Email Monetization’s Place in the Changing Horizons of Digital Advertising

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Email has been a part of our daily lives for so long, we sometimes take for granted all the opportunities that exist for monetization. As we head into 2020, now is the time to take advantage of the latest technologies, tools, and trends in email advertising and look at how shifts in the digital advertising landscape are impacting our ability to monetize email campaigns.

Consumers worldwide receive more than 269 billion emails each day, and that figure is expected to reach almost 320 billion by 2021. The average office worker receives 121 emails per day. Although emails provide value, inboxes tend to be noisy, crowded, and highly competitive for marketers. The modern inbox is bursting at the seams with emails from brands, and consumers have all the control as they decide for themselves which items they’ll open and read.

It wasn’t always like this. As one of the most traditional digital marketing channels, email provided brands with a place to push the limits and test creative prowess. Over time, industry standards grew more rigid, and brands buttoned up their email strategies. Now, the pendulum is swinging once again. Shifts in the digital advertising industry are causing brands to reconsider email. 

Industry Changes

Advertising on social media is getting harder. Getting noticed organically via influencer outreach is getting harder, too. Brands like Ipsy and LUSH are pulling back on their social advertising strategies and looking at opportunities to connect with customers outside of the traditional social channels. 

Email gives brands the chance to own the experience and design conversations that truly reflect their personalities. When brands communicate with customers directly via email, they’re not limited by arbitrary word counts or other limitations. That freedom is a big part of the allure of email, for both brands and consumers themselves. Despite how fragmented the media landscape has become, email is still one of the more reliable channels out there from a monetization perspective.

Outside of social, global brands are pulling back on display advertising as well. Concerns over viewability, fraud protection, and third-party verification have been growing for years. In 2018, two of the world’s biggest advertisers, P&G and Unilever, pulled back on spending and reduced the number of publisher websites they patronized, demanding at the same time more transparency from the industry as a whole.

Monetizing Email — The Latest Strategies

We all know that digital advertising isn’t going anywhere. When brands pull back on spending on social and display advertising, they’re putting more resources into other channels. Over the past year, email monetization has gotten the bulk of this attention. 

P&G offers a good example here. Between 2016 and 2017, P&G ran ads on 712 of the same websites, including Yahoo News, BuzzFeed, and Reuters. As concerns surrounding fraud and verification in display advertising started to spread, P&G reportedly reduced spend on 560 of those websites, according to MediaRadar.

When brands pull back on the number of websites they’re advertising on, they open the door to new channels, including email. With tools like inboxAds, PowerInbox, or LiveIntent, publishers can accept ads from brands for their email newsletters. Advances in artificial intelligence are reducing wasted ad spend as well. Using AI to systematically select ads that appeal to a publisher’s recipients means brands aren’t wasting their budgets on readers who aren’t interested in their products, and publishers aren’t turning off their readers by running unappealing ads.

Brands are developing sophisticated email marketing strategies that actually leverage the changes taking place in digital advertising right now. In the process, they have been able to transform email into a revenue generator. Monetizing email campaigns and connecting with real people, brands and publishers are pushing the boundaries of efficiency and generating more revenue through their campaigns. Ultimately, the future of email monetization hinges on the ability to run custom-tailored content from the best demand networks.

Laurentiu Vladan is the CEO of inboxAds.