CASL Didn’t Spell Disaster for Email

As the deadline for the enactment of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) drew closer to the July 1, 2014 date, marketers were scrambling to implement compliance to the new law. Because the law was written to cover recipients residing in Canada as well as those receiving email while in Canada, even if a temporary visitor, the law affected email marketers all over the world. While it was a bit of a nuisance having to implement methods for compliance, CASL hasn’t hurt email. Here are three ways that CASL has pushed the industry to evolve and put the consumer first, which helps email to better deliver on its promise of being a leader of engagement and retention:

  1. Consumers Get to Decide What They Opt-In To

31% of consumers in a 2013 Forrester study said, “I often wonder how companies that send me email offers got my name and email address.”  Under CASL, brands must gather expressed consent from the consumer, thus putting an end to this consumer confusion. (There are exceptions for implied consent, although limitations apply.) Express consent means that the days of simply using purchase information to insert a consumer into email communications is no longer acceptable. How did this benefit email marketers? Email lists pose a reduced threat to deliverability. Brands are likely seeing higher engagement metrics as well as increased revenue per email.

  1. You Have a Good “How We Met” Story

As part of tracking consent, a data trail is being created. It is required under CASL to track initial consent date, upgraded consent date, consent level and consent source. It is not required, but recommended to also capture IP address. Knowing this information can help to create a new onboarding strategy, where you’re starting the customer off right in the first phase of the customer journey.

  1. Unsubscribing is Easier Than Ever

Marketers really dread unsubscribes. It means the product, service or communications just aren’t resonating. Under CASL, marketers have to leave an unsubscribe mechanism on emails live for 60 days from the send. Additionally, when a user opts out, the consumer can no longer be hassled with “Are you sure?” messages online or in emails. By allowing your email subscribers to leave your list easily, it can reduce the risk of spam complaints or worse—the emotional opt out. Emotional opt outs are those that continue to receive a brand’s emails, but always hit delete. They can wreak havoc on deliverabilty if too many of those are part of your active database. (Of course, I always recommend monitoring engagement to actively manage these recipients.) By allowing recipients to end an email relationship easily, it reduces consumer dissatisfaction and reduces deliverability concerns.

For more information on CASL, see the eec/DMA joint guide titled, “A Digital Marketer’s Guide to Canada’s Anti-Spam Law “CASL”.


April Mullen | @aprildmullen

eec Advocacy Subcommittee Member

Sr. Marketing Strategist | StrongView