Are Your Subscribers “Swiping Left”?


If your email marketing campaigns aren’t resulting in a lot of “right swipes,” or engagement, then maybe it’s time to look into CRM retargeting solutions to help you connect with your email soulmates.

Tinder is a lot like email marketing. It is people-based. Robots don’t hook up and they don’t like email very much.

Like Tinder, most people swipe left if they see your email campaigns, but unlike Tinder, they inevitably get another chance to swipe right the very next day. Just send another email.

Other than online dating and email marketing, could you even name any other industry where 25 percent goal attainment is top of the class? You would stop flying an airline that crashed 75 percent of the time, but if 25 percent of the email you send gets opened, you probably jump for joy.

No email marketer is sad or insulted when 75 percent of her audience ignores her. She has this built into her model. She knows that her work gets swiped left every day.

But the advantage of Tinder is that you know the person is nearby. If you swipe right and they swipe left, you can always try a different approach. Be daring. Maybe even something as radical as going up to them and saying “hello” in person.

If email marketers want more chances to find love, they need to get off the app and try a new approach for reaching all these people that swipe left. They need to use their data to get in front of their audience when they’re paying attention,

And they need to do it without sending more email.

Last week, Liz Rutgersson wrote a very useful article titled “5 Ways to Target Email Users With Display Ads,” featured here on ClickZ. While not exhaustive, it was an excellent primer on outlining the buying capabilities within mostly webmail services like Gmail,, and Yahoo. Other than LinkedIn, the ads that you can run in these services do not appear within emails themselves, but are rather around the inbox or are a special vehicle like Gmail Sponsored Promotions. These are like a real email except that it wasn’t sent by anybody and always inboxes.

If you are trying to date and acquire new email subscribers, running these ads may be decent tactics to try. But they are not great ways to win back the love of someone who has “swiped left.”

When you buy display ads on Gmail Sponsored Promotions, you are not supplying any user data to reach your own subscribers. Instead, you are “prospecting.” Prospecting is the practice of looking for customers to acquire, something referred to as “top of the funnel.” This is not CRM retargeting. It is advertising plain and simple. You are trying to hook up with someone you do not know. You should expect low click rates.

But if you are tired of the bar scene, and your users are “swiping left” when you send them email, there is another way. The era of people-based marketing offers marketers several other ways to reach your existing email subscribers without paying Google again.

CRM retargeting is the answer to the “swiping left” problem in email.

The first major CRM retargeting platform was launched in 2013 by Facebook, which they named Custom Audience. It was followed soon thereafter by Twitter’s Tailored Audiences, a virtually identical offering whose differentiation was the presentation of the ads (in Tweetstream as opposed to News Feed) and the size of the audience (hundreds of millions of users rather than Facebook’s billion-plus).

Facebook and Twitter offer solutions to the ongoing problem of message timing and attention.

In email, your messages continue to pile up whether you log in or not, in the order they were received. If you received 1,000 emails while you were on vacation, they pile up in the order that they were received, with the oldest at the bottom. Because email is a send-based medium, this is a fact of life.

However, CRM retargeting is a real-time offering. The only time that you will get an ad within Twitter or Facebook is when you are logged in to those services. There is no such thing as “when is the best time to send” a Facebook Custom Audience or Twitter Tailored Audience campaign. The only time these campaigns can be seen is when the user is logged in.

When users log in to these services, they use email addresses, phone numbers, or user IDs. If you are using your subscriber CRM data to reach your fans in Facebook or Twitter, you will only have the chance to bid on them and show an ad when they are logged in. Like Tinder, you can only match up when you log in.

In email you have no such option. So sending more mail in hopes of timing it right has become a tactic.

If this tactic isn’t resulting in more “right swipes,” maybe it’s time for you to investigate CRM retargeting and see what people-based email advertising solutions can do to help you hook up with your closest email soulmates.