How Much is Your Bad Data Costing You?

Data hygiene is a bit like going to the dentist. It can be unpleasant, but the cleaning and checkup can prevent problems and give you a great smile.

Maintaining your contact database health is crucial to your marketing strategy, accurate metrics, and lowering CRM/MAP costs. Here’s how to prevent data cavities and make your work shine.

Bouncebacks are a great place to start with data hygiene. Bouncebacks occur when a message runs into an obstacle of some kind when trying to be delivered. Some are temporary, some are permanent, and it’s essential to know which is which.

Eloqua’s Insight can help with identifying bouncebacks. But while it’s possible to get actionable data from it, Insight can also be tricky when it comes to uncovering what’s really happening with your audience. It can mislabel bouncebacks, signaling some are just temporary send failures when they’re actually permanent, and vice versa. It can lead frustrated marketers to wonder if it’s really worth it.

It is definitely worth keeping your database clean. And we have a better solution.

When is a bounceback actually an opportunity?

First, as mentioned above, not all bouncebacks are created equal. Some are soft bounces, which can happen if a contact’s mailbox is full, or if the recipient’s email service uses greylisting (essentially, the email server tells the sender to try again later as a way of filtering spam).

Others are hard bounces, which can happen if someone (or a bot) puts in a fake email address, or more innocently, just makes a typo when entering their email address.

While you might assume that a soft bounce should be kept in the database, since that contact might eventually take action to become reachable again, that’s not always the case. Sometimes a soft bounce should be treated as a hard bounce and deleted from your database.

So how can you tell the difference?

That’s where Motiva’s Dark Pool analysis comes in. Dark Pool refers to this group of mysterious contacts that may or may not have real people behind them.

It digs deeper into bouncebacks and other engagement signals to determine which contacts are worth trying to reach through a new strategy or a new channel, and which are just dead weight dragging down your metrics and inflating your costs.

Dark Pool will also show you what your REAL metrics look like without all that dead weight. In some cases, open and clickthroughs are 50% higher than reported.

dp-time-machineWe recently performed a free Dark Pool Spot Check with a customer and found that 27% of their database was unresponsive, meaning that in their use case, they had sent 9 million wasteful emails in one year. In addition, 6 million of their contacts hadn’t been emailed in the past 12 months but were still taking up space in their database. These issues lead to an increase in martech costs that cannot generate a return.

So far, the best we've seen during a spot check is a contact DB where only 12% of contacts were determined to be unreachable. The worst we've seen so far is a database with 75% unreachable contacts.

This is all just a long-winded way of saying that it’s likely that you don’t know your real metrics.

You don’t know how many of your sent emails have no chance of returning on the investment of time and money.

You don’t know if you’ve made strategic marketing mistakes based on inaccurate numbers.

And you’re almost certainly overpaying, if your MAP or CRM charges based on the number of contacts (real or fake) in your database.

Isn’t it time you found out?

Email has been a remarkably profitable channel for marketers. But we’ve noticed in recent years that the ROI is dropping. Estimates put email ROI at 42:1 in 2019, and is now about 36:1 according to Litmus.

While getting $36 back for every $1 spent is still great, part of this drop in profitability could be attributed to things like unnecessary database costs, wasteful sends, wasted productivity, mislabeled bouncebacks, and other data hygiene issues. You know, data cavities.

Want to improve your email ROI? Sign up for a free Dark Pool Spot Check today. We’ll separate fact from fiction, and show you what you’ve been missing.


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