Digital Marketing Strategy

What does Apple’s email move mean to you?: Wednesday’s daily brief

Good morning, Marketers, and especially email marketers.

We’ve now published two features on Apple’s decision to block tracking pixels on its Mail app, basically obscuring the activity of anyone who opens emails on their iPhones. As I’ve written before, Apple can afford to be ruthless about user privacy because it doesn’t have an advertising business.

A quick reaction by regular contributor Ryan Phelan, and a follow-up by best-selling email marketing author Kath Pay (see below) point to the same conclusion: open rate was always a lousy metric and it made some email marketers lazy. In other words, this move by Apple opens the path to more creative email marketing and better metrics. (Both articles also contain a stack of actionable advice).

But I’d like to hear from you. Do you buy what Ryan and Kath are saying, or are you daunted by the challenges ahead?

Kim Davis

Editorial Director

Good riddance, open rate  

The immediate casualty of Apple’s move to block pixel tracking in its mobile, desktop and iWatch devices will be the open rate as a measure of subscriber engagement. “To that prospect, I say ‘It’s about time!’ Because the open rate should never have become a proxy for campaign success. The conversion rate is the most reliable and meaningful success metric. Apple’s change might finally compel marketers to adopt it and to do the back-end work to make it happen.”

So says holistic email marketing maven Kath Pay. “The open rate has always been an unreliable measurement of engagement because it is easily undercounted and overcounted. (Can’t say that about other indicators!) It’s also easy to manipulate: ‘Send to only your active customers or subscribers, and watch your open rate jump by 50%.’” Clicks, however, would tell a different story.

In email marketing, she writes, open rate indicates little more than a trend up or down. “We know that subscribers don’t even have to open or click an email to have it drive value, whether it just keeps a brand top of mind until it’s time to buy, or spurs the customer to go right to a website.”

Read more here, including four steps to update your email strategy.

Out-of-home VIOOH partners with Taptap Digital 

Taptap Digital, the omnichannel marketing and advertising intelligence platform, and VIOOH, a digital out-of-home marketplace, have announced a partnership aimed at making OOH more accessible to brands and agencies.

Taptap offers geospatial intelligence on customer location and online and offline behavior. Within Taptap, the audience intelligence can be activated across any channel, including digital OOH. VIOOH optimizes inventory for OOH operators (essentially, publishers) and provides advertisers and agencies with programmatic access to OOH inventory on a global scale.

Combining Taptap’s intelligence with VIOOH’s supply should provide marketers with more tools and information to plan, execute and measure OOH campaigns.

Why we care. As we said yesterday, OOH is back. It’s back to a different degree, of course, in different countries and regions, but people are emerging from shelter, taking public transit again, and looking at traditional and digital billboards.

Digital OOH was one form of digital marketing that could hardly be expected to thrive during the pandemic. But now the brakes are off, and we expect to see movement in this space. Traditional billboards, of course, aren’t going anywhere just yet, but the opportunities to display relevant, contextually appropriate, programmatic advertising (and other information) through digital billboards are exciting.

Bazaarvoice adds Tom Addis as President  

Bazaarvoice, the user-generated content-centered consumer discovery platform has announced the appointment of Tom Addis as President. His previous position was CEO at streaming data and location intelligence vendor Kinetica; this followed over seven years in leadership roles at Box.

He will report to CEO Keith Nealon.

Why we care. Bazaarvoice is one of a large number of vendors that happen to be well-positioned to help brands address the changed consumer journey. That journey is now non-linear and consumer-driven, which means consumers doing their own research rather than responding passively to ads. Bazaarvoice’s offering supports the management and deployment of content from “authentic voices” — i.e. the consumer’s peers.

Seems like a good time to add an experienced voice to strategize Bazaarvoice’s future.

Quote of the day

“Companies want consumers to: sign up for a demo, download gated content, force a predictable buyer journey. People actually buy this way: read competitor review on G2 or others, consume ungated content on many different channels, non-linear buyer journey.”  Sangram Vajre, co-founder, Terminus

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