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Our multinational financial services company has two separate but related nurture campaigns that abruptly received a larger-than-usual number of spam complaints. We were charged with researching the issue to determine the scope and subsequently developing a solution.


We put our knowledge of Eloqua Insight, gained in the Luminary B2B Technology course, to work and pulled up the total number of spam complaints for the lifetime of the campaign, as well as the total number of emails delivered, to get a better, more detailed picture. Once finished with this investigation, we uncovered several things:

  1. A good portion of the complaints on that date were unrelated to the division running the above-mentioned campaigns.
  2. All of the pertinent complaints came from a single person.
  3. Even with this relatively large influx, we still determined the spam rate for the lifetime of the campaign to be .02 percent. When we acknowledge that the average, global spam rate for 2016 was somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 percent, our client's rate seems somewhat more than satisfactory in comparison.



Despite the fact that it seemed like there was nothing left to do (I mean, if it's not broken, don't fix it, right?) this minor spam scare gave us pause to take a closer look at the campaign to see if we could, in fact, improve the user experience in any other ways.


Though they might look like spaghetti on the canvas, these two campaigns have a fairly straightforward setup: a central starting place for all contacts, who are then branched off based on company revenue and then again according to engagement level. Taking our cue from the emails that caused the foregoing spam complaint, we further inspected the "unengaged" path of the campaign and found that, in some cases, contacts who went down that path received more emails than those on the "engaged" path, whether or not they eventually declared any interest in the product. In fact, it's so long I had to use two screen shots to capture it:

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 10.59.31 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 10.59.50 AM.png


The other possible issue that came to our attention - and the factor we believe caused the spam complaints - was the cadence of the emails being sent. With only two days in between each send and the likelihood of six emails in total (the two initial emails are not pictured above), it was surprising the campaign wasn't receiving more spam complaints!



Thinking back to the best practices we learned in both the E10 Fundamentals and Luminary Engagement and Segmentation courses, we came up with a number of recommendations for our client:

  1. Spam complaints are inevitable…you're going to have at least a few with any campaign. Note when there's a significant increase, but don't beat yourself up over one or two.
  2. Consider giving the unengaged contacts in the campaign an off ramp at some point in the path so they're not sentenced to receive every email in the campaign if they don’t want them. This could be as simple as adding a decision step a few emails in that checks to see whether or not contacts are opening or clicking anything.
  3. Think about changing the cadence of the emails so there's a little more time between sends. Two days is a pretty short span of time, especially when someone already isn't exhibiting the desired digital body language. Increasing the time between emails to five or even seven days will give your contacts ample time to consider and respond to your offer without feeling like they're being inundated with messages, and it could conceivably improve the spam rate even more.



While we don't have any results to report yet as this spam issue and campaign review have only just happened, we do have certain expectations of the campaign once the changes have been made. First, we expect to see the continued low spam rate for the duration of the campaign, however long it might end up running. Second, we hope to see a lower overall unsubscribe rate based on increasing the time between email sends and giving unengaged contacts a way out (if they so desire). Finally, another possible benefit could be improved email deliverability. By staying aware of contacts' interest - or lack thereof - in our clients' emails, we can have a positive effect in this area too...because the more contacts who engage, the more valuable the content is perceived, and the better deliverability rates will be!

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