While a spate of recent acquisitions in the email martech sector indicates a growing demand for these technologies and services, the consolidation of different toolsets suggests vendors are starting to understand that email marketers need far more from their technology.
Last week, customer data solutions provider Validity announced plans to buy email marketing analytics and deliverability platform 250ok — the second email analytics acquisition by Validity in less than a year.
The company, which owns a number of customer data management tools, also acquired Return Path in May 2019, adding the cloud-based email deliverability platform to its suite of data products. And last October, email marketing platform SparkPost notably bought eDataSource in a push to combine email analytics, deliverability, reputation management solutions with sending, measurement and inbox reporting capabilities under its own umbrella.
We already know email marketers are balancing the traditional optimization work long associated with the discipline with deliverability, which usually requires martech platforms to help solve. You can see how we’ve already broken that apart in our Periodic Table of Email Optimization and Deliverability. But these acquisitions are creating technology suites that bridge the divide.
Meeting the need
Validity’s takeover of 250ok is interesting because email marketers need better inbox insights in order to keep up in the complex, ever-changing email ecosystem. But email service providers (ESPs) don’t always provide the depth of insights needed. That’s why marketers often turn to third-party analytics and deliverability systems (250ok, eDataSource, Return Path) to get a better understanding of inbox placement and engagement.
“Consolidation in the email optimization market has been notable, affecting agencies, technology tools and deliverability vendors,” said Ben Bloom, senior director analyst at Gartner for Marketing. “This most recent move, with Validity adding 250ok to a portfolio that already includes Return Path and BriteVerify, indicates the increasingly technical nature of email deliverability and the rising adoption of standards such as DMARC, DKIM, and SPF by mailbox providers.”
That’s exactly what SparkPost did with its purchase of eDataSource.
“Deeply integrating sending and analytics will provide richer insights and new capabilities like automatic seeding, accurate weighting of inbox placement and blacklist impact based on actual sending patterns,” said SparkPost CEO Rich Harris at the time of the deal’s announcement.
SparkPost said the addition created a suite that lets us create, send and measure email performance and inbox placement, but the reality is the consolidation of analytics and deliverability also positions marketers to be more proactive about monitoring deliverability to understand how inboxes providers — i.e., Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook — interpret, classify and filter emails with dynamic machine learning algorithms. Leveraging these tools will help senders improve their relationships — and sender reputations — with inbox providers by using the new insights the tools generate.