How Do You Stack up Against Your Competitors with Shared Customers?

Posted by Sean Wirt 

In post one of a four part series dedicated to Inbox Insight, My colleague, Martin Tatom, discussed the best way to subject line test with Inbox Insight in the blog entitled, “Looking for Subject Lines that Stand Out? Use Inbox Insight.” In post two, Martin looked into determining the best day to send your campaigns in the blog titled “Weekdays, Weekends, Hump Day? What is The Best Day to Send?”  In this post, we will dive into the Subscribe Overlap feature of Inbox Insight. 

As a quick reminder, what is Inbox Insight?

Inbox Insight is Return Path’s competitive intelligence tool that allows you to increase subscriber engagement through competitive insights while also having the visibility into engagement data from  real email users from Return Path’s “Consumer Network.” The Consumer Network consists of over 2 million email subscribers who voluntarily agree to exchange their email data in return for services, for example Shopami. With the data we collect from the Consumer Network and the sending domain of any company, you are now able to see engagement data in the product.

Inbox Insight is the perfect complement to data you already have internally and an additional tool to use when making decisions about your email campaigns.

Subscriber overlap
As a marketer you are, most likely, keeping a watchful eye on what your competitors are doing. You’ve probably even signed up to receive their emails. However, aside from seeing what your competitors are sending to you, it’s difficult to see what your customers might be receiving from these competitors or how your metrics compare. This is where subscriber overlap comes in. One of the benefits of Return Path’s Consumer Network is the ability to look at subscriber overlap across two competitors. Inbox Insight users can choose to compare the overlap between their subscribers and a competitor’s subscribers or they could compare the overlap of subscribers between two competitors. So, let’s take a look at subscriber overlap and the data that’s available.

Subscriber Information
Users can easily see a variety of information about the subscriber overlap, including:
• A comparison of list sizes
• Percentage of user’s subscribers who also subscribe to the competitor
• A comparison of read rates between the user’s campaigns and the competitor’s campaigns
• Recent campaigns received by the overlap audience, including campaign dates, subject lines, the percentage of the list the campaigns were sent to, and the average percentage of read email for those campaigns.

To start viewing subscriber overlaps, users should use the two drop‐down boxes to choose the companies that they would like to compare. If the desired competitor isn’t in the list, each drop‐down includes a link to Add/Manage Competitors. When users choose two competitors, the page will refresh to display overlap data.

Subscriber overlap summary
The summary gives users a quick look at important information about the subscriber overlap. Users can see specific data about the overlap of subscribers and a comparison of the read rates between the two campaigns. There’s also a venn diagram that gives a visual representation of the campaigns from the two companies, including their list size and the amount of overlap in subscribers.


As you can see in the above example, “Your Campaigns” have a much higher read rate than “Competitor 1” which can be reassuring. If the figures were reversed, you would then know that you have some work to do and could begin to focus your efforts on increasing those read rates.

Recent campaigns received by overlap audience
Details for the user and competitors will appear in tables below the summary. Each table shows the dates, the subject lines for recent campaigns, the percentage of the list the campaigns were sent to, and the average percentage of read email for those campaigns.


Want to see if you are standing out in the inbox and take advantage of all the competitive insights Inbox Insight provides? Current Inbox Insight customers already have access to these features so login and take them for a spin or contact your Account Manager for more details. Not currently utilizing Inbox Insight to optimize your campaigns and increase your ROI? Reach out you to your Account Manager or Contact Return Path.

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About Sean Wirt

Sean Wirt is an Innovation Strategist at Return Path responsible for helping to bring new products to our clients. He has over 15 years’ experience in the email space starting at Aol and then working for StrongView (now Selligent) before joining Return Path in 2015. Outside of work, you can find Sean spending time with his family, watching a Carolina Panthers game or enjoying a craft beer at one of Charlotte’s many new breweries. Connect with him on Twitter @seanwirt.

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