Gmail Image Caching

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

On Friday December 6, 2013, it was reported that Google had made some changes to the Gmail infrastructure.  Apparently, starting on December 3rd, images are being served via a proxy for Gmail users.  This means that Gmail now saves image files from unique URLs temporarily and changes these URLs in emails so that they point to the cached images.  The user’s browser then loads and displays Gmail’s cached images.  This can cause problems for a number of reasons.  When Gmail loads images into the cache, the user’s device and geo information gets lost.  An open will now originate from a Mountain View, California with an IP address similar to 66.249.93.70.  And the user agent, which normally holds the user’s device information, will now look like ‘Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; de; rv:1.9.0.7) Gecko/2009021910 Firefox/3.0.7 (via ggpht.com)’.
This is not affecting Listrak open counts.  Since we do not track multiple opens, this change will not affect open rates for our clients.  The initial open is captured via our tracking pixel and clients can continue to rely on the reported open information they are seeing in the application.  Obviously the geo-location data will be incorrect as Gmail users will now appear to reside in Google’s datacenter.  Furthermore, this will also create an issue with data such as “Activity by Email Client” within Listrak as the reported user agent from Gmail will always be the same.  It should be noted that this does not appear to be affecting POP or IMAP mail clients, only web based Gmail users and perhaps the Gmail phone app (research is ongoing).  Testing was done with Apple’s iPhone email client and no caching was detected.   Changes to images after a send will also be affected.  From our testing, it appears Google will cache the images for 24 hours, however it is still a little early to tell if this will always be the case.
The important points to remember:
•  This is an industry-wide issue which is not isolated to the Listrak platform.
•  This does not affect tracking of the first email open as the cache fetches the image from the sender.
•  This does affect tracking if someone opens an email more than once as the email client is pulling images from the Google cache.
•  This does affect geo-location detection as Google is not providing any information about where the open happened, only their datacenter IP.
•  This does affect user agent detection as Google is not providing any information about the original user agent string.
•  This does affect device detection as most of that is done by detecting the user agent.
Clients sending emails based on device, time or location information, will most likely be impacted by this change when sending to Gmail recipients.  The team at Listrak is aware of the change and is actively testing the impact and looking at all options on our end.  Right now there does not seem to be any way to bypass the image caching.

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Listrak to present Retail Email Marketing Bootcamp at MarketingSherpa Email Summit

Thursday, December 05, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Want to make the most out of your trip to MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014? Join Listrak for a full-day Retail Email Marketing Bootcamp.
In this first-ever, intensive educational forum, you will learn how to build strategic email campaigns that will enhance the customer journey and drive sales and incremental ROI. Listrak CEO Ross Kramer and Listrak email marketing strategists will share valuable insights and provide actionable tactics for email acquisition, remarketing to recoup revenue, connecting with mobile shoppers and lifecycle marketing, as well as answer all of your questions in an interactive open forum. 
Seating is extremely limited, so reserve your spot today. 

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Coming Into Force June 2014

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

James Koons
Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, CASL, is now a done deal.

Last Thursday, the Treasury Board of Canada President (and champion of CASL) Tony Clement approved Industry Canada’s regulations in their finalized form. These will be published in The Canada Gazette December 18, 2013.

Today, Canadian Minister of Industry the Honourable James Moore announced CASL will come into force in June, 2014.

Bringing CASL into being has been an arduous, but meticulously thorough consultative process. Beginning in May 2004 with the Federal Task Force on Spam, The Government of Canada, with input from hundreds of stakeholders with an interest in safe and responsible online messaging have worked tirelessly to develop and deploy the world’s most stringent and comprehensive anti-spam law.

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Clever Cyber Monday Email

Monday, December 02, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Travis Buck
Cyber Monday is officially upon us. As I navigated my crowded inbox this morning one email in particular stood out. This email from J.Crew grabbed my attention because of its clever subject line and message. The subject line reads “Even your boss is shopping today”. This message speaks to the taboo activity of shopping while at work. The model in the email is even winking which to me subliminally says “its ok, no one will know”. By some estimates 49% of workers are expected to shop online while in the office this holiday season. This makes the message you communicate as well as the timing of the email even more important during the holiday season.

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Black Friday Email Creative

Monday, December 02, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments


Travis Buck


When I logged into my inbox Friday I expected to see a lot of black and I wasn’t disappointed. Black is naturally the go to color for Black Friday creative. However, when everyone is using black, how do you make your creative stand out in the crowd? Let’s take a look at some examples that did just that.

First let’s look at some examples that get lost in the sea of black. These examples from Staples and Fab are representative of the average Black Friday email creative. Not bad by most standards but they don’t exactly stand out.








This example from American Apparel uses black. However, they’ve created an eye catching contrast by using black elements on a light background. By using plenty of whitespace they’re able to really make the bold text and image stand out.





J.Crew uses a splash of red to create high contrast. The use of a bright red sweater in this example really makes it pop. I also find it interesting there’s no mention of “Black Friday”. Instead they call it “The gifts, gifts, gifts! Event”.





Coldwater Creek chose to use black as an accent color. It still references Black Friday and uses the color black but red is the featured color here. All that red combined with black and green accents give the email a nice seasonal feel.





Tiger Direct used an animated ticker in their creative. Animation is a good way to draw attention. In this case it also helps emphasize the limited amount of time you have to take advantage of the sale.





Another way to stand out is to avoid using black at all. This email from Nordstrom is full of bright colors which help it stand out. Barring the dotted border they completely avoided using black. They could have used black for the text “BLACK FRIDAY” but instead chose gray.








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