New Case Study Highlights Knotice

Here at Knotice, we strive to give our customers the best experience possible, and that means helping to make their workday more productive all while giving them real-time insights into the customer data they need whenever they need it.

To make this possible, we partnered with Pivotal (formerly Greenplum) to make upgrades to the way we process data. Now, instead of waiting hours for vital audience data, Knotice customers can get that information in seconds.

Our results using an advanced massively parallel processing infrastructure were so impressive that we were asked to be featured in Pivotal’s first case study on the successful implementation of the solution under the Pivotal brand.

Just released, the case study highlights how Knotice was able to greatly simplify our data management processes, as well as production tasks and dashboard reporting. The case study also takes a look at how we were able to improve the speed with which we returned real-time insights to our customers.
Now you can explore potential segments of both known and anonymous audiences from the convenience of their tablet with impressive speed.

For marketers, this means a dramatic increase in efficiency. They can get counts, access vital audience data and more while they’re sitting in meetings discussing their next campaign – instead of speculating on potential approaches based on hunches while waiting days for cross-platform data to be processed for their needs.

“We’re giving our clients the ability to sit in an executive meeting and bring up real-time insights that actually change the course of that meeting—rather than just dropping a request in the data team’s queue and waiting hours or even days for a response,” explained Knotice CTO Bill Landers. “With Pivotal, the response times on our platform are blazing fast, which will result in greater customer productivity and more satisfied users.”

Check out the full case study here: http://www.gopivotal.com/sites/default/files/Knotice_CS_08122013.pdf.
And be sure to get in touch if you’d like to see things for yourself.

A Look Inside Knotice

Every once in a while, it’s fun to show you what goes on inside (and outside of) the Knotice offices.

When we’re not busy going above and beyond for our customers or coming up with cool technology features, we like to hang out and have a good time. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to lately:

Ready to take on CrossFit on the muddy (and goose-poop filled) terrain outside the office.

Ready to take on CrossFit on the muddy (and goose-poop filled) terrain outside the office.

It was a very messy class.

It was a very messy class.

Enjoying some sweet treats at a baby shower.

Enjoying some sweet treats at a baby shower.

Some of the Client Success Team decided to have a ‘Dress Like Dutch Day.’ Dutch Hollis, our General Manager of Client Success, wears a black shirt to work each day. Perhaps he’s channeling Steve Jobs?

Some of the Client Success Team decided to have a ‘Dress Like Dutch Day.’ Dutch Hollis, our General Manager of Client Success, wears a black shirt to work each day. Perhaps he’s channeling Steve Jobs?

Targeting Settings on Gmail Inbox Ads

Casey BartoAs Elizabeth mentioned on Monday, the new Gmail inbox now includes ads that appear in your mail stream. To get even more insight into these ads, I sat down with David Landers from the Knotice Deliverability Assurance Team.
In addition to Elizabeth’s observations, David offered these views:
  • The ads do not persist if you navigate away from Gmail in your browser and return later. If an ad is displayed and you do not click on it and leave the site, it does not appear when you return.
  • The ads are definitely being prioritized, meaning that they are appearing at the top of the list in the “Promotions” window. They are clearly advertisements although designed to appear as emails. (There has been much debate as to whether these ads within the email stream are considered spam or not.)
  • The ads seem to be targeted to users who have “interested-based advertising” enabled via their Google Ads settings for Gmail; if the user is not enrolled in this, the ads appear to be more generic.

To see how his experience would be changed, David decided to opt out of the interest-based advertising, and these are the ads he received:

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Since Google sends you ads “based on your interests” when you’re opted in, David wanted to see what “interests” Google had him placed under based on his activity. This is what he found:

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“These interests themselves are a bit strange because I don’t know how I had ‘activity on Google products’ relating to some or most of these, but particularly ones like ‘Bicycles & Accessories’ and ‘Make-Up & Cosmetics,’” he said.

Perhaps this type of fail is intended to prompt people to opt-in to categories that actually do interest them. Or maybe Google has some work to do before it gets things right.

What do you think of the new ad format? Do you find it intrusive? And are you more likely to opt out of interest-based advertising now?

If you want to opt out of Gmail’s inbox ads, here’s how.

Google Ads Coming to an Inbox Near You

Elizabeth Huebner Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of experts across the industry (including Knotice’s own Dutch Hollis) that have shared their point of view on the new Gmail Inbox. Now that you’ve likely experienced this shift to the new inbox, we’re going to take a look at another shift – how Ads through Google’s Sponsored Promotion program are being delivered.
The Sponsored Promotion program has evolved over the years. It started as a way for Google to gain revenue through free services provided to its users. It changed in 2011 to further personalize the advertisements based on the interests of those they were serving. Initially, the 2011 change was a big success, but over time the success fizzled and as a result wasn’t fully capitalizing on revenue opportunities for advertisements. As Google’s recent second-quarter earnings suggest, advertising that works on desktop computers doesn’t work as well on mobile devices, which has caused Google to evaluate the advertising strategies and offerings. One example is Google Sponsored Promotions. These sponsored promotions are now prioritized in the inbox as a new native style ad under the Promotions Tab. These placements closely resemble actual e-mails, with the only differentiation being a slightly yellowed background and faint text in the subject line saying “Ad.” The ads can either link to an email, which can be forwarded to others or expand to provide additional detail from the advertiser.

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Some may argue this minimal differentiation between the ad and email is not enough, but Google claims the placement and treatment provides a better experience for those using their email service. One way the enhanced experience is accomplished is by Gmail’s use of “interest-based advertising,” which is a setting that can be controlled by the user. Google is serving fewer number of ads, but has been successful making them be more relevant to the user – thus more likely to be successful for the advertiser. When advertisers are more successful there is a greater likelihood Google will continue to grow their advertising revenue. If the user is not enrolled in “interest-based advertising”, the ads appear to be more generic. At any time the tabbed inbox can be reverted to the previous version and the Ads can be disabled from the inbox. When the ads become disabled, they are then visible to the right or top of the search results again.

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The program is still in limited beta and it is too soon to know the results. But we expect various ad based services will continue to look for ways to make ads more relevant and better integrated with users daily engagements, be it something like the new Google Ad placement or Facebook’s Sponsored Stories.

Stay tuned for more insights on Gmails sponsored ads in future posts.

CrossFit at Knotice

We like to have fun here at Knotice. We’ve done plays, played in bands, tried our hand (or foot) at soccer and have even been warriors. And of course, let’s not forget our yoga classes, which we still offer.

We’ve recently added a new offering to our list of activities: CrossFit, which depending on who you speak to, provides various levels of enjoyment.

CrossFit is offered three times a week during the evenings thanks to the folks at CrossFit Akron who come to our building and help us train.

Our first class was yesterday, and there are quite a few folks waddling around the office this morning getting used to their sore muscles. Here’s a look at some of the action:

The before picture. Notice how happy and non-sweaty everyone is.

The before picture. Notice how happy and non-sweaty everyone is.

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Getting down to business.

Getting down to business.

Tommy and Brian stretch it out

Tommy and Brian stretch it out.

Matt and Elizabeth race to the finish

Matt and Elizabeth race to the finish.

More Do Not Track Drama

Casey BartoIt hasn’t even been three weeks since I last reported on the Do Not Track stalemate, and there’s been yet another blow to the stagnate proposal. The latest hit comes in the form of the resignation of Jonathan Mayer from the Tracking Protection Working Group.
Apparently Mayer, who was instrumental in getting Firefox to stop accepting 3rd party cookies, got fed up with the endless feet dragging done by the W3C.

He wrote in his resignation email:

“We first met to discuss Do Not Track over 2 years ago. We have now held 10 in-person meetings and 78 conference calls. We have exchanged 7,148 emails. And those boggling figures reflect just the official fora.

“The group remains at an impasse. We have sharpened issues, and we have made some progress on low-hanging fruit. But we still have not resolved our longstanding key disagreements, including: What information can websites collect, retain, and use? What sorts of user interfaces and defaults are compliant, and can websites ignore noncompliant browsers?

“Our Last Call deadline is July 2013. That due date was initially January 2012. Then April 2012. Then June 2012. Then October 2012. We are 18 months behind schedule, with no end in sight.”

The Last Call deadline has come and gone with no news on any sort of agreement or anything close to progress. It looks like this is going to drag on for many more months and, with the way things have gone, maybe even years.

Meanwhile (and not surprisingly), privacy analysts say browsers are half-heartedly attacking Do Not Track. (I can attest to this as I’ve activated the Do Not Track option on my browser just to see what happens, but more on that in a future post.)

A big complaint among analysts and some privacy advocates is that the Do Not Track options in most browsers are too difficult to locate, forcing users to expand menus or unnecessarily search for the option.

How do you think Mayer’s exit will affect the Do Not Track process? Will there be an agreement anytime soon?

Data Management: Taming the Beast

Micah HattonBy now we’ve all been familiarized with the latest industry buzzword – Big Data. But unlike other buzzwords, the term “Big Data” is pretty straightforward. More customers are online, doing more things and giving marketers an ever-increasing amount of data (activity, preferences, purchases, page views, posts, ect.) to work with. While it may be easy to understand the theory behind it, wrangling this information in real life for your unique use case, however, can be a daunting task.
That’s where Data Management comes in. Making use of all the pieces of the marketing puzzle requires an understanding of each customer’s big picture. Sure, they’ve purchased running shoes and a laptop in the last 12 months, but how does one purchase relate to the other – and what other activities fall in between that could provide context for a more robust brand experience?

More and more marketers are compiling more and more data – but only a select few are using it to its full potential. Storing, managing and utilizing information present the three biggest challenges.

Part of the reason Big Data is so – well, big – is that many of the entries can be duplicates – especially among unidentifiable or anonymous consumers. So many sources and so many impressions can create a bit of a mess if you don’t have a solid Data Management Platform (DMP) in place. More advanced platforms can auto-link those mystery consumers and their datasets to known individuals once an identifying event takes place (like an email open or loyalty program activity), adding value to the dataset overall.

There’s a saying for data intake that “Garbage in equals garbage out.” Keeping data clean will help streamline its management and utilization (this is where that DMP comes in). It’s no secret that the market can change on a dime, so having an agile, efficient solution that includes the normalization of information for best use can help keep your messaging ahead of the curve. By reducing the size of your data footprint across your organization to consolidate within a single system, you can flip the script on Big Data and make it “small” and useable again.

With a little research, a solid vision and the right DMP software, the Big Data beast can, in fact, be tamed. If you’re collecting the right information about your customers, organizing and managing it can lead to incredible returns.

Related posts:
Fun Facts on Big Data
The Lowdown on Big Data
More Big Data Questions Answered

Introducing Our Client Success Team

Our commitment to our customers here at Kntoice is how we do business. To support that passion our passion for all things customer, we’ve made some changes to help our customers get the most out of their Knotice relationship.

We’ve revamped our professional services and onboarding teams to revolve around you, the customer. The new department is appropriately called Client Success.professionalServices

Client Success focuses on these main goals:

  • Make sure every client has the absolute best and most cohesive experience as the Knotice platform is deployed.
  • To lighten some of the load on your team, providing agency-style services that allow you to focus on what you do best.
  • To help you get the greatest value out of the Knotice platform, making your marketing programs even more successful.

In addition to our client success team, we’ve got more exciting announcements coming in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

Dealing with Email to the Mobile Gmail Inbox

Dave LawsonAccording to our Knotice Mobile Email Opens reports, open rates on mobile devices for commercial emails should reach the tipping point of 50% by the end of the year. Not only that, but data from Pew Research affirms that over 55% of American adults (not just mobile phone subscribers but all adults) now own a smartphone. One of the primary functions performed on these devices is accessing email.
If email has been a historically significant channel for driving your business, adjustments to accommodate the small screen and variety of contexts that mobility creates aren’t just a good idea – they’re now mandatory. If you haven’t made adjustments, you are likely missing out.

The roll out of the new Gmail inbox presents new challenges for mobile marketers. Real life users just want things to work. As Android’s marketshare continues to grow, you’re dealing with a Gmail account is attached to each of those service activations. However, one of the primary drivers of that marketshare growth is that many highly capable Android devices are now just the “free device” option at any carrier. Those devices aren’t just in the hands of the super user, they’re for everyone – hyper-connected and non-techie folks alike.

It’s important to keep in mind that outside the digital marketing world, real-life users tend to care very little about keeping up with the latest feature changes and whizzbang UX enhancements that are introduced by a service provider. The automated classification of messages based on keywords in the content, sending practices, engagement with messages from your domain all conspire to bury your bulk messaging which has perhaps historically been a reliable performer for you. As a reputable marketer, you may notice that your deliverability may not suffer at all, but overall viewability may plummet.

This challenge opens up new opportunities:

  • Start by considering the entirety of your interaction with your customers, from consideration-phase prospects through to loyal owners who then become return purchasers. Currently, transactional messages seem to do well to get into the primary inbox. As carriers of highly important information regarding a recent purchase, delivery, account status changes, or service updates, higher than average engagement rates often ensue. These types of messages typically may have not gotten the “branding love” that many of their promotional cousins have, which includes the optimization of them for smaller screens or touch navigation. You might want to take a look at these more closely.
  • Provide a richer branded experience in these service-oriented messages. The easier you make those emails to navigate and act upon, the better you will fare in the new mobile/Gmail world. This includes pre-filling forms upon click through, looking at radio buttons and drop-down menus for surveys, and even offering one-click phone numbers to your call center for more complex interactions.

Also, remember that mail from your domain should have a purpose. With the new Gmail features, each message is now automatically classified. Assume that around half of your mail will be seen first on a mobile device. Revisit the value of someone taking the action to explicitly opt-in to receive communication from your brand. With the respect that accompanies a high value action like that, consider things like the availability of behavioral-based data to drive relevancy in triggers.

Personalization should become even more of an asset. Consider courting your engaged Gmail population by sending them specific instructions for keeping your brand’s messages prioritized (beyond “please add us to your safe list”) and in the tab where the customer themselves would classify your brand’s outreach. On the backend, design strategies to assess what actions from messages sent to Gmail subscribers mean for not just your traditional deliverability metrics but also actual engagement. Understand from those who have opened, clicked, forwarded and socially shared on a regular basis from a mobile device within Gmail, if that is due to the type of email user they are or the type of emails you are sending. Start with your best customers (people who have actually converted meaningfully) and model your testing and future execution off those audiences that represent the bulk of your best consumers.

The New Gmail Inbox(es)

Dutch HollisIf you’re a Gmail user you may have noticed a sea change in your inbox of late. Gmail now has a tabbed inbox. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry – you will soon. Let’s set aside for the moment whether or not this is good for the users – I suspect it will be a matter of preference. Let’s delve in to what it means for you the marketer.
The default tabs, in addition to the Primary tab, are Social, Promotions, and Updates. You can also add others, like Forums. The Primary tab will contain email conversations with people you know and items Gmail believes are important to you, including transactional messages from businesses. Social, as the name implies, contains updates from social networks, and the Updates tab is mainly newsletter-type content, but keep in mind some of your regular recurring marketing messages may end up there. The Promotions tab is what Gmail deems to be promotional information and you can expect a lot of your marketing emails to end up there.

Also note the colored indicator for a new message that appears in each tab, as seen below:
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Simply clicking into a tab with a new message will automatically remove the corresponding indicator for that tab.

Why it’s Noteworthy

Considering the amount of marketing email that will be landing in the “Promotions” tab going forward, it may obscure messages that are unread, but not “new” by Gmail’s definition. Let’s say that a user on your mailing list logs into Gmail and checks the tab to see what the new message is. If for some reason the user chooses not to open the message at that time – whether the subject line did not ‘grab’ the reader, or if there was some other distraction – then the new message indicator will vanish. In short, unread mail isn’t front and center anymore, only “new” mail. Obviously this has implications for all open rates, but of greater concern are time-sensitive offers.

The behavior works the same on mobile, too. The scenario here could be that a user logs into the Gmail mobile interface and receives a notification that there is new mail in a tab, as seen here:

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If the user clicks into the link to see what the new categorized mail is, this will remove the new mail indicator, regardless of platform. From a marketer’s perspective, this is particularly troublesome for those users who scan the “Promotions” tab from a mobile device throughout the day but may not open at that time. (More on the mobile impact in the next post.)

There may be some upside in terms of deliverability/placement. These tabs give the Gmail algorithms more choices than just Inbox vs. Junk. It may be that more email considered Promotional goes to that tab than to junk and that would have a positive effect on open rates. It is far too early to tell if that will be the case or not but it will be interesting and important to watch.

If you send time sensitive offers, the new Gmail potentially creates some significant challenges. Regardless of what type of promotional mail you’re sending, crafting an email message that stands out- particularly those fields that are visible when the message appears in the user’s mailbox (the subject line and the friendly from name)- is more important now than ever.

Special thanks to our delivery assurance team for contributing to this post.

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