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FAQs

Our database is a proprietary, white-labeled aggregate of various sources.  We start with an aggregate set of data, derived from our data partner relationships with over 2500 partnering sites and networks that help us produce the premier list of best performing responders. This results in a file containing hundreds of millions of records (both postal and email), each overlaid with additional data feeds, to enrich our offering—whose goal is to provide it at the best possible rate.

The database is updated every 30-days, at which point the ANA (ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL ADVERTISERS) Suppression file is applied.  All opt-outs are processed/removed from the file in <72 hours.  All wireless domains are automatically suppressed.

We mail to some segment of this list on a daily basis. This figures into our list hygiene by continuously removing bounces and unsubscribes while gathering forwards and additional response information.

Since we have so many unique sources, our file is very representative of the US population.  The database has penetration in all age, income & interest segments.

This metric varies often, and is a living, breathing quantity. However, the break-out below should provide a general understanding of the file’s make-up by email address usage:

1

gmail.com

12.74%

2

yahoo.com

12.34%

3

hotmail.com

11.03%

4

Outlook.com

11.02%

5

aol.com

10.20%

6

msn.com

10.09%

7

cox.net

9.25%

8

verizon.net

9.02%

9

facebook.com

8.35%

10

other

5.96%

Total

100.00%

Every welcome email will have an unsubscribe link.  This link will give the recipient the opportunity to decline receiving future email marketing from you.  When a customer confirms their email address, a confirmation page will be displayed.  Anyone who opts out of the Database is removed from all emarketing products within 72 hours.

Yes. All records are date/time-stamped upon moment of opt-in submission.

Anyone who replies to any of our broadcasts will be given a bounce message, letting them know that their message was not received. We do not accept incoming emails at our from addresses. 
If replies to mass email deployments are necessary for a campaign, we suggest including a mailto: link in their creative with instructions to press that link to reply.

We have over 150 selects available. Please see the attached sheet for additional information.

What is your average open rate and click through rate?
We typically see between 10-15% opens and 1-3% CTR.

It’s been said in the industry that, generally speaking, a good unsubscribe rate should be at or lower than 1%, which is an industry norm.

An exception to this is when you send your email to new lists because these tend to generate a higher unsubscribe rate than former emailed lists.
Unik’s unsubscribe rate tends to be lower still – between 0.55% – 0.89% – due to our segmentation process / audience select protocol, which reduces the number of message a typical subscriber will receive; the relevance of the messaging and our ongoing data enhancements and multiple source installs, which offset any loss in subscribers due to standard “wear and tear” on the database.

Unik defines Lead Nurturing as a process of building and enhancing a relationship with our subscribers, in an effort to usher them through the sales funnel.
We employ a three-step process to nurture our database. 
1. Relevance – Only by providing our subscribers with the right information at the right time will we be able to retain our high degree of subscriber retention. That means we must choose our third-party solicitations with care, trying to ensure that our subscribers receive only those messages from our client-partners that are of interest to them. We do this through a good, standard audience select process. This entails choosing our clients’ recipients through understanding our clients’ goals; e.g., targeting audience by age, income and GEO are standard, but if we can further refine the audience by additional selects or behaviors 9subce as college attendance) we are able to maintain better data integrity and engagement.

2. Creative Analysis – With the understanding that our client-partners may have engaged a creative agency for creative development of their message, Unik likes to review the creative for consistency and efficiency of messaging. Each email should be focused around a single subject and include a call to action. We recommend not diluting the message with multiple calls-to-action or extraneous information.

3. Measurement – It is Unik’s philosophy that testing is vital to fine tuning campaigns. Opens and CTR are the most important metrics to track on a regular basis. We typically see between 10-15% opens and 1-3% CTR. If a campaign is realizing lower than anticipated response, we recommend reviewing the creative and audience, and may suggest testing any number of new strategies such as revising creative and/or content, switching-up subject lines, or playing with the TOD (time-of-day) or day of week a campaign is deployed.

  • Unik Advertising’s ISP relationships are managed by a number of individuals. 
  • ISP relationship manager interacts directly with the ISP, filling out the proper forms, providing IP addresses etc.
  • This all happens “behind the scenes” and our clients have only benefitted by Unik Advertising’s excellent ISP relationships because messages are more likely to arrive at their destination unhindered.
  • Send rate: as few as 3,500 per hour per server but never more than 20,000 messages per hour per server
  • Send-rate maintains positive relationships with ISPs.  (A higher number of messages delivered per hour may flag the sender as a spammer).

Additionally, we use separate platforms and IP’s to send tests and live seeds vs the platform used when deploying the campaign. When we deploy the campaign, we’re using IP addresses that have been verified as having a reputation in the green to get the best deliverability possible.

If you’re white-listed, why do your emails go into your recipients’ spam folders?

  • From a marketer’s perspective:

Every recipient server is different and may apply different spam filtering criteria for the messages being received. In most cases, recipient servers don’t provide any information about spam filtering to the sender of an email that was filtered. It would give too much information to spammers who would use that data to get around spam filters.

Spam filters are constantly changing to adapt to new techniques and types of spam messages, so what lands in the inbox today could be spam filtered tomorrow. There are some things you can do to help ensure your emails are being delivered to the inbox.

Most of the major email providers, including Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail, and Gmail, use engagement-based filtering to help detect spam. This means that the more your recipients interact with your emails by opening, clicking, and reading, the more highly engaged your audience is, and the more likely you’ll end up in their inboxes. If a lot of users are marking a message as spam, it’s more likely to end up in other people’s spam folders. If you’ve moved emails out of the spam folder, that’s a positive indicator and can help ensure future emails that are similar are delivered to the inbox instead.

Additionally, when testing campaigns, it’s not uncommon to send several tests to the same recipient in a short amount of time – which can hamper that testing IP’s reputation with some mailing platforms. This can also affect your test’s arrival in a Spam Folder. We do these tests to ensure the campaigns are correct so that we can actually get the best delivery rate possible using the “green” IPs come deployment time, but the tests may consistently arrive as Junk as a result.

  • From a recipient’s perspective:

If, for example, you’re a marketer and your email tests are going to your spam folder, that doesn’t necessarily mean your intended recipients will receive it in their spam folders once the program is live. Usually, for an opt in list, recipients’ emails will end up in their inboxes. 
That said, there are still some things you can do to ensure your own tests end up in your inbox:

  • To prevent future emails from the same sender from going to the Spam folder automatically, you need to mark the email as “Not Spam.” … Navigate to Yahoo Mail, log in to your Yahoo account and click the “Spam” folder. Junk emails are stored in this folder.
  • You may need to check your filters if your messages are being sent to your Trash folder. Incoming emails can be mistakenly directed to your Yahoo Mail Trash folder as a result of incorrectly configured filters or settings in the email application you’re using to access your account. Mouse over the Settings Menu icon.

As far as delivery goes, aside from our reputable “green” IP’s, our double opt-in system requires a recipient to confirm email verification by opening the email from us, clicking a verify button which brings them to a site where they will have to verify again by typing their email address.  
This practice results in increasing the chance it will hit the inbox as the email address has already corresponded/interacted with our systems & IP’s. Practicing this method increases our delivery, thus open rates dramatically.
Additional common techniques for staying out of the spam folder:

  • We send only qualified offers from Fortune clients (no questionable offers/adult/alcohol/gambling or sweepstakes)
  • We send from only Green lit rotating block of ips with excellent ip reputations
  • We have constant communications with Tier 1 ISP’s to let them know traffic flow and offers (Again only premium offers/clients)
  • We do not send on any of our 256 rotating ips more than 20K per hour (most cases is under 5K emails for maximum delivery)
  • We follow all Can Spam Act guidelines which has the following: Friendly From line (nothing misleading) , Subject Line, Opt-out both electronic and physical address
  • We rebuild file every 30 days (ECOA) to make sure we have the highest deliverability possible
  • We spam score to ensure delivery to inbox

What is your protocol when images don’t load because a server is down?

While images that don’t load due to a server issue is uncommon for us, server downage is a common, daily occurrence. Network outages often occur based on location. Some of the biggest companies in the world that rely on their internet service – such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, Comcast and Outlook –experience server downage daily.  
While this is not an issue for which Unik can be held responsible, we do take steps to minimize its effect when it does occur. These include:

  1. Use of Multiple Servers:
  • Our deployment platforms use load balancers and multiple servers
  • When using multiple servers, it is possible to balance the load of an influx asset-calls across those servers. (“Asset calls” is how we term the process by which an email calls out to a server to provide its content, such as an image.) A spike in asset calls can quickly take a single server up to its capacity and cause the asset appearance to take too long or even become unavailable. We maintain an email’s integrity by spreading the resources over multiple servers.
  • The ideal scenario is for a server to be as physically close as possible to the customer or end user. We have found it worthwhile to utilize servers across the US to ensure all customers get the most efficient experience when receiving email and to minimize any service interruptions across the entirety of a campaign.
  1. Creative Solutions

Going forward, Unik recommends adding these “fail-safes” to the GEICO creative in case, in the unlikely event, this situation arises again:

  • Alt Text: One of the easiest things you can do to combat image blocking is to add Alt text to your images. Alt text is simply the text that is displayed by the email client instead of your image when images are blocked. Using alt text is helpful because it can tell your subscriber what the image is in order to give them context and compel him or her to display the images
  • Background images don’t show up on certain email clients: Always use a solid background color as a backup.

Servers can be unreachable for any number of reasons, including the following:

  • Misconfiguration at the network level (wrong IP, subnet mask, gateway, network protocols issues, …). In this case the server can be accessed remotely via a KVMIP / IPMI or from another local server (if available) for troubleshooting purposes
  • Firewall blocking the traffic (in and/or out): This can be configured at different levels. In this case the server can be accessed remotely via a KVMIP / IPMI or from an other local server (if available) for troubleshooting purposes
  • Issues at the upper levels (Application level, …): The service level (Example Apache/Nginx for Web servers, Mysql/Postgresql for database servers, etc) is not started/crashed/misconfigured/etc. The application level (The content cannot be delivered to the visitor) for misconfiguration/Lack of resources/etc.
  • Issues caused by DoS (Denial of Service)/DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks which can impact the server availability at different levels based on the type of the attacks (volumetric/application level attacks/etc.)
  • Issues triggered by the provider/or his partners by blocking/null-routing the traffic (in/out) for security reasons (spam, blacklist, …)

We cannot determine why the server(s) go down. A power cut to a data center, technical issues in the data center and human error are all things that can take a server, and therefore content, offline. The quickest way to return to business as usual is if there is a ready version of the same content hosted at a different location and, that version can receive all traffic.

When data files are exchanged, or when data are collected through self-reported surveys, it is inevitable that some records drawn from these pools will have erroneous or anomalous information in them. This means while we can be quite granular with your target audience, it is possible that some records outside of your target scope may be contacted with your message.

While Unik takes every reasonable precaution to limit the instances of these anomalies, some do happen.

Industry averages for “anomalous observance rate” or “anomalous event rate” are approximately 1.5% depending on any number of factors.

Unik has a lower AOR / AER between 0.85% – 1.1%, which we maintain through data comparisons, overlays and proper list hygiene.

Unik Adv is introducing an enhancement feature to its email deployments designed to increase performance and optimize your campaigns’ ROI: E-Squared (E²). E² is a new product matches the power of email marketing with the ubiquity of digital marketing in a combination that enhances your campaigns with higher click rates and increased site visits. Simply, we overlay digital marketing elements like display and text links to drive the additional traffic beyond what you would see through standard email marketing.
The primary benefit of “audience buying” is that it allows advertisers to reach an individual at the moment they are browsing related web content. Audience buying shifts away from using content as a proxy and instead allows advertisers to directly buy audience segments based on a broad range of historical data attributable to IP address.
These impressions were set to appear on any of the sites in our partnering networks and not a specific publisher or site. 
For example, a text link may appear as an ad on a blog or website that links out to a specific page on another site. Samples of common text link ads are Google AdSense and Kontera. 
E² offers a higher number of clicks, increasing your click through rates and web traffic. We find that E² gives your marketing the opportunity for greater exposure beyond email, promoting success, even if with email messages that don’t perform well due to low impact creatives. E² allows for mailers like us to maintain our data hygiene by eliminating the practice of “over mailing,” which by extension, keeps our clients and their reputations pristine.
All digital marketing-based clicks match the geographic and demographic targets as the email campaign.

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