There's Inactive and There's Inactive: Kirby
By Ken Magill
Some are just dormant and may reactivate with the right offer at the right time.
Others are so dead they pose a threat as possible spam traps. And still others may not be spam traps, but if there are enough of them they may negatively affect the marketer’s email reputation.
But how does a list owner tell the stone-cold-dead addresses from the possibly revivable ones? Eric Kirby, CEO of email intelligence firm Connection Engine, has a few suggestions.
The trick is determining which addresses have potential and which don’t.
“Our experience is that most companies have data to help guide that determination,” Kirby said. For example, he said: “The average value of a subscriber tends to vary quite a bit by acquisition source. … If you want to trim inactives, the first ones you should consider trimming are the ones that came from poor-quality-acquisition sources.
“Most companies will have an acquisition source code associated with a subscriber,” Kirby added.
He also said there is a big difference between a subscriber who was never active and one that was active and then went dormant.
“Let’s say you define inactive as someone that hasn’t opened or clicked in six months,” he said. “If you identify inactives who at one point did have engagement activity and now don’t, I guarantee they will be a higher-value group than the inactives who have never recorded an open or click.”
Kirby also recommends analyzing email addresses by domain.
“For example, one client found that subscribers with a mac.com email address was worth several times more than the average subscriber,” he said. “The address indicates someone who is probably a big spender. If you look at average customer engagement or spending by email domain, that too, is often a differentiator.”
Put the three concepts together and suddenly we have a way to identify the worst segment of the inactive part of any file.
“Based upon those three variables, if you look at the email addresses that came from your poorest acquisition sources, never had any engagement and maybe came from a poor-quality possibly disposable email domain, right there you’ve identified some of the worst of the worst,” Kirby said.
Helping differentiate potentially active from truly inactive addresses is one of the capabilities Connection Engine’s platform offers.
Launched two years ago, the idea behind Connection Engine was “making advanced analytics and data much more accessible in the context of email programs,” said Kirby. “We help clients find out who their subscribers are and what they look like, and one of the uses of the data—by far not the only—but one of the uses is understanding the value potential of inactives.”
Connection Engine licenses data from a number of big providers and claims to be able to match clients’ subscribers’ email addresses to more than 50 billion data points.
Using those data points and advanced analytics, Connection Engine claims it can, for example, assign a “Buyer Score” to clients’ subscribers so they can get an idea who their best potential customers are from the day they sign up.
The company also claims it can help marketers target subscribers in their acquisition efforts that have a profile similar to their current best customers.
Connection Engine’s services start at $500 per month, said Kirby. “We work primarily with mid to large enterprise clients across retail, ecommerce, travel, and consumer products.”