It has been said that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Although this sentiment was communicated well over a century ago, it might apply to the current status – and evergreen value – of email.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google may soon launch an ad offering similar to Facebook Custom Audiences, which, essentially, allows marketers to present ads on Facebook accounts on which they already have contact information. And what’s the key element powering these innovative offerings to marketers from Facebook® and, in all likelihood, Google®? You guessed it; email addresses.
Custom audience targeting seems poised to extend the reach of email marketing, offering new ways to reach prospects and customers. What does their potential say about the power of email? Here are five takeaways:
- Email addresses offer the key to valuable data: With the emergence of novel marketing methods comes a new perspective on email’s role in facilitating cross-channel digital marketing. Indeed, email addresses continue to serve as the crucial ingredient to understanding and reaching individuals across an ever-broadening set of digital interaction mediums. The email address itself – and the behavioral data associated with it – are incredibly valuable in ways outside of the traditional email communication channel. As email’s use in media and advertising continues to blossom, smart email marketers should to start thinking differently about their email data.
- Email marketers are more important than ever: In hand with the importance of email, email marketers themselves are well-positioned to apply their proven methodologies to other marketing disciplines. They are, after all, the stewards of customer data and possess an understanding of how that data can help drive the customer experience. Progressive companies will be asking email marketers to help make more targeting decisions across wider channels, and to ensure that the messaging is appropriate given the context and medium.
- Emerging audience platforms might be ideal for message retargeting: Managing an email list can deliver incredible value to your organization – even if that prospect or customer never happens to engage via a single email. The custom audience offerings from Facebook and Google might work very well for reaching prospects or customers who have yet to convert from standard email campaigns. While the initial email campaign may well have the highest ROI, if it’s not successful in converting the target, the targeted ad might be. Marketers might start by A/B testing the ad campaign with a smaller subset of their email lists, tweaking the message and offers and measuring the results along the way.
- Custom Audiences can help marketers gather ‘lookalikes:’ With Facebook’s (and potentially Google’s) Custom Audience offering, email marketers can expand their email lists by acquiring new customers who share similar traits to their valuable existing customers. This makes the value of email even greater, and increases the importance of gathering it in the first place – by collecting email addresses, marketers can continue the conversation, even if the prospect leaves your website without making a purchase.
- Custom audience ads can help re-start the conversation: Even if some prospects or consumers prefer not to engage via email communications, their email addresses can still be the key to reaching them again. For example, email unsubscribes and inactive names are a fact of life for email marketers. Once a user gets to a point where marketers can no longer communicate via email, they might show a Custom Audiences ad with a new call-to-action, and to get the user back into their database as an active user.
Facebook (and potentially Google’s) Custom Audience offerings show great potential for email marketers to deepen their messaging reach through this convergence of email and search ads. And while new and inventive ways of reaching prospects and customers continue to evolve, the central element necessary to enable these mediums remains the same: email.
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