Measuring the strength of one’s brand is an important part of marketing, albeit somewhat difficult and sometimes expensive as it traditionally relies on tactics like surveys.
However, marketers now have everything they need to measure brand perception using email marketing analytics. Specifically the rate that users indicate “this is spam” (TIS) or “this is not spam” (TINS) in relationship to your emails can provide an accurate perception of your brand — and even your competitors’ brands.
For the most part, email subscribers are already customers, and the email marketing channel is used to both create demand and foster loyalty. As a result, metrics like TIS and TINS can serve as a strong indicator of how customers perceive your brand – better than social and better than intrusive website surveys.
Marketers Whose Emails Reach The Inbox Can Thank Customers
“This is Not Spam” (TINS) has been available to email users for a while to report that email they signed up for and want to receive shouldn’t be in the spam folder if ever delivered there (and my research shows that no email marketer ever goes without being delivered to the spam folder on a daily basis). It is meant to train the spam filters that they have made a mistake with their filtering decisions. Therefore, marketers with higher TINS rates have better deliverability and inbox placement rates compared to those with lower TINS rates.
In fact, according to a recent Return Path study, marketers that achieve near-perfect inbox placement rates (99%+) have a TINS rate four times higher than those that have less than 88% of their email delivered to the inbox.
Deliverability vs. TINS Rate
Not Delivered to Spam
Less than 88%
88% to 97%
97.1% to 99%
More than 99%
The opposite of this metric is the “This is Spam” (TIS) rate. Commonly called subscriber complaints, this is negative feedback that signals to an email provider that email from this particular sender should be sent to the spam folder and not the inbox. Marketers can also use this as a signal of negative brand perception and/or strength.
Top Retail Brands Have Higher TINS Rates
For example, Clear’s Top 10 Desirable Retail Brands USA chart includes brands like Etsy, Kohl’s and Target — brands that appeared in our study as having some of the highest TINS rates among retailers. In fact, their TINS rates were three times higher than the average. Other brands that frequently appear in “Top Brands” lists also had high TINS rates, like Apple, Zappos and Walgreens.
Being a top brand and having a high TINS rate isn’t a coincidence, either. Email subscribers are most often the business’ top customers. Therefore, looking at subscriber behavior is a better gauge of brand strength than other methods. Businesses can also look at their competitor’s TINS and TIS rates to benchmark their brand efforts against competitors.
For example, in the competitive home improvement category, the TINS rate for Home Depot is over 11%, compared to Lowe’s rate of .43%. Additionally, Home Depot’s “read rate,” a more accurate way of calculating email open rates, is at 50% — compared to Lowe’s “read rate” of 9%.
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