If you work with email marketing (as basically all marketers do), you’d probably have been concerned about how all recent privacy regulations and changing industry rules are affecting your strategies—and how to adapt to all that.
Well, you’re not alone: a survey called “Email in 2022” pointed out that 74% of marketing leaders are concerned with impending privacy changes, while 82% of organizations prepare and commit to better organizational alignment.
Too much seems to be changing, from Apple’s IOS 15 and the MPP, to the deprecation of app tracking data and new government regulations.
Despite all that, email marketing is far from dead: according to Wordstream benchmarking research, email campaigns had an average conversion rate of 4.29% in 2021.
To help us better understand some of these privacy trends and how they’ll impact marketers’ routines in 2022, we’ll go through the data shown by this SparkPost’s benchmark report.
Let’s take a short look at Email Marketing Results in 2021
Omnichannel marketing strategies ascended in 2021. An omnichannel strategy usually includes email, SMS, live-chat, social media, display, and any other channels that can make it easier for you to reach out to your clients.
Looking more specifically at email, Sparkpost’s report showed that 76% of marketing leaders think that their email marketing program has made a positive impact on the business in 2021, compared to 58% last year. In addition, 34% of leaders stated they are increasing metrics to their email-marketing-related KPIs to reflect their company’s reliance on this digital channel.
This suggests that, despite the current challenges in marketing data collection, this channel remains very profitable for businesses, especially when paired with others as previously mentioned.
You need to understand the types of customer data
Okay, so your company is already using email to drive revenue as part of its marketing efforts —but what exactly do you need to know about privacy policies in order to adjust your strategy?
First of all, we need to go through a quick overview of the different types of data.
Zero-party data is when the user voluntarily and intentionally shares their information with you.
One example is interactive content – when the user fills a quiz or an assessment on a page of your website and then also gives their email address to collect results. Communication preferences pages, phone numbers or landing pages, and social media polls are some other examples.
Also known as 1P data, it’s the information you collect from your customer interactions and behaviors. Some examples are website activity, purchase history, email engagement (email openings and clicks), and customer feedback programs scores.
It’s when companies sell or share the first-party data they’ve collected with other companies. It’s usually shared between parties that have similar audiences and customers.
Last but not least, we have third-party data. It’s basically any data that’s been collected and/or organized from a variety of sources, and it’s often managed by organizations that don’t have direct interaction with customers.
There are many marketplaces where these massive data sets can be purchased, and some examples are: demographics, survey responses, income data, and online activities such as websites visited and browsing behaviors.
Prepare your army: Mail Privacy Protection and other features
Now that we have those concepts in mind we can talk about one of the most impactful changes in the data world: the loss of third-party cookies.
In 2019, Firefox began banning these cookies, and Google just declared that it will no longer support third-party tracking on Google Chrome browsers as well.
Another recent shift that has impacted the digital world is the wide adoption of Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) by iOS users (97%!). This feature can hide IP addresses and block remote content, resulting in artificial email open rates, images not automatically loading in emails, and marketers being unable to track email-related activity data.
Google, Safari, Firefox and Apple are only the beginning. Clearly there is a movement towards diminishing the use of third-party cookies. The Sparkpost report indicates that more than 50% of open data will become unreliable by the end of 2022. This means that companies will probably have to rely more on first-party data.
It’s a chance to rethink your nurture flows, and improve all communication channels, aiming towards having a concise messaging and alignment through different customer acquisition and retention sources. Marketing teams will likely have to innovate in the methods they use to collect data, because their own data it’s going to be their most valuable asset.
Plus, it’s also an opportunity to review KPIs since the email open rates reliability will be affected by the MPP, as well as other important metrics such as Customer Acquisition Cost that might be affected since it could get harder to target ads at your audience.
And now what?
We are more than just marketers. We are also customers of many businesses, and we understand how crucial it is for our privacy to be maintained.
If things are changing, it’s because there’s a need to improve the customer experience, and marketing will adapt to meet that need.
Companies will probably have to rethink their budgets and how they will allocate their resources. Being only ad-focused it’s likely going to get outdated soon, and doors will open for marketers to create strong relationship programs using email marketing, and meaningful content.
Teams are going to have to make a bigger effort than simply buying the information about people’s Google searches about shoes from last week; they are going to have to earn their audience data by providing value. If you need some insights on how to do that, check our Email Marketing Guide for 2022.
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