FYI: You're not allowed to track indivuals in Google Analytics

You're not allowed to track individuals in Google Analytics cos it's against their Ts and Cs

I've seen it in a few blogs from media agencies and and ESPs and I've discussed it myself that from email campaigns it is possible to use a recipient's unique identifier, like their email address, as one of the utm values. This sounded like a great idea as then you can do propper profiling for your recipients and target them better.

I have not seen anywhere on blogs and google alerts etc. saying that you are not allowed to do that but I was having my regular chat with the marketing manager of @apexauctions who said that they also thought of that but while exploring the technological side of it found out that it is against the Ts & Cs of Google Analytics.

I immediately googled it and alas yes! Google Analytics Support says no to personal identifiers and then the Google Analytics Blog also says no, but it took people to ask to find this out.

So don't do it.

I think it must be something to do with data controller laws and liability. You'd think they be all right seeing as they have Gmail?

I know there was a big noise from the states about people not wanting to be tracked to that level but I thought that was mainly from people who looked at porn and don't want their wives getting porn adds when they are served by IP?

I for one am fine with better and more relevant adds

Disappointing but understandable.

The unusbscribe experience and the preference centre

For Clickz Stefan Pollard, in Why a Good Unsubscribe Experience Is Important (Oct 7, 2009) gives us a reminder that the opt-out experience of a recipient could not only stop them unsubscribing but it could also help us retain more subscribers. It is a good read and sparked an idea...

This balances in very well with Preference centres.

I would obviously have a preference centre to better profile my recipients but also I would tie in an optout survey. As well as letting people opt-out you could also ask if they could tell you why and depending on their answers you might even be able to handle their objection. For instance, if they are opting out and they tick the "you send me too many emails" box, you could inform them of the preference centre's ability to control the number of emails. If they tick the "relevant content" box you could tell them about the ability to tell you about what they want to be emailed about, etc. etc.

So as well as begin able to find out why people leave you could even try to give them the information that they were missing in order to help their decision. After all all we want is to give them the content they want. WE can't make them want it but we can help them help us!

Obviously as long as you don't make the actual act of unsubscribing difficult to the point of them hitting spam, you still need that one click unsubscribe functionality. Maybe kick it in after they have opted out through the confirmation landing page.

The key for an ESP would be to enable customers to personalise the form.

At the very end of the day, it is all about profiling and permission.

The better profiling you do the more permission you get!

Email Insider: Pre-Header Tips

Preheader text is HTML text that appears before or sometimes within the header of an email. It's important and growing in popularity because of the prevalence of image blocking by email subscribers and the increasing use of image-unfriendly mobile devices to view email. Those two trends make preheader text vital as both a promotional and functional tactic.

Here's what you need to know about these two preheader text elements on
Chad White, Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 2:30 PM
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Gotta love the preheaders, I also like Mark Brownlow's take on putting the call to action in there but I can't find the post now? How annoying!

EMR: Email software popularity: 5 lessons for your list

In "Email software popularity: 5 lessons for your list" Mark tells us how to get even more from email depending on on your recipients' email client.
Even though the email standards project guys have tried gallantly we still have no real html standards but we are close and some of the ISPs have updating their clients to be more in with the standards the industry know it should be working with. Mobile is still a bit of a git though!

Any as per usual Mark Brownlow has nailed it, read this and have a play with some of the tools he suggests.

As Fingerprint is from the same guys as Litmus, this functionality should be in every ESP pretty soon.

I was having a chat with the one of the Web guys from Pure360 and he said he'd seen the patterns and it might even be do-able in the platform as part of the normal delivery report? fingers crossed for the next-next feature upgrade. It won't be in the next one because Automations is out in December - very exited!

Twitter Email Marketing List - Just Email Marketing

I get pretty put out when someone gives me a gem every 50 tweets but the rest are pitches about their software, ads for seminars and webinars or telling me what they had for breakfast.
This list has the people I have seen being the most consistent dedicated email marketing tweeters.
It won't be perfect but it is the best I have found, so far:

Blue Sky Factory

Another classic from the guys at Blue Sky Factory:

5 MORE Things All Email Marketers Need to Know
Reports, templates, and lists – oh my!

There are many aspects of an email marketing campaign. From building a list to analyzing campaign results, email marketers have a lot to keep track of. I recently posted a basic list of 5 things all email marketers need to know, but was asked to do a similar list with information that’s, well, a little less basic. (And while you’re here, save some trees. Just click on the image to the right.)

Ask and you shall receive. Here goes on
October 29th, 2009 by Amy Garland

EMR: Assessing the best time to send email

In line with Marc Munier's article about misconceptions in email timing, the legend of Mark Brownlow has done his home work again and really gone to town, this guy knows his stuff and it is all on his web-site for us to use!

Assessing the best time to send email, As well as being a must read it also takes you on a journey through where you can find out what email is right now and where it is going. read everything this guys writes. Complaints Cost You Money

On Bronto and Criss Wheeler tells us about how recipient complaints do make a difference and there really is no level of acceptable losses.

By now, most email marketers have probably come to understand that sending email is not without risk. As with any marketing, knowing your audience and serving up something that will entice them to convert is key. Two methods email recipients have to let you, as a marketer, know they don't like what you've sent them is by either unsubscribing or lodging a complaint with their ISP (largest still is Yahoo! with 106MM unique US inboxes according to the latest report).

Note, these are not representative of recipients (your potential or existing customers) telling you they don't care or are indifferent to what you've sent them. But, rather, they've gone out of their way to deliberately tell someone they don't appreciate the email (either you, directly via the unsubscribe or the ISP via a complaint).

Let's dive into the complaints a bit more, though. These little bits of data a recipient fires off to their ISP or 3rd party service (like SpamCop) have two effects on

Recipient's have far more control over your deliverability than ever before and often not even on purpose, as well as the obvious spam complaints, when people open, click, un-junk your emails this also is taken into account at some levels. If you are on the safelist or address book, this is far less of a worry as ISPs like it because the recipient has made you a trusted sender. Gmail is even trialling an auto-image load for senders who had 2 replies to their address from that gmail inbox!

Call To Action Tips

Many people are not really as clued up they might think on the call to action. Just getting an email out there is the main thing and then making it render the same every where takes the time. If you get your call to action right, you should get the click through in the top 3rd of the email. Benchmark email has listed some easy rules to follow to make sure you get what you want out of it:

When it comes to email marketing, your Call-To-Action (CTA) is extremely important. If you want a great response you need to ensure that your CTA has all the essential elements. It should be friendly and should reach out to people. It should successfully motivate readers to click your email and visit your website. If you feel you are not accomplishing these tasks, read on for some tips to improve your on
Oct 22 2009, 09:36 AM

Make sure the rest of the email is still friendly though, what you want them to do is not always what they want to do, no matter how well you present it. Always give the recipients easy ways to contact you and interact with you. Maybe the call to action needs some more elaboration, have extra links further down just in case you need a little bit more trust - what if someone has been sent it form a friend?

Get the call to action right, use the tips in the article above and make sure the rest of your email supports people's needs and let them interact with you if they need!

Return Path: How Engagement Metrics Influence Deliverability

Many senders have noticed changes in the way that ISPs do their filtering, notably at the big four of AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, and have been scratching their heads as to what changed, and what can they do now to get delivered back to the inbox. The answer is in how ISPs are calculating sender's reputation scores (hint: it's really not that new). Less than savory senders are always looking for ways to game the system to bypass current filtering methods. As a result, ISPs and email providers are constantly changing and improving their filtering methods.

The major email providers are already using, or plan to use, a broad set of engagement metrics to determine inbox placement, not just clicks and opens as has been widely reported, to determine the level of user engagement for different senders. These include on
By Tom Sather Oct 22 2009

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This is really good bit of info. Most of revolved around "don't spam people - if they've asked for it, give it to them, if not leave them alone until they do", which is general permission rules which we should all be running with anyway. He does also suggest a deeper level of profiling per recipient: are they interacting a lot or only on various occasions and if so is there a pattern, if there is email them when you know they will interested. The basics of that is to give people frequency options as part of your preference centre.
Depending on how often you want to email. If you email daily give people the option to a weekly round up, if you email weekly - offer a monthly round up, if you do monthly - offer a quarterly. You can even give people a list of months that they want to receive them, it's all do-able with the right software or ESP.
This was people can get the emails when they need them.

This also ties a little into an old article I wrote on the EMM about how Spam Filters have evolved due to spammers trying to beat them and how to avoid the inconvenience of being mistaken as a spammer.

WttW: Why do you need so many IP addresses (part 2)

An interesting article from Word to the Wise about ESPs having a lot of IP addresses.
Why do you need so many IP addresses (part 2)

One thing I have found over the years is that an new IP is not good send large amount of email to straight away but it is relative straight forward, although tedious, to green it up. However, if you make one mistake ion the fist 12 months, you could be in the world of trouble.

Also large ISPS - Hotmail & Yahoo, tend to have IP reputation handlers to allow certain volumes in from an IP depending on it's complaint rate - the rules in use for this are a very closely guarded secret.

Of course none of these rules apply if you pay return path to certify your emails, apparently?
Although the way that works is also a closely guarded secret, or maybe just from me!

EMR: Email is not dead. Email is changing.

A Cracking site full of resource links from Mark Brownlow of Email Marketing Reports on how email is changing.

Email is not dead. Email is changing

Everyone should have this a least bookmarked and should check it every time you want to do something new or check if you're getting right.

the guardian: Web addresses in multiple languages

The internet regulator Icann has approved plans to let web addresses be written in non-Latin characters – such as Mandarin, Arabic, Hindu or Russian Cyrillic script – that it says represents the "biggest change" to how it works since its invention 40 years on

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Does that mean that existing domains will just be translatable and hosting will be become more expesive or will there be another fight to buy even more domains per brand?

Pure360: Morning boosts and afternoon apathy

The media’s stereotype of employees taking advantage of work-based email and internet to browse online is leading marketers astray. Consumers’ behavioural patterns continually shift throughout the working day and email marketing providers must be aware of the changeable consumer mood if they are to reap the rewards.

For example, many marketing professionals believe that lunchtime is the perfect opportunity to engage with their audience. But new research by Pure360 contradicts this theory. Contrary to popular assumptions, the volume of marketing emails opened actually drops markedly during the lunch hour.

In fact, recipients are far more likely to open emails in their own time rather than at work. Almost half (48%) of all marketing emails were opened outside office hours. Marketers would benefit by targeting consumers at specific times of the day, instead of relying on ‘gut instinct’.

Pure360 analysed hundreds of thousands of emails sent by 34 companies and discovered that a mere 9% of the emails sent were opened between noon and 2pm. Sixty two per cent of those opened were news or magazine alerts rather than promotions on goods or services. It seems that employees like to spend their lunchtimes catching up on all the latest news, sport and gossip and are significantly less receptive to marketing emails during this period than at other times of the day on

Oct 29 2009 on Brand Republic by Pure360

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Don't forget, some of this timing can be taken of for you with the right ESP.