Silverpop - Guest Expert: ReachDynamics’ Johnathan Barnes on Why Email Ads Are an Untapped Revenue Gold Mine
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Guest Expert: ReachDynamics’ Johnathan Barnes on Why Email Ads Are an Untapped Revenue Gold Mine

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by: Will Schnabel (@wschnabel)
03 October 2014

Marketers already know that email is a revenue-maximizing tool – so how can you take it even further? This month Johnathan Barnes, chief revenue officer and co-founder for Silverpop partner ReachDynamics, shares insights on how email ads can be a new source of revenue for many marketers.

Johnathan Barnes, Reach DynamicsDigital marketing technology has drastically improved in recent years, empowering organizations to think outside the box with their email program. Email has evolved from a tool for sending static, generic communications to a channel capable of helping marketers deliver dynamic, timely and highly personalized content.

Take advertisements in email, for example. Organizations that send emails are realizing their message content is valuable to advertisers, much like websites learned years ago through programs like AdSense. A decade after AdSense revolutionized the way websites generate revenue, the same opportunity is finally available to email senders.

How Is This Possible?

Advances in cookie-less tracking and email compliance monitoring have converged to allow companies who send newsletters and transactional email to profit from their message content. This creates an environment where advertisers can bid with confidence because the experience matches what they have been doing for years on the web. And according to Google DoubleClick data, readers of email content are five times more engaged than website viewers. This makes ad placements in email significantly more valuable.

Opportunities to Monetize

The key for email programs is to find opportunities where it makes sense to place ads. Below is a list of email message types that other organizations are choosing to monetize with advertising:

  • Transactional Email: Any message that is triggered by a user action is a great opportunity to monetize with ads. Transactional email has incredibly high open rates and is generally content or vertical-specific. Examples include e-receipts, welcome emails, and comment/response notifications.
  • CRM Messages: Newsletters, birthday greetings, and other CRM correspondence are typically highly engaging for users.

As you can see, there are typically more opportunities to monetize through ads than you thought. The next key is to figure out what type of advertising works best for your organization.

Advertising Options

When it comes to placing ads within your email content there are generally two options: 

  • 3rd Party Ad Placements: Make sure the network you work with can “negative target” against keywords and advertisers. You don’t want your emails to advertise for the competition! 
  • Ad Serving: Fully control what’s placed into your ad units by direct selling inventory or placing internal ads for cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Most ad servers are designed to work in Web or mobile environments. Make sure your ad serving technology provider has a solution that’s designed specifically for email.  

Email is a unique environment, but there are new and exciting technologies revolutionizing the space. Not all email is created equal. Make sure you do an assessment of your program and identify opportunities to add immediate revenue to your bottom line with advertising in your email inventory!    

ReachDynamics provides monetization solutions for email content, including an ad network called ReachAds and an ad server called ReachServe. You can reach Johnathan at

Related Resources:

1) Ebook: “15 Post-Purchase Emails That Build Loyalty and Drive Revenue

2) White Paper: “2014 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study

3) White Paper: “Revenue Attribution: How to Measure the Impact of Your Marketing Efforts


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