For the past few years, the eec’s Measurement Accuracy Roundtable has been conscientiously working to standardize email metrics. Standardizing these metrics is crucial to improving the quality of reporting and to enhance the creditability of the email industry. As part of the standardization goal, the Roundtable seeks congruent email reporting across existing Email Service Providers.
The email industry operates in a dynamic environment, and, like every major industry, it has its shortcomings. But, one thing that has remained constant over the years is the ambiguity that faces marketers because of differences in how email metrics are calculated from one ESP to another. When these reporting variances occur, marketers get anxious, and it adds to the already toxic elements that challenge the industry every day. Currently, the biggest issue that the industry faces are the ever-increasing levels of spam, but other inconsistencies also pose a challenge.
For example, when email marketers shift from one ESP to another, reporting of metrics can cause a headache, due in part to the method that certain ESPs use to calculate reporting metrics. By standardizing metrics, both ESPs and marketers will benefit, as standardization radically improves benchmarking and further enhances credibility. The “common denominator” created by standardized email metrics gives marketers an even playing field when choosing ESPs.
On the other side of the equation, ESPs are faced with challenges of their own. They must systematically convey to their existing clients that changes in reporting are imminent and industry-wide. They must make changes to dashboards and publish new calculations to alleviate any irregularity from one ESP to another. Furthermore, ESPs must demonstrate the value of these changes through a series of well-defined communications which explain why a standardized method is a benefit for all. These transitioning steps may cause clients to feel alienated. To maintain a good relationship, ESPs will need to formulate a plan to minimize client inconvenience during the transition process.
One of the benefits for ESPs who shift to the new standards will be their ability to apply for an adoption seal program. This seal can be placed conspicuously throughout their online properties, informing potential clients that this ESP supports and has adopted the new standards of email metrics. This will quell any uncertainty that the marketer might face when trying to discern between ESPs. In essence, the seal provides reassurance to clients that switching to a new ESP will be relatively painless.
Finally, ESPs must ask themselves the proverbial question; will making changes to their existing reporting infrastructure help the industry in the long run? If so, ESPs must make standardization of email metrics a priority. However, moving toward standardization too quickly can stifle growth and innovation. Therefore, we must use this time wisely and collaborate with industry colleagues to develop congruency across the majority of ESPs. These innovations have the ability to help email marketers better discern email metrics, especially if or when they switch providers. These changes will increase clients’ satisfaction when choosing a provider and, ultimately, brighten the future of the entire industry.
If you are interested in joining the Measurement Accuracy Roundtable, please contact Ali Swerdlow.
– Fred Tabsharani
Marketing | Industry Relations
Port25 Solutions, Inc.