batches. There’s also another component of this that speaks to a more optimized method around looking at this data. Talk to us about this one, Stu.
Stuart: Yeah. So, send time optimization, again, this is a feature where we are trying to basically land an email in a box at a time when somebody’s most likely to open that email. Obviously, that has been heavily calculated off open time, so, we will look at, you know, the average open time in a particular region and then we will sort of say, “Hey, look, that’s a good time to send it in that space, and that’s when we’ll deliver that now.” With the changes, obviously, basically, as soon as you send it, we are expecting that that will look like it has been opened at that point. This will throw some of those calculations a little bit.
So, yeah, again, this is one of the things that you sort of need to have a look at your audience base and see whether you think this is gonna be a big impact for them. It is likely to shift some of those calculations around send time optimized, and, so, you may, if you think this is gonna be an issue for you, you may wanna go back to just simply scheduling at the specific time. So, yeah. So, we do anticipate, given this is heavily reliant on open data, there will be some impact on send time optimization as well. Again, this is something from the product development team that we are starting to look at. We’re starting to do a whole lot of testing around this already and we’re working out ways we can improve those algorithms to try and, again, make sure this is as accurate as possible.
David: It’s great that we have, of course, the Campaign Monitor engineering team and product team working on this but also, across the CM Group level, a number of folks across the world working on these problems to help take our next steps, not just as Campaign Monitor but a CM Group as a whole, and to be able to think about this. This is what’s been going on since this news’ first hint. A lot of brands, of course, paying attention to this privacy news. Some of these changes…not too surprising when it comes to where everyone expected Apple and, perhaps, Google and Gmail to be following suit at some point in the not so distant future. So, being able to look at that from the product perspective, again, reassuring to know that it is something that we are taking a look at.
There are some good things too that are worth mentioning here, before we move on to our Q&A part of the presentation today, some things that we wanted to make sure that we talked about. Stu, give us some idea of as to what we can look at inside of the system, what we need to know about the click rate, in particular, you were hinting to this a little bit earlier.
Stuart: Yeah, yeah, definitely. So, look, we have, historically, always shown click-to-open rates in the majority of our reporting. Sometimes they are titled “click rate” but “click-to-open rate” has been, you know, something that, in the industry, has been used as a really good driver on, you know, how people are engaging with your marketing. Obviously, now there is a bit of a shift and we are sort of suggesting that you look more at click rates. I did call out that, you know, if you go into the Insights tab in Campaign Monitor, you can go and have a look at that click rate for a campaign or for a group of campaigns.
Obviously, we understand that that also is not ideal. Ideally, we wanna have that information front and center. We want it so that you can be seeing it, making decisions in where you are in the moment. So, we are looking at ways we can start to bring that click rate more front and center, getting it into some of the reports that we’ve already got there.
One of the impacts of this will be that the rates will go down. Obviously, the click rate versus the click-to-open rate isn’t gonna be a lower number. We wanna do this as thoughtfully as possible, we don’t suddenly wanna spring on you, “Hey, now you were used to looking at click rates that were sitting in,” you know, “50% to 100% sort of levels and now, suddenly, they’re down at sort of like 10% to 20%.” We don’t want anything to be too alarming like that so we’re gonna try and make this as clear as possible. We’re, hopefully, going to look at ways that we can try and present both figures there so that, you know, perhaps you can actually look at them, you can compare them, that way you’ll get a really clear picture of how big this impact is.
Again, you know, Dave’s mentioned it a couple of times, this is something that is still in beta. We’re trying to work out how big this impact’s gonna be. The best thing we can do is give you, the customer, as much information as possible and, basically, arm you to make the decisions that you need to make. So, that is what we’re gonna be doing. We are looking at all these places where we show click rate and we’re gonna start looking at how we present this information as clearly and accurately as possible to you.
David: [inaudible 01:19:29] changes on the horizon there. Also then, of course, we know that geodata is something that’s affected by this. So, looking ahead to next steps on this.
Stuart: Yeah. So, look, with geodata, we are recommending that marketers start to engage their subscribers to provide that location information that’s specific to their use case. You know, Dave spoke through a couple of the examples around, you know, providing things like zip codes and postcodes. So, we can provide, you know, specific location, you know, store deals or things like that that you might have. Certainly making sure that your customer knows why they’re providing that data and what value they’re gonna get out of it is super important on this.
Obviously, there are still some features in Campaign Monitor that depend on that geolocation data, which is partly gathered at the moment from IPs associated with email opens. We do have a couple of strategies here. One of the short-term strategies that we are looking at is, if this data is coming through and we see it consistently coming through from certain IPs, that might be data centers that Apple owns or, you know, common locations that they’re using to basically go and trigger these opens, we may be able to discard some of that data. So, if we can identify, we can basically go, “Okay, we know this is coming from an Apple server and not actually coming from the customer themselves,” and we might be able to discard it. And then, you know, the data that we’re getting through from the clicks that will still contain the correct geolocation data from what we can see, that’s the stuff that we can still rely on, and that’s how we’ll still keep some of those accurate.
Obviously, that is what we’re looking at in the short term. Longer term, you know, spoken to a couple of those algorithms and things that we’re gonna be looking to tweak, obviously, we’ll need to see how big the impact is before we work out what we’re doing there. But we sort of have that short-term plan of, “Hey, if we start seeing consistent data that we know we can discard and it is stuff that we don’t wanna go and update geolocation data with, we will start discarding that pretty early on.”
David: A good summary there here of what the team is working on, just a bit of a summary, if you will, particularly as it relates to these changes to what may be in store, what the team’s looking at for some evaluations. I appreciate the questions coming in to us through the chat right now, feel free to keep those coming along, Q&A’s just a few more slides away here.
Before we let you go, I do wanna make sure that we touch on a few other things that are worth noting inside the system. A really exciting bit of news, and I know you’ve been super close to this, talk to us about what’s coming up for everybody.
Stuart: Yeah. So, look, I think probably everybody has seen some signs of basically some of our new user experience that has been coming out across the application. This has been quite a long running project where we’ve been really looking at redefining what Campaign Monitor looks like, how it works, how to make it as efficient as possible for you, the user. We are super excited about this. I know, on one hand, it looks like, “Hey, this is just sort of like a UI and a user-experience update,” and, if I can put my VP of engineering technical hat on, I’ll talk a little bit about some of the other stuff that we get out of this that I think will make a difference for you. In the back end, we have been changing a lot of the technology that sits behind this. And what that means is that we’ll actually be able to iterate on features much faster. We’ll be able to make a lot more changes to the application. What you’re seeing now is sort of like the first step towards that.
We’re really excited about where we can continue to grow this and the changes that we can keep making. We think we’re gonna be able to bring you a lot more features a lot faster. And look, we’re really excited about it. We’ve seen changes through a number of places across, you know, lists, across the campaign experience. I know we’ve just recently dropped the opt-in for everyone into the new campaign experience. If you haven’t tried it, I urge you to give it a go. Look, it’s very different from the old one but, you know, we think, once you get used to that, it will be super quick and you’ll understand just how easy it is to create through that new process. Yeah, lots of things coming through, we’ve got lots of things lined up as well. Like I said, I’m super excited about how quickly we’re gonna be able to move going forward from here.
David: And everything that’s going on under the hood, as you mentioned, that’s also everything that we were just talking about specifically as it relates to these privacy changes and the adjustments that we will maybe need to see after that, all this work that you’re talking about that you’ve been laying the groundwork for, helps you and the team move faster with those changes too, which is really great to see. Longer-term out, talk to us about kind of the [inaudible 01:24:34], what was really helping drive the team and the product forward.
Stuart: Yeah. And look, recently we’ve really doubled down on some of the things that we think are important to our users and to our application. You know, we really focus on intelligence simplicity, reliability. Some of the things that we’re looking to get in coming up around this, it is providing you a better way to start communicating with us. Right? You would’ve already seen, with some of the features that we’ve released, the ability to give feedback. That feedback is coming directly to us. If you put that feedback in, if you provide your email address, someone will reach out to you and they will come back to you around that feedback. We are looking at other ways we can do that, provide in-app help, easier ways to contact our support team, and making sure that you’ve got the help that you need to get the most out of our application and get your job done. So, that’s one thing that we’ve got on the roadmap coming up.
Some of the other things, you know, you probably have seen that we’ve got some present checks that we allow you to now sort of go in. And we’ll give you a warning if some of your links don’t look correct or they don’t look like they’ve been updated. We are looking to expand this and take this even further. Obviously, as a marketer, one of the scariest things is pushing that Send button. As much as we can build some confidence into the fact that, “Yeah, my content is right and it’s bang on. I’ve got confidence to hit that Send,” that’s what we’re looking to do. So we’re looking to take some of those present checks even further and seeing what else we can do with it. And so, yeah, we’re really excited about that, hopefully, again, coming up in the not too distant future.
And finally, we are looking around some increased options around styling and layout options for email builder. Again, this is something that, obviously, as a marketer, you spend a lot of time getting in there and defining your content. We wanna make sure you have as many options as possible, it’s as flexible as possible, and you can really make your marketing speak to your brand and personalize it as far as you possibly can. So, yeah. There’s some of the things that we’ve got, there’s a whole lot more, but yeah, there are a few of the focuses that we’ve got coming out, you know, like I said, in the not too distant future.
David: I’m really excited to see what you and the team have been up to. We definitely can all relate to that feeling that we have right before you hit that Send button of any sort of campaign. So, certainly, putting in those kind of pre-flight checklists…always an important thing that can put everybody just a little bit more at ease, give them a little bit more time to sleep at night. So, great work, and thanks to you and the team for everything that you’re doing there.
And thanks to all of you who have been submitting questions to us. We’re gonna go ahead and answer some of the ones that were submitted to us in advance of the presentation today, and then we’re gonna take a few of them here on the fly, as we go through. So, let’s start first, a little bit of rehash but important to call out, a very simple question that’s been asked but we’re gonna just put it all literally in text on the screen for you so you can see, “Is this gonna cause open rates to go up or down?” Where do we see this going, Stu?
Stuart: Yeah. So, look, hopefully, everyone is pretty clear on this one now, we definitely expect, with the pre-fetching of images, the way tracking pixels work to see whether you’ve opened, we are definitely expecting these open rates to go up. So, you should see a whole lot more opens coming off your content. As we said, that will make it a little bit harder to work out who is actually engaging with your email. Like we’ve said previously, you know, have a look at some of the things you’ve got going on there. You know, have a look at some of those segmentation rules, look at using clicks over the open rates because those open rates, you know, it’s a continuing trend, they will get less and less reliable. That’s what we believe. They will be going up quite high now. So, yeah. So, that’s definitely what we’re expecting to see.
David: Just an indisputable fact, at this point, that I think we’ve seen certainly the broader industry is accepting just as the next phase and needing to kind of accept this and move on, as we heard Monica and Allison talking about a little bit earlier. Next stop. “When it comes to click tracking, things are still gonna work as we expect? Anything we need to know about here?”
Stuart: Yeah. So, look, hopefully, this one is pretty clear as well. We’ve talked about the importance of clicks and everything moving forward. From all of our testing so far, we have seen that there’s been no impact on clicks. There’s been no pre-fetch or pre-clicking of links in any soft with any of the Apple testing that we’ve done so far. So, we are confident that click tracking won’t be interrupted.
David: And another one that stems into that somewhat similarly, if I’m looking at how this affects things, like Google Analytics, I’m not sure, the tracking, when it comes to those sorts of things, what are we expecting to see? Any changes there?
Stuart: Yeah. Again, this is something that we haven’t seen impacted. So, we are, as I mentioned, across the CM Group, actually we are testing this quite hard at the moment and we’ve seen no indication of anything, you know, like [inaudible 01:30:10] parameters being removed or anything that, you know, common sort of analytics and tracking techniques being interrupted by anything around the Apple privacy changes off any of the beta versions that we’ve seen so far. So, look, we don’t expect any impact on your on-site analytics tracking.
David: It’s good to know for everybody. Last one before we jump into some of the questions real time. This one definitely a popular question that we’ve seen across Campaign Monitor but also all of our sister brands within the CM Group. “Can we segment out the Apple users and just get rid of these people?” I mean Tom said earlier, our industry stats, something like 40%, kind of on average, that we’re seeing are probably affected by this. What’s our take on actually wanting to kind of put these people in a corner? Good idea, bad idea?
Stuart: So, yeah, look, it definitely is a question we get asked quite a lot. And look, being totally transparent, in Campaign Monitor, at the moment, we don’t have the ability to segment on device that people are opening on. So, it would be hard to try and do this, for starters. The second thing is we actually don’t recommend it. The one thing about this and the way this trend is going, it will actually become harder and harder to work out who your Apple customers are and who your other customers are. We’re not in the stage where you can just rely on knowing that they’ve got, @icloud or @mac email address and that means that’s where they are. They could be opening those emails on different devices. You know, you can’t sort of rely on that sort of information anymore. So, it may seem like an appealing sort of thing to do, we are not recommending doing that.
This is sort of like the first step around some of these privacy changes. It could happen with other things as well, not just Apple, you know, there’s already been a lot of stuff that’s happened with GDPR across the globe. You know, Gmail has done things like this previously as well. So, yeah, we really don’t recommend segmenting out your Apple users. We do think employing some of these other techniques and looking at reliable metrics like click rates is a much better approach.
David: Certainly a lot of work for anybody looking to push those people out into a separate bit, even if they could every day. So, definitely something, I can echo, we’re seeing across our fellow brands within the CM Group portfolio.
Okay, we’ve got a lot of questions turning over here to what I’ve seen coming in on the screen. We’re gonna take a look here. First one coming in looks like A/B testing, “How do you think that this is going to impact A/B testing?”
Stuart: Yeah. Look, that’s a great question. A/B testing is definitely something that could be impacted with this. Currently, we allow you to do A/B testing based on open rate, total unique clicks or total clicks on a selected link. Obviously, we are recommending that you probably look at those latter two options, the total unique clicks or the total clicks, they’re probably a better performance metric for your test. Obviously, again, this will depend on the composition of your list as well. The way that A/B testing works is, you know, that a portion of your subscribers will get version A and a portion of your subscribers will get version B. The winner of your criteria will get to send the rest of the email. Assuming that your subscribers are pretty evenly distributed, you should get pretty even rates of people who are on Apple devices on version A and version B.
So, underlying, it probably wouldn’t have a huge impact if you would still use open rates because you would expect the open rates to be in proportion there. So, look, again, if you’re really worried about it, use the clicks as options for your A/B testing. You know, generally speaking, you will see some impact to open rates given the way we split those up for A/B tests. Hopefully, that should be pretty normalized across the two groups. So, yeah, like I said, if you’re worried about it, use clicks. Otherwise, I think you could probably still pretty comfortably continue to use A/B testing.
David: Good to know, thank you. Next question here, I’m gonna paraphrase this one a little bit, I think this is something a lot of people can relate to. “You’re doing some sort of list cleaning to help just keep your list in tip-top shape. You’re deleting subscribers because they haven’t opened an email in some set period of time. Well, now we know that open rates opens are going to start to be falsely attributed to this Apple behavior. What’s the suggestion for how organizations can keep their lists clean if we can’t actually see whether or not folks are opening or not, at least with Apple?”
Stuart: Yeah. Again, another great question. Look this is probably gonna be, I’m gonna be, you know, repeating myself a little bit here, but again, we’re encouraging people to look at strategies to increase that click engagement. We suggested a few already. And, looking for opportunities to add call to actions in your emails, like we said, around getting surveys and maybe something around your content, you know, to drive that click and get people back into the website and then you can actually see, “Hey, yes, they are engaging.” And then perhaps you could look to clean off the back of click rates. Again, clicks often take a little bit longer to come through than opens, so, you would wanna think about stretching out that time frame a little bit if you wanna clean off click rates.
You know, this actually reminds me one of our customers, who I subscribed to, has actually already got something like this in place. I won’t mention who they are, but basically they have a section that says, “Hey, are you there? You must be because you’re reading this,” and they actually have a button that says, “yes, I’m still reading this, don’t delete me from your list.” And that’s a really good way for a publisher and somebody who doesn’t necessarily have something that they wanna click back into for, you know, your subscriber can opt to say, “Yep. You know what, I don’t wanna be deleted off this list so I’m gonna click that button and take myself back in.” So, you know, that stuff was actually even there before any of the Apple privacy things have come up.
So, thinking about strategies like that, a really good approach to going, “Okay, I’ve built that engagement up and now I can work out who my customers are who really are engaging and still wanna receive this content,” and then you can clean your list off the back of that.
David: Yeah, it’s interesting. You know, as we heard Desta talking about earlier, we’re moving to this time. In some ways, it isn’t too different from what we see and have been used to things anyway, from looking at a highway billboards to even display advertising. We’ve gotten so accustomed to thinking that, just because an email wasn’t opened or clicked, that the user didn’t even see it. We all know very well sometimes you just skim past things in an inbox. And even if you hit Delete, there’s still some sort of an interaction with that user and then with that brand. So, it’s something to consider that those subject lines still have an effect on people even if they don’t necessarily directly engage with the newsletter to a click or a further conversion.
All right, last question here for you, Stu, “I’m thinking about making the switch to focus more on click-through rate instead of click-to-open rate,” and we may wanna revisit the difference between those two again…what metrics are we thinking encouraging folks to prioritize more once this change takes place?
Stuart: Yeah. Again, look, I think we’ve touched on a few of these things. Just to be super clear, so, click-to-open rate is basically the click rate of all your emails that somebody has opened. So, you know, let’s say, half your subscriber base opens an email, the click rate will be what percentage of that half, then click through. That’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about click-to-open rate. The click-through rate is looking at the whole campaign send, all of these people who you sent the email to, how many of them actually clicked through. That is why that click-through rate is often much much lower than that click-to-open rate.
That click-through rate and that click rate that we are calling it, it is the thing that we are encouraging you to have a look at. You know, like I mentioned, it is there, it’s in the Insights tab where you can go and have a look at it today and see what that is for some of your campaigns. You can, obviously, go back and look at that historically as well. And then you can start to build that benchmark, like what does a good click rate look like for you across your different campaigns and marketing strategies.
Some of the other things that you can look at there is also delivery rate. That’s something that, you know, sometimes doesn’t get looked at too much. Again, that is available in the Insights tab. You can go and have a look at those delivery rates. They are probably the two key metrics that we are encouraging people to start having a look at and start prioritizing a lot more. I know I’ve been banging that drum for a little bit but yeah, it is super important to start looking at those. As I mentioned, we are looking for ways to get those more front and center for you, get them included as standards across some of our reports, and make sure it’s available. If you wanna see that, there it is. So, you know, that is what we’re recommending. Obviously, like I said, jump into that Insights tab, go and have a look at some of your existing campaigns, and see where you can go from there.
David: I appreciate the time. And, everyone, we appreciate you joining us. Stu, thanks for taking time with us walking through everything in details today. I know this won’t be the last that we hear from you and the team in terms of some of these updates and changes. And I’m excited to also see some of those broader platform initiatives that you’re working on start to make their way inside of Campaign Monitor. So, again, thank you for joining us.
Stuart: Absolute pleasure.
David: And everybody else, again, thank you for joining us. If you’re watching this for the first time here, don’t worry, this will be, of course, sent out as a recording afterwards so you can send this around to your colleagues. And if you’re watching this afterward, as a recorded version, important to know, we’ll be continuing to release information out through documentation and also, of course, through a blog series that’s gonna be coming your way shortly as we continue to learn more. We’ll continue to keep you updated. So, thank you for your time. Thank you for using Campaign Monitor. We appreciate you and everything that you’re doing out there. Be well, take care, stay safe. We’ll talk soon.
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