With all the different audience targeting options available, we often get asked about data hygiene and quality. We do have one specific data partner in our audience marketplace, Webbula, that has created a niche space for themselves by bringing this component to the forefront and has based their data set around it. I recently had lunch with Vince Cersosimo, CEO and Founder of Webbula, and found out more about where they are heading and some tips on how marketers can better improve the quality of their email lists to achieve the ROI they are seeking.
1. You’ve spoken a little bit on your company and how you got your start. Can you go into more detail about the origin of Webbula and where the company is headed today?
In 2009, Webbula was started to solve email sending problems for organizations. While Webbula initially started as an Email Service Provider (ESP), we quickly realized there is an even bigger problem for organizations sending email—fraudulent email data affecting brand reputation and deliverability. Because data quality is significant in the email space, Webbula developed a proprietary data technology called CloudHygiene to address fraudulent and toxic email data. Once our clients realized the results of our CloudHygiene technology, we became known in the industry for our email quality. We then considered ourselves as more of a technology company and less of an email marketing company and expanded our technology to solve the data quality problems surrounding other portions of the identity layer and demographics. Our clients grew to love our data quality not only for email, but also for data acquisition and enhancement.
As we started aggregating and compiling more of our own data, we realized our offline data enhancement and cleansing technology could be applied to the online ad targeting marketplace. Today, Webbula is able to make our quality audience data available to online advertisers by working with companies such as MediaMath and other DMPs, DSPs and data on-boarders that have build a robust ecosystem over these past few years. Now our clients and partners consider Webbula as the industry-leading data quality provider in both the email and online advertising industries, and we continue to offer the scale our customers need to launch relevant campaigns across channels.
2. What are three tips you have for marketers to improve the quality of their email lists?
A lot of marketers come to us and say, “I want to clean my list and remove all the bad email addresses,” and while that is important, our strategy is to also identify the best, high-quality email addresses for our customers. First, it’s vital to clean your list to identify active threats. While verification checks for bounces and offers some intelligence about your list, it does not address deliverable email addresses like spam traps, honeypots and moles which are the most toxic and harmful to your brand and campaign. Only email hygiene can identify deliverable email threats and many marketers make the mistake of thinking that checking for bounces is enough. When hygiene and verification are used together, marketers receive comprehensive intelligence on the quality and health of their email list and that’s exactly what we do.
Next, it is important to figure out how to reach your targeted email audience on mobile devices. This can easily be done by identifying email addresses associated with social media accounts. Why? Because email addresses associated with social media activity are likely connected to a mobile device. Social media authentication allows marketers to identify email addresses with active social media accounts so they can achieve email marketing gold.
Lastly, we always encourage marketers to learn more about their customer list and increase the insights they have on individuals – their lifestyle and interests, political leanings, online behaviors, demographics and more. By appending additional data to their customer list, marketers are able to craft precise, relevant email campaigns that drive opens, clicks and revenues.
3. So you have a cleaner list—what are the next steps to ensuring you are actually getting ROI?
While opens and clicks are important metrics to drive to ensure campaign ROI, they aren’t the best engagement metrics to measure in your email marketing campaigns. This is because spam traps can open your email messages and seeded trackers can click on them. To ensure the engagement metrics you are tracking are not fraudulent, it is essential to clean your list regularly to avoid low-quality emails and focus on high-quality emails that are most likely to engage and convert. We encourage our customers to set a baseline in their list cleansing efforts, and measure results according to that baseline overtime. Aside from cleaning their list, we also encourage marketers to grow their list through healthy list growth practices like data enhancement and social media authentication.
4. How does email hygiene affect the larger marketing ecosystem inclusive of both martech and adtech?
Webbula views the email address as the universal key identifier. Why? Everyone has an email address and uses it to log in or register for just about everything. The email has become just as important as an individual’s name and the hashed email address acts as a secure passport for identifying everything about an individual. However, dirty or fraudulent email data offers little insight and understanding about an actual individual. By using clean email data that has been filtered through rigorous email hygiene filters, marketers find confidence in their data sets and can apply these identification insights to their campaigns to better target individuals across devices.
Additionally, Webbula brings this data hygiene process to the audience data space and provides our DMP and DSP partners like MediaMath with data that has been cleaned and, in turn, improves performance for their advertising clients. While Webbula’s audience data is at scale to run large campaigns, we believe in quality over quantity and work to offer the marketplace only the best quality data.
5. How do you see email and data quality further influencing advertising in the next five years?
Today, we are already fueling identity graphs with hashed emails, and we feel identity graphs will continue to grow and create a more comprehensive picture of individuals in the future. Our customers and partners choose Webbula because we are known for our data quality, which is what we see as the main focus for the future of advertising in the next five years. Today, there is so much fraudulent, dirty data in the marketing and advertising ecosystem, and as marketers continue to identify their audiences, the demand is going to be for high-quality data that actually works. We see a lot of data providers advertising their large scale, and many marketers are initially attracted to larger audiences. However, when marketers prioritize quantity over quality, they often find their audiences are inaccurate and missing significant pieces of data, which makes their campaigns less significant or relevant to targets. Webbula’s non-modeled data for advertising is reported directly from the individual, and we apply our proprietary email and data hygiene technology to allow marketers to filter and narrow their targeting to high-quality, highly-relevant audiences.