Our Consumer Network Data: The Top 10 Things You Need to Know

In a previous post, we highlighted the Return Path data set as a whole. This week, I want to give you a deeper dive into our Consumer Network data. Since data is an incredibly vital piece of email marketing, we want to make sure you really get to know the facts and how it can help enhance your email program!

10. Context.IO, a Return Path company, helps developers of applications tap into the insights only email can provide. Context.IO provides a unique email API (application program interface) that makes it easy for application developers to retrieve email information and leverage it in applications such as CRM, document management, collaboration and productivity tools, and project management.

9. As people opt in to use these applications, they explicitly grant permission for Return Path to view and report on their mailbox behavioral data. Before Return Path uses any of the data in our solutions, we remove or obfuscate any personally identifiable information (PII) so that all data remains anonymous.

We take security and privacy seriously. Return Path ensures that all sensitive data is protected, secured, and anonymized in compliance with US and International standards. Access to sensitive data is highly controlled and restricted using systems that encrypt data within the Consumer Network.

8. Over 100 applications feed into our Consumer Network data spanning multiple application types. Having such a large set of applications feeding our data network diversifies the types of mailbox insights we receive and makes Return Path data applicable and actionable to all types of businesses.  

7. Our Consumer Network data is constantly growing and being refreshed through new application development and new subscriber opt ins. The data is never stagnant and new additions add volume, breadth, and depth to our data set. With nearly 2 million current subscribers in our Consumer Network and counting, it is larger than any other like data set in market which provides a more accurate picture of actual email behaviors.

6. The mailboxes within the Consumer Network span a diverse, worldwide audience from across the globe. The majority of the subscribers reside in North America; however, we have coverage in Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, as well.

5. Our Consumer Network data accurately reflects your subscriber list. This data covers different types of email accounts, usually referred to as primary vs secondary accounts. Our data is made up of 76 percent secondary or unused email addresses, but I want to highlight why this is not a negative aspect of the data.

At Return Path, we’ve analyzed the distribution of opens from marketer’s email service providers (ESP) for different lists and looked at the distribution of reads from the Consumer Network. What we found out was that the distribution of “opens” from the ESP was almost exactly the same as the distribution of “reads” from the Consumer Network. This would indicate that the engagement of panel members that receive mail from a given domain is very similar to the engagement of the entire list.

4. The data we provide for your specific email campaigns is based on the crossover between your subscriber list and our Consumer Network list. This means we show you data for the subscribers that are both in our Consumer Network and on your subscriber list. Therefore, if the data is showing that actual subscribers use a secondary email address to sign up for your emails, then regardless of which account type joins your email list, they are all equally important when assessing placement and engagement data.

Recent DMA research showed that the most important driver for subscribers to share personal data is if they trust the brand they are sharing it with. They are far more likely to give a primary email address when joining an email program if they are confident it will be used in an appropriate manner. This research further drives home how important it is to have a thoughtful email program that puts the subscriber’s experience first.

3. The Consumer Network data is exclusive to Return Path. It powers our email deliverability and optimization solutions such as Inbox Monitor and Inbox Insight. No other companies can power their email marketing solutions with this data set, so Return Path’s customers get extensive data that other vendors simply can’t provide.

While you will get access to your own Consumer Network data through Inbox Monitor, Return Path’s Inbox Insight solution also provides a targeted look into the creative and engagement data of your competitors. This insight allows you to see what others are doing, what’s working and what’s not, and can help drive your email strategy and improve deliverability metrics.

2. In addition to seeing inbox placement metrics through our seed data, having Consumer Network data gives you a complete, well-rounded picture of your email program.

While seed data will help you determine where you may be having inbox placement issues, coupling it with Consumer Network data takes engagement analysis one step further. As reported in our Hidden Metrics of Email Deliverability report, the ability to see behavior metrics such as deleted without reading, replied to percent, forwarded percent, This Is Not Spam percent, and more provide a unique view of your email program (and that of your competitors). Major mailbox providers are on record as saying that these “hidden metrics” have a material influence on deliverability yet most email marketers have no insight into them. Our Consumer Network data makes those metrics hidden no more.

1. The number one most important aspect of the Consumer Network is that it allows data to propel your business by helping you make informed, data driven email marketing decisions. Email marketing can have a huge ROI for your company but being great at getting to the inbox is difficult. Knowing where your email program is having challenges and the steps to take to resolve them increases conversions and your subscriber lifetime value.

In addition to our email solutions, the experts on Return Path’s client services teams use our unique Consumer Network data to work with clients to amplify positive email marketing behaviors and mitigate the negative ones. This team acts as an extension of your email marketing team and our clients consistently see improvements in deliverability as a direct outcome of their expertise.

For more information, download our We Know Email Readers Infographic.

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