Affiliate Marketing Tools

Using Link Targeting for Improved Inbox Personalization

By Rory Carlyle

For years now, email marketing has continued to defy the haters and provide a reliable, measurable channel for businesses. So far, the email world has survived being labeled as dead, the emergence of social media, the development of collaborative business tools like Slack, and continues to evolve as the marketing channel of choice for consumers all over the globe.

Currently, the email industry is undergoing another boom with real-time email content – bringing live content and personalization to the inbox. Email marketing has become more contextual and now has the power to personalize messaging as emails open in the inbox.

A big part of this new email experience is the ability to include targeted, device-specific urls in a campaign to drive openers to a particular page related to their hardware(link targeting/dynamic urls). Retailers and business-to-business companies are adopting these web-like linking and conversion experiences due to the massive shift in desktop-to-mobile inbox engagement. Today, some retailers see up to a 70%+ saturation of mobile opens vs. desktop at -30% share.

The consumer market is shifting to a mobile-centric buying experience, slowly removing the desktop from the process entirely. This migration in hardware changes the way email marketing is consumed or rejected. Marketers who ignore updating email campaigns for mobile recipients may not only lose revenue but potentially mobile-heavy subscribers as well.

What’s Device Targeting?

Device targeting is the ability to identify the device and email client as the email opens to render specifically targeted content for each device used. Companies are currently using this technology to drive “tap-to-text” functionality. DIRECTV expanded subscription sales by allowing current customers to upgrade their services with a single text message from its email campaign.

This tactic doubled the subscriptions comparatively year-over-year by decreasing the barrier to entry for account upgrades from mobile devices. Users on a desktop saw an alternate message from the mobile text to upgrade offer.

Targeting a device for dynamic linking like DIRECTV is different from deep linking; deep linking is the ability to link to a screen within a mobile application directly from the inbox on a mobile device, removing the need to open a browser to view a page on the internet. Most likely deep links will take a specific page within an application.

An excellent example of this could be an abandon cart email that brings the consumer back to the purchase page in the company’s mobile application instead of sending them to a generic mobile web page or login screen. As an example, theCHIVE sends about 40% of their email recipients to its mobile application to ensure email revenues stay consistent.

High-Level Reasons To Target Links In Your Email Campaigns

  • Create a richer, web-like experience for subscribers clicking from a mobile inbox
  • Quicken email conversions with personalized linking to mobile applications
  • More than 50% of all emails open on a mobile device (up to 70%)
  • Optimizes mobile engagement
  • Heighten contextual capacity of existing email campaigns

What Happens After The Click?

What happens after the recipient clicks a link in an email? Do they have to make multiple steps to accomplish the campaign goal? Shortening these steps is too often forgotten. For many marketers, trying to target links in an email has been too difficult to do repetitively. One recipient can open the same email on 3 or four devices, each a different operating system and email client.

This hurdle causes emails to contain generic logo links to app stores or a lengthy list of different apps in the same email. Real-time targeted links identify the device as the email opens, renders the proper image and link automatically, removing the need for pre-segmented lists. (Shameless plug: Liveclicker specializes in this targeting technology)

Don’t let the goal of creating the email distract from the purpose of the overall email campaign. The importance of establishing the click in the email is just as important as where the recipient lands after. Keeping the customer journey as clear and concise as possible helps the user retain the context of the email and complete the desired action.

Link Targeting From A Conversational Perspective

I know creative linking isn’t the snazziest email marketing idea out there, but think about how a conversation would go if you were talking to your customer in a typical conversation. That’s how an email campaign should feel to the consumer; like the company is listening to and responding to conversational context. For years, too many email campaigns have lacked personalization and context, making messaging seem disjointed and corporate.

Using targeted links, email marketing can become much more cohesive with its recipients. Imagine a mobile game maker is marketing it’s new game to a list of 200,000 gamers around the world. Each subscriber has the potential to open this email up on any number of tablets and smartphones.

By adding contextual email technology to its game release email, the game maker could target each device type and serve the appropriate link to every email that’s opened with 100% accuracy on each open. Rules would be set up before the send to add the link logic and image creative per device – carrying on a relevant conversation with the recipient, not blasting a static, generic message.

Personalization is the key to providing long-term value; contextual email technology is the next step in content personalization. Real-time, forward-facing segmentation is highly accurate and delivers much-needed relevance to a traditionally static marketing medium.

None Of This Matters If…

Your emails never arrive, right? Download Email Deliverability: Guide for Modern Marketers to find out how to achieve email deliverability that really delivers.

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