As the privacy landscape continues to shift in favor of user privacy, inbox providers are updating their policies and terms of service agreements in efforts to provide more security and transparency to users. But email service platforms and deliverability providers are feeling the effects — and they are trickling down to email marketers who rely on third-party providers that provide inbox data.

By enforcing their terms of service and data use policies, Verizon Media will no longer allow bot-controlled inboxes to report data to providers.

Why we should care

Earlier this year, Google tightened its grip on third-party developers that were in violation of its policies and scraping data from Gmail inboxes. Traditional methods of aggregating panel data on message characteristics and campaign performance over time have changed; providers including ReturnPath and eDataSource developed AI-driven panel replicators in response to the changes and to continue delivering panel data to their customers. The trouble with this new panel data is that it mimics human interactions, rather than informing email marketers with real user data.

“If Verizon is making this move, it will lead to systemic changes for marketers, but it is unclear ultimately where this will land,” said Chris Adams, chief technology officer of eDataSource and architect of IntelliSeeds®. “Verizon Media could choose to allow access for deliverability companies to have insights into inbox placement from traditional seed and smart seed solutions. I do believe that inbox placement insights are crucial for marketers. They care about sending email that is valued by their recipients’ and they need insights to serve them well.”

Inbox providers (like Verizon) that are cracking down on bots and AI-driven solutions will need to collaborate with deliverability companies and email service providers to provide inbox insights. Without these insights, email marketers could be left in the dark.

“Companies like eDataSource have played a critical part in helping marketers follow best practices, and send mail that recipients want to read, even when it means sending less email to their subscribers,” said Adams. “If Verizon Media puts a blanket ban on inbox placement monitoring, which will impact all the players in the space, I suspect that Verizon Media may make this type of anonymized data available to deliverability companies and senders. “

More on the news

  • Google announced in mid-2017 that it would no longer scan Gmail users’ inboxes for ad targeting purposes.
  • Google announced plans to strengthen its security on third-party developers starting in early 2019.
  • It is unclear how other major inbox providers such as Microsoft will respond to the changes from Google and Verizon Media

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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.