Trigger Happy: AdRoll On Dynamic Email

Email marketers have upped their game and are sending dynamic messages based on the content people viewed on Web sites. That’s one key finding of a survey by AdRoll, titled 2017: The State of Performance Marketing, North American and Europe. 

Surprised? You might be, given anecdotal evidence that firms have difficulty mastering this process. Indeed, AdRoll found that marketers are struggling with “how to integrate their email campaigns with their other marketing efforts — such as messaging, reporting, and aligned KPIs.”

At the same time, almost 30% said their emails are “barely integrated or have no integration whatsoever.”

So what’s the hoopla about? Just this: That there’s a boom in programmatic advertising, the buying and selling of advertising space in real-time. Companies use data and machine learning to “target and optimize campaigns instead of relying on human performance,” says AdRoll, a company that specializes in helping companies achieve this.  

Email is now part it, and is “currently experiencing a renaissance of sorts as marketers take programmatic technologies that were originally developed for paid media and apply them to their customers’ inboxes,” AdRoll reports.

“Our research indicates that the technology is starting to live up to the promise, said Adam Berke, AdRoll’s president & CMO, in an email. “In programmatic advertising, we’ve been doing personalized creative for years, but on the email side of things, ‘batch and blast’ has been fairly common. As the ad tech and marketing tech worlds start to merge, that’s starting to change. According to our survey, 70% of marketers say their emails are now dynamic based on user behavior.”

So what should email marketers do?

“By creating behavior-triggered dynamic campaigns, marketers can base the content they send based on individual actions a customer makes online,” Berke said. “Segmenting what, when and how often you send content can ensure a better chance of serving content to a user that wants to engage with your brand.”

Meanwhile, here are the top objectives driving these triggered emails:

  • Loyalty — 50% (up from 40% in 2015)
  • Lead generation — 46% (vs. 38% in 2015)
  • Customer retention — 43% (vs. 38%)
  • Cross Sell/Upsell — 35% (vs. 32%)
  • Customer education lead nurturing are in the low 20s, and did not show much growth.

How do these companies determine email success? Here are the primary metrics they study: 

  • Engagement (clicks) — 37%
  • Direct revenue Generated — 22%
  • Open rate — 18%
  • Upsell/Cross-Sell — 12%
  • Leads generated — 10%
  • Other — 1% 

The one piece of bad news — for email advocates — is that 78% companies think retargeting performs better than their email efforts. How do they define retargeting? It consists of "leveraging behavioral data from your site or app to deliver personalized messages to your users wherever they may go online," AdRoll says. 

As for attribution in general, 75% of those polled believe it is important, and 40% spend "the lion’s share" of their budgets on attribution and measurement. Unfortunately, almost 65% rely on single-click attribution. 

“Since last year, interest in attribution — marketing measurement — has continued to increase exponentially,” Berke said. “Nearly 60 percent of marketers reported they plan to change their approach in 2017 from a first- or last-click model which was previously the norm.”

How can they achieve that? “A simple alternative to last-click attribution is blended attribution,” AdRoll writes. "This incorporates customer touchpoints, including both ad views and clicks, before the purchase. This metric retains the simplicity and immediacy of click-based attribution, while accounting for the cumulative effect of views."

AdRoll partnered with Qualtrics to poll 1,000 marketing professionals -- 70% of them in management levels or higher, representing both the B2B and B2C sides. The purpose of the survey?

“For the past four years, AdRoll has evaluated how industry professionals approach their marketing technology,” Berke said. “For our 2017 State of Performance Marketing, we evolved our focus to understand how marketers are reaching prospects throughout the entire marketing funnel, expanding beyond programmatic to include additional topics like attribution and email marketing. We wanted to uncover how marketers coordinate various channels and technologies to achieve their goals.”

Of those polled, over 50% now devote half of their marketing budgets to programmatic advertising compared with 7% in 2013, the study states.

Mobile also plays a role. Of those surveyed, 68% plan to increase their mobile retargeting budgets in 2017. However, there is a certain hesitancy.

“When considering cross-device campaigns, marketers reported that they were still deterred by several challenges — including a perceived lack of users converting on mobile and an inability to track campaign performance, AdRoll writes. “These challenges meant that some marketers decided not to run mobile campaigns — with many still feeling that it has yet to develop a good user experience.



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