Where are your users?
-Utilizing underlying user data for targeting
Ask an email marketer what percent of their users are at each major ISP and they’ll be able to query their database and give you stats. How does your data compare to the overall piece of the pie? According to a 2011 Q4 Comscore report, Hotmail has roughly 350 million users, Yahoo has 310 million users, and Gmail has 260 million users (although during an earnings call in January 2012 Google revealed they have 350 million users).
Aside from normal segmentation and tailoring your mailing practices by individual ISP domain, it is beneficial to look at the traits of your users. A recent study by Hunch gives some interesting insights to webmail user habits and preferences:
Gmail users are most likely to be thin young men ages 18-34 who are college-educated and not religious. They tend to be politically liberal, single, and childless. Gmail users live in cities and have traveled to five or more countries. They’re career-focused and plugged in. At home, they lounge around in a t-shirt and jeans. Gmail users are introverted and entrepreneurial.
Hotmail users are most likely to be young women of average build ages 18-34 (and younger) who have a high school diploma and are not religious. They tend to be politically middle of the road, single, and childless. Hotmail users live in the suburbs, perhaps still with their parents, and have traveled to up to five countries. They mostly read magazines and contemporary fiction, have a laptop, and listen to music via MP3s and computers (but they don’t have a DVR). At home, Hotmail users lounge around in a t-shirt and jeans. They’re introverts who like working on a team.
Yahoo! users are most likely to be overweight women ages 18-49 who have a high school diploma and are spiritual, but not religious. They tend to be politically middle of the road, in a relationship of 1-5 years, and have children. Yahoo! users live in the suburbs or in rural areas and haven’t traveled outside their own country. Family is their first priority. They mostly read magazines, are almost equally likely to have a laptop or desktop computer, listen to the radio and CDs, and watch TV on 1-2 DVRs in their home. At home, Yahoo! users lounge around in pajamas. They’re extroverts who prefer sweet snacks and like working on a team. Yahoo! users are optimistic or pessimistic, depending on the situation.
While we acknowledge this is a broad generalization of users based on general traits that don’t reflect the entire data set, it does lead to a larger point. You need to analyze the data on user actions and find common traits that boost user engagement.
For our List Management and Integrated partners, the targeting aspect is taken care of already. Our proprietary targeting algorithms do millions of calculations per day to determine the optimal campaign to send to a user. For our Affiliate mailers, there is an opportunity to look deeper into the traits of a user by ISP and use that information to better target offers and therefore increase revenue.