Despite the introduction of several social media channels like Tik Tok, Instagram, there is still a channel for a marketer which helps to connect one on one with the customers. Lately, it has also become a favorite of the unicorn start-ups who use it for retention and growth. Some staggering statistics which makes it a darling for every marketer in today’s digital zeitgeist:
- Global email users accounted for 3.9 bn in 2019, and are expected to grow to 4.3 bn users by 2023, making email marketing an opportunity not to be missed.
- 31% of B2B marketers cite email as the channel that makes a big impact on revenue.
- Email offers an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent for a marketer making it one of the most important channels for revenue.
Recently, we took a survey of global email users enquiring about their changing behavior with respect to email during the pandemic. We asked them to pick a channel which they were most comfortable with to reach out to them 1:1. Over 75% of the users picked email as the channel to interact with them during a crisis.
So what’s so special in the way email works that make it such an important channel for marketing?
- It is a personal and direct channel for a customer to connect with their favorite brand. A marketer can also easily convey a brand image effectively with the help of email.
- Whether your message is promotional, transactional, or social, there is a tab for everything an email marketer wishes to convey.
- It is one of the cheapest channels in marketing to use with rich gains in terms of ROI provided from it.
- Email is getting interactive with AMP4EMAIL, Google annotations, BIMI, all working towards a singular goal of making it more dynamic and engaging for a user. This should elevate the user experience to a higher level by providing it a web page like functionality.
In the last 4-5 years, with email getting a facelift, which is exciting for us to see, there has also been a quiet revolution of sorts in the part of email which all marketers crave to reach – the inbox.
The rise of AI for the quest of the inbox
No one checks their spam folder. Everyone wants their email to land in the inbox, which also drives a crucial part of email deliverability.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have paved ways for a smart marketer to make use of certain tools that can enable them to ensure higher inbox deliverability. Marketing automation platforms have been trying to enable their engines to become smart with AI/ML algorithms to be able to learn from the previous data and take certain intelligent decisions of their own to aid marketers in their quest for higher engagement and ROI.
Netcore introduced a powerful AI engine called “Raman” which has made email delivery and email marketing smarter.
Our engineers have worked strenuously in the last 3 years, to build effective in-house technologies for enhancing inbox delivery using AI/ML and advanced algorithms. The results of implementing those technologies can now be seen.
But this puts a question as to why was there a need to innovate in email delivery?
The need for better engagement and inboxing
As email became the de-facto favorite of a brand marketer to reach their audiences, there was a pressing need to get high engagement and more conversions for their brands.
This, compounded by the fact that major ISPs like Gmail had started using AI/ML for their spam filtering processes, marketing platforms had to start finding ways to improve their inboxing.
It is estimated that currently, 57.26% of email traffic landed in the spam folder as of Dec 2019. So close to 40% global emails were landing in inbox. This led to marketing automation tools looking at AI/ML to lay a foundation for tweaking their delivery to have a better chance to reach the inbox. The returns were too good to ignore, with high open rates and better ROI.
Thus, in the last 3 years, we have enhanced our infrastructure to achieve a 10X scale and supreme deliverability of 94%. Today we give superior inboxing experience to 3000+ enterprises and 20,000+ SMBs to deliver 10bn emails/month.
It has become a firm favorite platform of 60% unicorns in Asia as they witnessed a high inboxing rate for their brands never seen before. This kind of success has led Netcore to be voted as the most recommended ESP by G2.com
We have enhanced our infrastructure to achieve a 10X scale and superior deliverability of 94% throughout the year 2019-2020.
So what are the features that make Netcore stand as a technological leader in inbox delivery….?
How we made email delivery smarter and stronger?
Netcore has laid the foundation with the following features which are based on AI/ML and deliver better inbox delivery.
It is an AI-based engine that helps make the decision easier for a marketer if the email being delivered will land in spam or inbox. The feature contains learnings on spam and ham emails that have been fed to make future smarter decisions.
When a sender has included some “spammy” content inside the email body, the smart engine will be able to detect based on the change of email signature. It will then determine what are the chances of the email landing in spam or inbox.
An example of this in the real world will be an intruder trying to get inside your home, but gets detected by their face and other features by your alarm detection camera outside your door.
The Anti-spam feature works like the camera which refuses entry to any spam email going through its delivery server and analyzes it promptly offering clues on what kind of content will get filtered by ISPs. Whether the email is promotional or transactional in nature, “Anti-Spam” provides a certain score to the email content, and based on it, it can rate the email as spam or ham.
2. Predictive Engagement
The predictive engagement feature allows high engagers from the sender’s mailing list to deliver their emails on priority.
Example: Consider you have a lemonade store and whenever you are open for business, you have your most loyal customers first in the queue to get your fresh drink. Looking at those eager customers getting their drink on priority, the others around will also be persuaded to buy a drink from your store, even though they are a bit behind in the queue!
Predictive engagement works a bit like that lemonade store. Our AI engine Raman predicts which user will engage with the brand and prioritize sending to them using our in-house algorithms. The less engaged users are sent the emails later according to priority.
Due to the high open rate incurred early on, the deliverability of these emails is also high and MSPs can then allow the less active users to also deliver to inbox. This increases brand engagement and inboxing.
3. Send Time Optimization (STO)
STO analyzes the data fed into the system for the time of the day when a particular user is most likely to check their mailbox. So the next time a campaign is sent by the same sender, it will analyze the open timings for the particular users in the mailing list, and deliver them the campaign at the normal times they check their emails.
This means that a majority of the users will open their mailbox to see your brand email on the top of their checklist and thus your campaign will get more eyeballs than it would have been if sent all at the same time.
Example: Metro/subway systems around the world work according to people’s work hours. There would be more transport services available early morning during the rush hours than in the afternoon or late night because morning is the peak time when the majority of people take the transport for getting to their workplace.
STO works in the same way as the transport system, as it knows the best time a user is going to access their mailbox. Inbox delivery will be particularly increased due to STO as mailbox providers see engagement from the users as a positive sign and thus filter the future emails from the brand into the inbox for their users.
STO will thus be an interesting addition to a marketer’s arsenal to ensure they get more users to check their campaigns each time.
4. Subject Line Optimization (SLO)
The power of a precise yet creative subject line cannot be understated. According to research done by Business2Community, 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line. As we can see, the impact of a subject line to persuade a user to open is huge!
SLO is an AI-powered engine that suggests the best effective subject lines for campaigns to get the best possible engagement. After learning billions of subject lines across industries, SLO suggests the best ones by using our AI-based Subject Line Optimisation algorithm.
It is facilitated with AI techniques like NLP and other algorithms developed by Netcore to go through its learnings and what phrases have suited a particular brand in the past to get high engagement.
For example, an e-commerce brand uses a subject line including the words “offer”, “discount”, “OFF” etc. but an SLO engine might dig deeper into other phrases that have worked for other related campaigns and have achieved good engagement.
So a generic subject line like:
“Hey! Check out this cool summer offer with $50 OFF!“ can be changed to
“Psst… we have something great for you this summer.“
It also analyzes what kind of content being used inside the campaign to suit the subject line. So the subject lines are relevant, creative, and persuasive enough to lure the users to open them.
5. Adaptive Throughput
The rate of acceptance of emails received by ISP servers differs from each other. Thus the email throughput needs to be adjusted from time to time for a deliverability engineer to ensure that ISPs are receiving the emails at an optimum rate that they accept.
If the rate of sending the emails is more than what is accepted at that point in time by the ISP servers then, it could lead to delivery issues. The data sent by ISPs are generally uncovered in your SMTP error logs.
Our real-time email delivery engine monitors ISP responses and adjusts the email throughput accordingly so that there are no issues and delivery is carried out smoothly to recipient servers.
Example: In a supermarket, if there are 2 counter staff working to bag your groceries and do the transactions then it makes sense to line in a queue as at a time only 2 customers can get serviced. If you rush in and overcrowd then the entry will be blocked as the counters can’t serve more than 2 persons at a time.
The ISP recipient servers function just like those counters. The trick here is to follow the ISP acceptance throughput, otherwise overshooting that limit will mean all your mails might get blocked by the receiving server and will cause damage to your email deliverability.
This feature offers a smart solution of adjusting the throughput real-time.
A mammoth email campaign delivered in a snap with remarkable inbox delivery
Recently, a leading eCommerce portal in India had to deliver a ‘re-opening for delivery’ message to their wide audience across the country. This was a post-lockdown email campaign and hence it was important from a customer re-engagement and future revenue perspective.
The mailing list was a gigantic 130mn users spread throughout the country. Netcore was able to facilitate the smooth delivery of this campaign with 100% delivery.
Due to its scalable and robust platform infrastructure, processing of such a heavy amount of emails was made possible. The features of predictive engagement and adaptive throughput provided a boost to inbox deliverability with an astounding 94% emails delivered to the inbox.
The high email deliverability was made smooth due to AI-based smart features, as ideally, the ISPs are very stringent with large volume emailing. The real-time adjustments of the throughput also helped us to deliver all the emails within a matter of hours!
This was a historic campaign facilitated by us with no email delivery issues at all! Due to the smart AI features which enabled supreme inbox delivery and a sturdy platform which was able to deliver a huge bulk of emails with zero concerns.
Email marketing is becoming more about good story-telling. Sending the right message with the right context to the right user at the right time will define email marketing in the coming years.
AI will have an important part to play with email interactivity and inbox delivery for the good email senders.
The quest for the inbox will get tougher and hence we continue to develop new and exciting features with Raman across our platforms to smoothen inbox delivery.
Old methods of spray and pray, mailing on purchased lists should be a thing of the past as the new martech landscape has no place for such unethical marketing. Those who don’t have a good foundation built for these technologies to be implemented will have a lot to catch up on!
A highly personalized and contextually engaging content to your segmented audience with superior inbox delivery is the dream we at Netcore nourish as the future of email.