My fifth and final review in the Email Service Provider Round-up was ExactTarget. ExactTarget was named a “Market Leader” by the Jupiter report for Top ESP 4th quarter 2007 and they hold mind share within the Email Service Provider industry.
ExactTarget’s UI had a modern, easy to use design. It attempts to model the design after MS office so the features are easily found. The homepage has a dashboard of active and recent campaigns as well as notification of feature updates and news from ExactTarget. Creating a campaign from start to finish was a very easy process even when adding advanced setup such as template creation or custom html campaigns. The workflow for creating a new campaign forces you to evaluate any SPAM notices before the campaign can begin.
The Bad: It did not have a set of Test emails that you could store within the system. Each test email address had to be manually entered.
Part of my review was to send the same email campaign using each ESP that was in the round-up to determine what the baseline deliverability rates for each ESP.
Results of the ExactTarget test email campaign:
- Number of emails sent: 199
- delivered: 176
- Hard Bounces: 13
- Soft Bounces: 9
- Unique Opens: 17 (10% open rate)
ExactTarget has a dedicated deliverability team and are dedicated to heading off any ISP issues in real time.
Why was ExactTarget’s Open rate lower then Listrak? One possibility that was presented is that a larger segment of email addresses happened to have image suppression enabled. They also argued that the better metric to study would be click through rates as click-through actually measure customer engagement.
In my Email Service Provider review, ExactTarget was the better choice. Long term, they are going to have better deliverability rates because they are the industry leading mid level ESP. They have scale, a robust feature set, a better API, and a much larger pool of resources. They are also a leading SaaS (software as a service) company so they will continue to expand their product offerings.
Check them out ExactTarget- Email Service Provider and let me know your thoughts and personal experience with them.