Monday, March 27, 2017

What Email Marketers Need To Know About the Changes To Verizon Email Addresses

Chances are you’ve seen some recent news or heard rumors about Verizon email addresses going away. That is both true and false. Verizon is indeed discontinuing to provide new email addresses and shutting down their email platform in the near future. The existing addresses, however may continue to live on. The goal here is to outline the facts and provide direction for marketers on what to do with all the Verizon addresses in your list.

If you’ve been following basic best practices in managing your list quality, there may not be much (if anything) for you to do. That’s because Verizon has been slowly heading down this path for the past few years. Let’s start digging in by looking at the two things that can happen to all existing Verizon addresses -

  1. Deactivated and address completely goes away
  2. Keep the same address, but migrate to using AOL email client
Option 1 – The Facts

If a Verizon address on your list gets deactivated, it should hard bounce and be marked as undeliverable with future sends. Verizon seems to be spacing these deactivations out in batches with approximately a 30-day notice to its customers. So you won’t see all Verizon addresses disappear at once. Customers whose email accounts get deactivated may end up creating a new address at Gmail, Outlook, or elsewhere.

Option 2 – The Facts

Verizon is providing customers the option of keeping their existing address and simply mapping it to AOL, which became part of Verizon in 2015. So a customer would login to AOL, but still send and receive emails with their same email address. This has some deliverability implications.

All emails sent to these migrated recipients are now subject to AOL email filtering rules and reputation, as opposed to the previous Verizon filters. AOL is much more sophisticated than Verizon with spam filtering rules, sender reputation tracking, and a variety of mailbox management options that they provide to users.

To summarize the main takeaway point from both options above – it is likely that the number of addresses on your list will decrease, and any remaining portion may adhere to stricter spam filtering rules than before. This further stresses the importance of best practices such as explicit opt-in, targeting highly engaged segments, and sending timely and relevant messaging.

The official FAQ page by Verizon provides details for customers though none of this should come as a surprise to those who have been watching Verizon over past few years. Verizon’s market share on B2C email marketing lists has been declining steadily. That’s because they stopped providing new customers with email addresses in 2015. That same year, Verizon also began deactivating email accounts that have been inactive for over 180 days. Currently Verizon has less than 2.5 million “active” email accounts. 

Engagement Based Filters – The Recommendation

Subscriber engagement has been a best practice for several years now in managing email list quality. If you are regularly targeting opted-in segments with open or click activity within the past 180 days or less, chances are your deliverability is pretty stable. For instance, the deactivated Verizon addresses over past two years would fall outside the 180-day engagement criteria. Marketers who cast a wider net than 180 days may have had a different experience.

You may already be seeing an increased hard bounce rate at Verizon while these addresses continue to get deactivated. A hard bounce should be automatically marked as undeliverable by your ESP and never mailed to again. With this, many of the addresses will either fall outside your engagement filters and be opted-out, or they will be deactivated and “bounce out” of your list entirely.

Re-permission and Updated Profile – The Recommendation

As you think about ways to retain the remaining Verizon subscribers on your list, re-engagement and re-permission type of programs could play a key role. If you don’t already have these programs in place, now is a great time to work on implementing them for your entire program, not just the addresses. Oracle Marketing Cloud customers can search for more guidance on these topics at the Global Deliverability Group on the Oracle Customer Community.

Active subscribers who chose to leave the address before its expiration may have setup forwarding rules to their new email address at Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, etc. Even without forwarding, they may still be keeping an eye on their old Verizon mailbox until it expires. In the midst of migrating email accounts though, coming to your brand’s website and signing up for email offers may not be at the top of their To-Do list.

This is a perfect time to message those subscribers - ask them to update their profile, verify all contact information is accurate, and update their subscription preferences. I recently discussed the benefits or an email preference center and how it can help you retain and even grow your list.

This is another example where the preference center is a simple and painless way for subscribers to continue engaging with your brand. This type of proactive messaging is more likely to help you retain many of the active subscribers before Verizon’s email service goes away for good. 

Deliver the Goods

Modern Marketers must orchestrate and deliver marketing messages that are relevant to individual preferences and behavior. Getting email delivered to the inbox is critical to this process. 

Download Email Deliverability: Guide for Modern Marketers to find out how to achieve email deliverability that really delivers. 

from Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud