Partner Voices: Getting Started with Email Monetization
As we continue on our quest to define the value of email inventory, we want to delve deeper into factors that impact the open of an email newsletter and Revenue Per Open (RPO). In our last Partner Voices post, we defined RPO, why it’s important, and looked at some of the factors impacting RPO. In this second post we’ll look at the value of an email audience, discuss the ideal number of ad units per email template, and how to maximize the value of email inventory.
The Opportunity & Value of the Email Audience:
According to one study, people spend an average of 6.3 hours per day in email (split between work and recreation). People are also checking email in every environment possible. Whether lying in bed, resting on the couch, on vacation, driving (although we don’t condone this), in the bathroom, or watching TV, people are always checking their email. And remember, in order to receive a publisher email newsletter, a user has to go to the publisher’s website, type in their email address, and then confirm via email that they want to receive content from the publisher.
This tells us a few things:
- If a person subscribes to a newsletter, it means he REALLY wants to receive content from the publisher and is inviting that publisher to deliver content in the most intimate digital environment -- the inbox.
- In most cases we know that the user has to double or triple confirm that they have signed up for email content. The chance of any fraud occurring is minimal at best. This means that content is being delivered to very engaged users, which means performance (of the content and advertising) is going to be very high. On average, at LiveIntent we see a CTR that is 2x higher on average than standard web display.
- Email is also a mobile audience as well (for example, 59% of LiveIntent’s inventory is mobile). Cross-device is not an issue because the email address is an inherently cross-device environment. Which means that is doesn’t matter what device the user opens, an advertiser can efficiently put the right message in front of the right user at the most appropriate time.
Email presents a unique opportunity to market and promote to the most engaged audience, drive up performance, and increase RPO.
The Ideal Number of Ad Units
As discussed in the last article, the more ad units that are in the template, the more revenue that can be made. Keep in mind that publishers need to strike the right balance between ad units and content. Utilizing an additional 300x250, 728x90, 160x600, or Marquee unit will help boost RPO. But there is no magic bullet here. A number of factors come into play when deciding how many and which type of ad units should go in your newsletter template.
Frequency of sends impacts impressions and RPO. For example, if a publisher only sends a newsletter once or twice a week, it may want to consider more ad units, while fewer might be suitable for a publisher/brand that sends daily in order to gain a significant amount of impressions.
Design, layout, and length of the template will have a major impact on the number of ad units in the template. The more content, the more opportunity there is a to put in additional ad units where it makes sense. The key is finding the right balance between content, ads, and continuous testing -- something that can be different for all publishers. But for clients like Flight Network, testing different ad sizes, templates, and send frequency has led to improved CTR and increased revenue.
Starting small and growing as you learn and feel comfortable is a tactic we’ve also seen other clients take.
Maximizing the Value of Email Inventory
There is a lot of discussion in our industry today around the benefits of header bidding and how it can combat the traditional waterfall effect of selling display ads programmatically. A benefit of selling email inventory through LiveIntent is that the platform offers a true auction, which means, there is no waterfall and if chosen, publishers can have their direct sold inventory compete on an even playing field with LiveIntent Exchange and Demand Side Platform. This ensures that the most appropriate ad and the right price will win bids, thus naturally driving up RPO.
Setting floors is another strategy used to help keep CPM’s at a certain level and drive up RPO. One thing to note here is this must be monitored on a regular basis. There is a clear balance between setting floors and gaining revenue. In order to set a floor, a publisher must understand the value of a user as related to a click or conversion back to their site. For example, if a publisher values a user click at $1.50 CPM, then one of the tactics the publisher can take is running house ads in its own newsletters at a CPM of $1.50. By setting a $1.50 CPM for marketing/content ads the publisher is essentially setting a floor. This tells any SSP (in this case LiveIntent) that in order to buy that particular impression, the winning bid MUST be higher than $1.50cpm. If the bid is below a $1.50cpm, then the house ads will be served, which provides the publisher additional opportunity to market and promote internal products. Setting a floor in this manner is a great way to promote publisher content and drive greater RPO.
In case you missed it, check out LiveIntent’s recent webinar with Craig Kostelic, head of revenue at the Food Innovation Group at Condé Nast, which offers more strategies on maximizing your email revenue.