PowerInbox Brings Content Recommendation To Email

PowerInbox picPowerInbox is bringing content recommendation engines to email via its RevenueStripe product. Think Outbrain meets LiveIntent.

Beta-launched last summer and brought to the general market in January, RevenueStripe is gaining traction. It now appears in 1.5 billion emails a month. It’s attracted 60 publishers, like Ziff Davis, Prime Publishing and Hearst, which inserts RevenueStripe into some of its marketing communications.

PowerInbox – which also offers publishers a technology that dynamically changes content in emails – is focusing on the sender side.

“It’s very hard to be solving problems for publishers at the same time you’re doing everything for the advertiser,” PowerInbox CEO Jeff Kupietzky said.

Plus, “We’ve found there’s unlimited demand on the advertiser side,” Kupietzky said. For demand, it plugs into other sources via OpenRTB specs.

PowerInbox takes a flat revenue share on every click. Like other content recommendation engines, it’s invested in creating technology that will surface the right content to the right user.

That’s not an easy task on email, where so many opens happen on mobile devices. Consequently, PowerInbox doesn’t rely on cookies. Instead, it uses a hashed email address to remember a user and tailor better content to that user over time.

It also looks at the context around an email open, like the device used or when the message is opened, in order to dynamically serve the best content recommendations.

PowerInbox believes placements within an email bring advertisers to a context where they may see better results. “Apple Mail or Gmail are closed systems today,” Kupietzky said. “But because users have email open, [advertisers] can serve third-party content where a user is spending time.”

Then there’s the targeting potential of advertising through email. Though not available now, Kupietzky knows the value of enabling a marketer to match email addresses and send targeted messaging to select users.

Hearst, which uses PowerInbox for its dynamic email product, signed up to use its RevenueStripe product too. The widget yields a $1 to $5 RPM. The goal is to make the marketing emails Hearst sends “self-funding,” said Charlie Swift, VP of strategy and marketing operations at Hearst Magazines.

But Hearst limits its advertising. Swift said he asks himself, “What’s the objective of the email, and would I mind if they are distracted by something else?”

Based on that criteria, Hearst restricts buyers that might be off-brand for a magazine, and doesn’t put content underneath an email with an important call to action, like a bill to renew a magazine.

Cooking and crafting publisher Prime Publishing last year added RevenueStripe to its newsletters, which go out to 6.5 million subscribers. Email drives a huge portion of traffic and revenue for the publisher.

The module is seeing strong performance for Prime Publishing Compared to DFP [DoubleClick for Publishers]-served ads in email and LiveIntent, RevenueStripe ads get click-through rates 80% higher, according to internal data. The CPMs exceed that of other placements, including direct sold ones.

Because content recommendation engines are already familiar real estate on websites, and most publishers run programmatic ads, adding RevenueStripe’s product to email isn’t much of a stretch. That made it an easier sell to Swift.

“I think of RevenueStripe no differently than programmatically buying ads on a display website,” he said. “It’s the same thing.”

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