The Times in the UK carried a story this week about how one of our major insurers will quote a higher amount for your car insurance if you provide a Hotmail address!
Motorists seeking cover from Admiral could be charged £31 extra if they use certain email addresses. The insurer said some domain names were “associated with more accidents” than others, raising applicants’ risk profile.
This shouldn’t be a big surprise to email marketers, who will know that address owners will behave in different ways depending on which mailbox provider (MBP) they use. There is plenty of research to validate this:
Of course, in an era of big data, where n=All for data analysis purposes, companies like Admiral don’t need to understand why their customers behave in these ways. It is enough simply to establish statistically valid relationships between variables. Identifying a relationship between Hotmail users and the likelihood to have more accidents, cancel early, and make fraudulent claims means business decisions can be taken using these insights.
But it’s still really interesting to understand the drivers (forgive the pun!) behind these different behaviors, so I dug a little deeper. This Google trends report shows that Gmail users (in blue) are indeed more likely to be city-centric (especially in London) while Hotmail users over-index outside of the major centers.
Using this data we can construct a few hypotheses:
So behind the attention grabbing headlines, there are some entirely plausible reasons why Hotmail users may get charged more for their car insurance. Email program owners should consider other ways they can leverage these insights. Restaurant customers may be more/less likely to select casual/upmarket venues depending on life stage. Travelers may be more likely to book airport parking depending on how far they have to drive. There are many dimensions to email optimization, and leveraging mailbox provider information to add more color to your customer profiles could result in meaningful performance uplifts!
Guy is a passionate advocate for intelligent use of customer data to drive responsive email programs. With a knowledge base that now spans nearly 15 years, he is a global e-mail expert and thought leader. Leading Return Path’s International Professional Services consulting team, Guy has worked with a broad range of clients across 5 continents to improve their email delivery, subscriber engagement and revenue generated. Outside of work, Guy is the Chairman of the DMA Email Council. In this role, he works with industry peers including brands, agencies, and service providers to promote the best interests of the email industry to a broader audience. He is also a regular contributor to the industry press.
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