By John Landsman, Director of Strategy and Analytics

eDataSource’s tracking of emails from 55,000 brands allows us to see the extent to which each subscriber in an email marketer’s audience is being mailed by specific other brands.  This view tells us which other brands are competing against yours for attention in your audience’s inboxes.

The graph below shows the largest subscriber overlaps for one email marketer. The horizontal axis shows the overlap brands, and the vertical axis shows the overlap percentages for each.  The size of the various circles denotes the approximate relative size of each overlapped email audience.

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I’ve come to think of Overlap as among the most valuable types of insight our platform provides.  So, here’s a brief primer on how its implications can be actionable.

  • AMAZON:  This brand maintains a large and growing presence in the subscriber overlap of virtually every brand we track.  In the graph above, overlap with Amazon is (a not atypical) 59%; i.e., almost two-thirds of the tracked brand’s email subscribers are also receiving email from Amazon.  Implications?  In addition to being a likely competitor of most retailers (and many other commercial emailers), Amazon’s marketing emails are intelligent, targeted, optimized and perform well.  Whether you compete with Amazon or not, their emails set an implicit quality bar you need to meet or exceed within your own email base.  
  • PAYPAL:   This is another heavily overlapped brand — 39% in the above graph.  Implications?  Perhaps PayPal should be another tender type option (online or instore), if it’s not already.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA:  We’re seeing an increasing overlap presence of Pinterest, along with Twitter and Instagram.  In the above graph, Pinterest overlaps at 61%.  We believe that if more Facebook users were opted-in to receiving Facebook’s email alerts, Facebook’s overlaps in these charts might as big.  Implications?  These are primary customer acquisition sources and should be leveraged as such.  Social media can also help showcase product and it’s an important peer-to-peer promotional vehicle.   These are not email replacements within the purchase consideration process, but can provide very valuable “assists” in driving awareness, consideration and purchase.
  • RETAILERS: Many of these appear to varying degrees in every Overlap analysis.  The four strongest retail overlaps in the above graph are (again, not atypically) Groupon, Walmart, Zulily and Target.  Implications?    If you’re a retailer, these retail overlaps may be your primary competitors.  You should be paying close attention to the structure and content of their subject lines; the types, quantities, cadence and timing of the promotional mailings; their creative; the types of incentives or offers employed; the degree to which they may be targeted or personalized; and their read rate levels.  
  • REVIEW SITES:  These, like social media sites, are appearing more and more in our Overlap reporting.  Trip Advisor appears as a 20% overlap in the above graph, but we see Yelp almost as often.  Implications?  These are primary sources of customer feedback, much of which may also be shared to social sites.  If your customers are talking about you, you should be listening.


Taken together, Overlap data provide an ‘interest profile’ of your current customers, which can guide you, both in locating lookalikes for acquisition, and in tailoring your email content and promotional partnerships to reflect these customer interests.


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