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Database Marketing is published monthly by

55 North Ltd, Waterloo Chambers, 19 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6AY.

Database Marketing is distributed free to qualifying readers. For details on sample copies or subscriptions, visit

ISSN: 1465-2900

Copyright 55 North Ltd 2011. All rights reserved.


Since the birth of the internet, industry commentators have been extolling the virtues of the ability to track online visitors in ever increasing detail, with a view to gaining valuable insights into visitors’ browsing behaviour and subsequently turning this into actionable data.

Why is it then that some 15 years later the

process of gathering internet data and harnessing it into a Single Customer View for use by marketers is still being seen as a “fearsome challenge”? (‘Harnessing the power of web data’, Database Marketing, October 2011.) The difficulty is primarily born from the fact that web analytics systems – the go-to systems for acquiring web data – simply not being primarily designed to deliver detailed data to the level of the individual. Instead, they deliver aggregate, trending information to help marketers understand the behaviour of the masses, not individuals.

For example, if we wish to understand which campaigns sent 100,000 people to the website in the last hour and what products were subsequently searched for, then web analytics systems are absolutely ideal and deliver all the

insight you need. However, if we want to know WHO the visitor was, how often they had visited before, precisely which campaigns sparked a response and which products they had viewed previously, then these questions probably represent what was meant by the “fearsome” in James Lawson’s article article in last month’s magazine.

In a nutshell, web analytics systems simply do not focus on the individual, so they find it impossible to knit these events together and make them available in any structured fashion. This is the major contributory factor to the lack of integration of web data into the Single Customer View that so many organisations covet today.

Such data collection and use need not be “fearsome”, if the right technology is used, but the conversation does need to shift from which web analytics product is better to how to gather and warehouse individual-level digital data – and the sooner the better!

Simon Burton, Managing Director, Celebrus Technologies


With the first anniversary of Facebook email being marked this month – November 15 – it may come as something of a surprise to many marketers that analysis carried out by Emailvision has revealed that only 0.0015% of all addresses in use for permission email are And that’s from a very significant sample size of more than three million. Billed by TechCrunch as the Gmail killer, it seems to be an inescapable fact that Facebook email has been something of a flop. With the volume of email representing such a tiny fraction of all emails, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion. The Facebook tools to read, review, sort, filter, organise and follow up on email are non-existent. Even the default view for reading email is not great, formatting is removed from text and images are stripped.

Not only that, with the major email clients 8 November 2011

developing rapidly and connecting to social networks I don’t expect to see the number of email addresses increasing any time soon.

At the time of the Facebook email announcement there was concern amongst the marketing community about the potential impact on email marketing. In fact, the bigger threat to brand emails has

come from the major inbox providers introducing intelligent inbox features, which automatically sort and filter emails to reflect what is most likely to be important to the reader rather than emails being listed in the traditional chronological view. The move to intelligent inboxes is driving a need for email marketers to ensure their communications are relevant.

Tim Watson, UK Operations Director at Emailvision

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