Meredith Improves Email Deliverability, Sending Reputation, and Inbox Placement for 33+ Brands
Meredith Corporation has been committed to service journalism for 117 years. Meredith uses multiple distribution platforms — including broadcast television, print, digital, mobile, and video — to provide consumers with content they desire and to deliver the messages of its advertising and marketing partners. Meredith’s National Media Group reaches more than 185 million unduplicated American consumers every month, including over 90 percent of US millennial women. Meredith is the number one magazine operator in the US and owner of the largest premium content digital network for American consumers.
Email marketing efforts at Meredith focus on leveraging data and delivering relevant content to their audience, which includes print and digital magazine subscribers as well as website users. They have worked with Cheetah Digital since 2015.
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In 2015, team members at Meredith saw a drop in open rates to inboxes. Upon further examination, they discovered deliverability issues, particularly with Gmail subscribers. Emails were being sent but not delivered to inboxes, and Meredith’s sending reputation at Gmail was damaged. Changes to Gmail’s algorithms that year meant that Meredith had to change its sending practices — and do it quickly.
The Meredith team worked with Cheetah Digital’s deliverability team, as well as external partner Return Path, to assess the damage and make a plan of action to improve deliverability. Email lists were verified to ensure that domains were valid. Segmentation for contacts was updated to modify the amount of time that an inactive subscriber remains on the list.
When onboarding new brands, IP addresses had to be warmed in order to establish a favorable reputation. The Meredith team and Cheetah Digital deliverability team worked together to build a plan around sending speed and volume so that throttling or blocking was not an issue.
The Meredith team made strategic decisions around content, such as increasing the number of newsletters sent and decreasing the frequency of strictly sales emails. Data showed that newsletter-style emails had higher engagement than other types of content, so the team at Meredith focused their attention on those types of emails.
Products used: Cheetah Messaging & Cheetah Engagement Data Platform
Services used: Strategic Services Engagement & Deliverability Services Engagement
Meredith successfully warmed over 30 IP addresses and domains while maintaining excellent inbox placement and sending reputation for more than 33 brands. Among all Meredith domains, average inbox placement has exceeded 95% over the past 18 months, and 97% of its sending domains have a strong reputation at Gmail. If a problem occurs, the team at Meredith can take action swiftly as the deliverability rate, subscriber engagement, and opt-out rates are all closely monitored.
In 2017, when Meredith acquired TIME Inc.’s legacy brands, the email marketing strategy put into place proved to be invaluable. Because the team at Meredith had done its due diligence in documenting its practices around subscriber lifecycles, it was much easier to establish rules and cadences for the incoming brands.
The team at Meredith relies on data to drive decision making — team members review some metrics daily, some weekly, and others monthly. Meredith has made a conscious effort to establish up-front selection criteria with its subscribers, creating higher levels of engagement with smaller, more targeted groups of email subscribers by using advanced preference center choices. This engagement is what drives positive reputations with email service providers like Gmail, and ensures that it is delivering the right emails at the right time to the right subscribers.
- Successfully warmed over 30 IP addresses and domains while maintaining excellent inbox placement and sending reputation for more than 33 brands
- Average inbox placement has exceeded 95%
- 97% of their sending domains have a high reputation at Gmail
The team is also looking at the number of brands that a subscriber interacts with on a regular basis, and implemented recommendations to suggest targeted email content across brands. For example, a subscriber might read InStyle, but then branch out to Martha Stewart Weddings, and then Parents as his or her interests change.