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George Bilbrey

Member since June 2005 Contact George

  • VP & GM Return Path, Inc.
  • 100 Superior Plaza way
  • Superior Colorado
  • 80026 USA

Articles by George All articles by George

  • Five Common Myths About Email Deliverability in Email Insider on 04/24/2016

    With more than one in five commercial email message being blocked or placed into the junk mail folder, problems with deliverability are common and can be problematic. Unfortunately, mailbox providers do not provide a detailed roadmap for what exactly is causing a marketer's delivery issue - nor do they provide detailed instructions on how to fix the problem. To make matters worse, the rules for obtaining great inbox placement change frequently. Because of this lack of information and frequent changes to deliverability rules, several common myths about deliverability have sprung up to fill the information void:

  • Three Missing Metrics For Email Marketing in Email Insider on 03/23/2016

    A long-time colleague posted a question to an email marketing list a few weeks ago: "Which email metrics do you wish existed in email marketing benchmark reports that don't exist today?" The question got me thinking about the state of email measurement and the kinds of metrics that should be available but aren't yet in common use. Here is my short list:

  • Please Build This: My Email Marketing Technology Wish List in Email Insider on 03/11/2016

    We're beginning to see some sophisticated uses of machine learning to address email marketing problems. Marketing clouds and email service providers (ESPs) have released some interesting and useful features. Still, there are still many opportunities for new capabilities that could help email marketers drive more from their current email marketing investment. I've compiled a list of things that clients frequently ask about ("Can your firm do this for me?") that don't exist in the market yet (as far as I know).

  • Deliverability: Are Marketers Applying Yesterday's Approach to Today's Problem? in Email Insider on 11/17/2015

    Inbox placement rates fell in 2015 from 2014. Why? Maybe because marketers haven't kept up with inbox placement's recent evolution. The rules of deliverability have changed over the last few years.

  • Nine Ways Inbox Data Can Help Marketers -- Beyond Email  in Email Insider on 09/21/2015

    The email channel is unique in many ways, but the data it captures on consumer preferences, behaviors, and purchase trends can and should be applied across the marketing department. Today the most common use of this sort of data is gathering competitive intelligence -- checking out how the campaigns from other brands perform, and which messages and offers engage subscribers. Let me suggest a few alternative uses of this "email panel" data:

  • Want to Get Frequency Right? Find Out Which Account You're Emailing in Email Insider on 07/14/2015

    While conducting a recent study of frequency's impact on email marketing performance, we found again and again that one key factor played a critical role in how volume affected response: mailbox type. When it comes to finding the right sending frequency to maximize subscriber engagement without generating excessive complaints, marketers can gain a real advantage by knowing whether subscribers are reading commercial mail in their primary accounts.

  • Using Big Data To Find 'Perfect' Subject Line Length in Email Insider on 06/08/2015

    The optimum length of a subject line has been debated as long as companies have been sending email. Marketers, consultants, and agencies have labored over distilling pitches to a handful of words or characters, aiming for the Goldilocks "just right" length. We recently sifted through more than eighteen million subject lines sent to more than two million subscribers to find out whether subscribers' actual read rates pointed to an optimal length.

  • Subject-Line Optimization: Don't Test Your Way To Mediocrity in Email Insider on 05/05/2015

    The good news: Many marketers test their subject lines. According to the Direct Marketing Association (U.K.), 80% of marketers use some form of subject line testing. The bad news: Many of the most commonly used subject-line tactics actually decrease results. In some cases, marketers are testing suboptimal approaches.

  • Don't Let Village Wisdom Make You The Village Idiot in Email Insider on 04/08/2015

    Email marketing blogs and mailing lists are full of best practices born of many years of experience by many smart, hard-working email marketing practitioners. While these best practices can be extremely useful, in some cases advice is given without a lot of serious analysis. By looking at actual data, we've found that one thing becomes clear: Best practices aren't always right. Let me give you two examples.

  • Responses To Three Key Trends Already Dividing Winners From Losers In 2015 in Email Insider on 02/24/2015

    Virtually our entire industry took stock of what we learned in 2014 and resolved to do something different this year. We're eight weeks into 2015, and the leaders are dealing with sweeping trends that pose important challenges to email marketers. Others are falling behind, but it's not too late to make up ground.

Comments by George All comments by George

  • Gmail Tabs: Don't Panic Or Cheat, Just Focus On Engaged User Base by George Bilbrey (Email Insider on 08/28/2013)

    I think the jury is still out. There are a few paths one could go down: 1) I think we'll see a lot more focus on "winback" campaigns to move more of the "middle of the curve" to the right hand side of the distriubtion. We've seen some success with this. Best approach is to copy the approaches that are already working in your subscriber base. 2) It *might* be the the counter-intuitive strategy - simply sending more to the less engaged - might make sense. I think this probably depends on your business model. There is a lot of data that would indicate that > 50% of the value from email comes from purchase that occur through other channels. Simply having someone read the email drives value (e.g., customer reads their newsletter and passing by your store, remembers the special you just sent in the newsletters, and stops in to make a purchase). Read rates tend to decrease with frequency. However in most cases sending more mail drives more reads. I wouldn't recommend this for everyone - it depends a lot on how close they are to the line from a deliverability perspective (e.g. are they hitting spam traps, close to the thresholds on trusted complaint metrics, etc.) 3) Potentially the answer is don't worry about the unengaged. It's sad that most people don't interact with your stellar email content - however, focus your efforts on driving conversion from those that interact with your content will drive an economic return. I think that like (2) is dependent on your business model.