Brick-and-mortar shops aren’t the only things that are overcrowded these days. While the countdown to Christmas is quickly winding down, many email marketers are consistently pumping out reminders to their subscribers and customers that their seasonal deals are ending soon. But an overflowing inbox can sometimes work against us.

Email is a top channel for holiday shoppers. New research from has found 84% of respondents said they turn to their inboxes to find deals. The research surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and sought to take a closer look at the most impactful email marketing tactics during this busy time for inboxes.

“As B2B and B2C marketers gear up for one of the busiest seasons of the year, email can be a powerful tool to raise visibility. Breaking through the holiday noise can be a challenge” said Jay Schwedelson, founder and creator of

Be relevant, stay consistent and personalize. More than half of respondents (58%) indicated brands offering relevant deals or coupons had a higher likelihood of converting. Half said that receiving relevant emails consistently creates a stronger feeling of connection to the brand, indicating that consistency does pay off — and should be maintained all year long in order to sustain your hard-earned connection with subscribers.

The impact of seasonal trends. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents indicated that they were most likely to open emails from brands during the holidays with content they are interested in seeing, including deals or discounts (84%), holiday-themed content, such as gifts and décor (43%) and gift ideas and inspiration (39%).

Single-chance sales and offers create more buzz. SubjectLine’s research indicated that while sales is a top tactic used by many brands and retailers this year, focus will be key to success. Single sales or individuals offers drive more interest than multiple sales and offers, with more than half (56%) of respondents agreeing that they are more likely to open emails featuring a limited-time sale or single-item coupons.

Why we should care. Fighting to stay relevant in the managed inbox is difficult enough throughout the year, and the holiday season is sure to amplify those challenges for email marketers across the board. If your brand is offering discounted offerings, be sure to frontload that information into your subject line. While 64% of respondents saying they are more likely to open brand emails during the holidays, 84% indicated they prefer discount-related content.

“For B2C marketers, focus on what you want consumers to react to the most, make sure calls-to-action and offers are clear in marketing assets,” said Schwedelson. “B2B marketers can also capitalize on captive audiences during the holidays. Q4 is a great time to send ‘look ahead’ emails with rich content like whitepapers that speak to strategies for the coming year. In fact, these look ahead email campaigns can increase conversion rates as much as 40% over other quarters.”  

More about the Managed Inbox

About The Author

Jennifer Videtta Cannon serves as Third Door Media’s Senior Editor, covering topics from email marketing and analytics to CRM and project management. With over a decade of organizational digital marketing experience, she has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.


A new survey of 1,000 U.S. adults discovered both concern and ignorance regarding online privacy and personal data protection. Conducted by Tealium, the survey found 97% of respondents are somewhat or very concerned about protecting their personal data.

Not paying close attention. By the same token, most consumers (62%) generally don’t read online terms or privacy policies. And nearly 70% of respondents had not heard of GDPR or CCPA. The 38% who say they do read online privacy policies is likely an “aspirational” finding, meaning many people are stating they read online terms when they in fact do not.

(Related: Think CCPA doesn’t apply to you? Think again.)

There were a number of other, seemingly contradictory data points in the survey, indicating consumer confusion or ambivalence about privacy.

Seeking strict privacy regulations, but open to deals. For example, 91% said they wanted government to “adopt strict regulations” to protect their data. However, 59% believed businesses were currently doing a “good job” handling their data; and 71% of people said total control over personal data isn’t possible. In addition, 43% said they would provide “detailed data about themselves to a retailer for a discount.”

These numbers, and similar data from other surveys, suggest that consumer privacy decision-making is highly contextual and situational. In other words, consumers are concerned about privacy in the abstract but will sacrifice it and make different choices based on the immediate context in front of them. That could be seen either as rational or arbitrary, depending on your perspective.

Making privacy easier to understand. The Tealium report contains lots of practical advice for brands and retailers about how to address privacy, as well as gain and maintain consumer trust. Accordingly the report says that nearly three-fourths (72%) of consumers would read privacy policies if they were shorter; 61% would read them if they were more “straightforward.” And 45% wanted to see examples of how their personal data was being used by brands.

Why we should care. The Tealium survey shows strong concern but also confusion about privacy. However, an earlier BritePool survey found that 87% of respondents would select a “Do Not Sell My Data” option if they encountered it on a website. When CCPA comes into effect in less than a month, we can assume lots of people will pursue it.

While this won’t affect first party data collection and use, publishers and brands still need to forcefully address privacy to build consumer trust and confidence. That will turn out to be a competitive advantage going forward.

More about CCPA and consumer privacy regulation

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He previously held leadership roles at LSA, The Kelsey Group and TechTV. Follow him Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.


The proliferation of digital, content-driven devices and channels (mobile, smart TVs, social media, etc.) have reinforced a notion that consumers prefer, even expect, personalized experiences. New research says this notion may be more complicated than that.

While global internet users find some types of personalization appealing, there’s no consensus on what tactic is most desirable. Further, in 2018, only 29% of users surveyed in the U.S. and Europe thought that providing more data to companies leads to better products and services, down from 31% in 2017.

Personalization is nuanced by how advertisers derive their tactics and how consumers can perceive them. As we learn more about if, how and why consumers want personalization in the context of data privacy, it’s our responsibility to listen and respond accordingly. 

Advertisers need data and analysis to learn about consumer personalization preferences., Inc. uses browsing and purchase behavior, in part, to power its product recommendation engine. A restaurant chain might use loyalty program data to improve promotional offers. Some brands use identity data to recognize consumers across touchpoints. 

With so many potentially relevant use-cases to collect and activate data, it’s imperative that a strong campaign objective precedes and informs any data strategy to help ensure only what’s necessary is collected.

The data and technology in our ecosystem give advertisers a lot of power that the industry would be wise to guard against mismanagement. A 2019 data security and privacy survey from RSA found the majority of U.S. and U.K. consumers fear losing control over their information. In addition to minimizing the data advertisers collect to be more purposeful, discerning participants in the adtech and martech industry will listen to consumer fears, preferences and trends. 

Research is beginning to identify an understanding gap between consumer perception of data and expectation of personalization. The industry would be well advised to educate and empower consumers and each other via clear privacy notices, transparency and consent options. 

Data, technology and advertising have become irreversibly intertwined and the adtech and martech ecosystem has a responsibility to practice ethical data governance, thoughtful usage of technology and relevant advertising as the pretext for personalization.

Soapbox is a special feature for marketers in our community to share their observations and opinions about our industry. You can submit your own here.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

David Dowhan is founder and CEO of TruSignal, a TransUnion company. TruSignal is expert at using offline data and predictive score marketing to fuel digital campaigns, partnering with data providers, media companies, DSPs and digital audience hubs to help power their custom, people-based lookalikes, consumer insight dashboards, and bid-price optimization strategies.


Two recent surveys sponsored by BritePool show a high level of consumer concern about privacy and, if given the option, that a majority would decline to allow online publishers to sell or transfer their personal information. CCPA, which takes effect on January 1, requires sites governed by the statute to include a prominent “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on their homepages.

Most would choose ‘Do Not Sell.’ In September, BritePool and the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations found, in a survey of 1,004 U.S. adults, that nearly 90% of respondents would select a “Do Not Sell” option if they encountered it on a website. The survey specifically asked the following:

“A number of new regulations have been proposed to help strengthen consumer online privacy. In the state of California, when consumers arrive at a new website, they will have the option to select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’. Would you select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’, or just go on to the website?”

  • I would select Do Not Sell My Personal Information” — 87%
  • I would just go on to the website — 8%
  • Don’t know — 6%

The September survey was a follow-up to an earlier more general survey about attitudes toward online privacy and personal data. Conducted in March with 1,513 U.S. respondents, that survey posed several questions about the sharing and sale of personal data:

 “I am unhappy that companies are profiting from my personal data.”

  • Strongly agree — 46%
  • Somewhat agree — 33%
  • Somewhat disagree — 11%
  • Strongly disagree — 5%
  • Don’t know — 5%

“I am concerned about companies selling my data to advertisers and other companies.”

  • Strongly agree — 47%
  • Somewhat agree — 35%
  • Somewhat disagree — 10%
  • Strongly disagree — 3%
  • Don’t know — 4%

“There is no good reason that a website should ever share my personal data.”

  • Strongly agree — 51%
  • Somewhat agree — 29%
  • Somewhat disagree — 12%
  • Strongly disagree — 4%
  • Don’t know — 4%

Consumers not happy about personal data sharing. Though some consumers have indicated they’re open to a value exchange. It’s worth noting that the March survey gave consumers the additional choice of giving their personal information in exchange for a reward. Roughly 1 in 5 consumers chose that option.

“A number of new regulations have been proposed to help strengthen consumer online privacy. In the State of California, when consumers arrive at a new website, they will have the option to select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’ or they can select ‘Reward Me for My Personal Information’. Would you select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’, ‘Reward Me for My Personal Information’, or just go on to the website?”

  • I would select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’ — 61%
  • I would select ‘Reward Me for My Personal Information’ — 21%
  • I would just go on to the website — 7%
  • Don’t know — 10%

Drilling into the responses by different age groups, younger consumers were more open to data sharing than older respondents. The people most receptive to sharing were those in the 18-34 age category, only 49% of whom said they would choose “Do Not Sell.”

Bob Perkins, COO of BritePool argues, based on these findings, that CCPA is actually going to have a bigger impact than GDPR. “You’ll see 3% to 4% decline in publisher revenue” because CPMs fall when targeting signals aren’t available. He also believes that as privacy laws develop across the U.S., “CCPA will be the floor not the ceiling” when it comes to rules around data collection and sharing.

Why we should care. The results of these surveys should be very concerning to publishers and martech providers. However, there is always a difference between attitudes and behavior. So the actual number of opt-outs could be less. But there are also encouraging results and data for those companies affirmatively embracing consumer privacy.

In addition, the findings about being rewarded suggest a meaningful percentage of consumers could be convinced to not opt-out in exchange for specific benefits. This echoes many other previous surveys that have similar findings.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He previously held leadership roles at LSA, The Kelsey Group and TechTV. Follow him Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.


There are an increasing number of surveys about data privacy — now coming almost weekly. These studies help gauge consumer sentiment but are typically fairly abstract. By contrast, privacy and data sharing are often highly situational.

Emerging privacy narrative. At the highest level, most of these recent surveys tell some version of the following story:

  • Consumer concern about data privacy is growing.
  • Consumers are now more engaged with online privacy, often changing settings or denying access to their data (e.g., location).
  • Consumers want more control over who can access/use their data.
  • Many consumers remain confused about how their data is used by marketers and brands.
  • Consumers (especially younger adults) are willing to share data under specific circumstances, when benefits are clear and they understand how it’s being used.

A new survey of 1,002 smartphone users in the U.S., commissioned by location intelligence provider Factual, reinforces this general narrative, with a few twists.

Generational differences. Among different generations, the Factual survey confirms the conventional wisdom that younger users are less privacy sensitive than older adults. Baby Boomers are the age group most concerned about privacy; Gen Z and Millennials are the “least concerned.” However, 53% of Gen Z and 51% of Millennials were either “somewhat” or “very” concerned about data privacy.

Concerns about data privacy by generation

Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.