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Gaining Email Marketing Insights from Big Data [Video]

Your customers leave little data clues behind them wherever they go. In fact, we collectively create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, according to IBM—which means that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.

That’s a lot of breadcrumbs to follow!

The Big Data movement is all about sorting through all these bits of data—discarding the ones that are meaningless noise, putting aside the ones that don’t tell us anything actionable, and creating plans and campaigns based the ones that yield true customer insights.

Matt Laudato, Senior Manager of Big Data Analytics at Constant Contact, has been sorting through the piles of data generated by the email service provider’s customers and has uncovered lots of interesting takeaways. I had the opportunity to sit down with Matt at The Email Design Conference and talk about what he and his team have learned and how marketers can uncover Big Data insights of their own.

You can watch the full interview here, or read a transcript of it below.


It started with simple questions. And it started with the fact that we knew we had gold. We knew we had a lot of interesting data. We also knew we weren’t leveraging it. We weren’t using it to the advantage of our customers. And my bias is always if you do the right thing for the customer, they will drag you along and make your business successful as well. And so I knew that we weren’t doing the best for our business.

Small Wins

It’s amazing what happens when you get to a small win. The first small wins that we were able to talk about around the company—and best time to send was certainly one of them—really just opened up the eyes of a lot of folks, a lot of stakeholders who I was asking for things like more budget, for example, and they realized that we actually had something here.

So it was small steps, focused questions, making sure that the data was sound and that we believed in our analysis. And it’s really snowballed from then.

‘The Super Fan’

You always hear that there’s a small group of people that influence. Well, we found that in spades. We found that there’s a very small group, about 10% of the people that open emails, are responsible for half of your opens. We found that 10% of the folks that you have on your list are responsible for almost half of your clicks.

So just that the notion that on something as big as an email list there was this small cluster of people that were the real influencers—that was a real eye opener.

Focus on Fewer Links

People are very interested in the click studies that we did. Specifically, there’s two competing results, which is that the more links you put in an email, the higher your click rate. This doesn’t mean that you should put a couple of hundred links in your email though.

We also found that the more links you put into an e-mail, the less effective each link is. If you look deeper at it—and that’s really the power of what we’re doing—you find that, you know what? It really does make sense to keep the number of links small. You’re going to get more effective communications there. You’re going to get people to focus on the things that are important.

Behind the Number

I think people go wrong by simply looking at the number and forgetting that there’s somebody behind that number who wants to be made to feel special. And that really ties into some of the things we were talking about as to, can you segment people? Can you find the right group to put people in so that they really do feel special? They’re getting a communication from you that makes them feel like they’re not just one of the many sheep grazing on the hill, but they’re somebody who’s special and important.

So I always like to go behind the number and remind myself, every day, that there’s somebody there that is responding and they’re important, and I have to treat them as such.

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Chad S. White

Chad S. White

Chad S. White was the Research Director at Litmus