Liquid Fundamentals

Alex Patton

Just got here? This module is part of a full-length Liquid tutorial. Start from the beginning.  

Now that you’ve met the three components of Liquid—keys, filters, and tags—let’s explore how they relate to each other. Depending on the result you want, you might use just a key; a key and a filter; or a key, a filter, and a tag. (You can even use multiple keys, filters, and tags all together; we’ll get into that in the intermediate and advanced sections.) This module will use basic examples to show you how each piece works with the others. 


Up Next: Liquid Fundamentals – Keys

How Liquid Works

Alex Patton

Liquid has three primary “pieces”—keys, filters, and tags—and these components work together to determine what dynamic content is displayed and how it looks. 

The actual Liquid code is kind of like a placeholder—it determines what data (aka, values) to pull in and “fill in the blank” with the output you want when the email is delivered to the customer. 

Here’s a snapshot of the three components of Liquid and how they interact with each other: 

You can use a key to reference a value, like this:

Hi {{ name }},

The output is the value that the key points to; it looks like this:

Hi lee,

You can use filters to modify the output, such as making sure the name is capitalized:

Hi {{ name | capitalize }},

Here’s the output now:

Hi Lee,

Finally, you can use tags to insert programming logic. For example, you could use a personalized greeting when you know the customer’s name and a generic greeting when you don’t, like this: 

{% if name != blank %}
Hi {{name}}!
{% else %}
Hi friend!
{% endif %}

If your data source has a value for the customer’s name, the output is:

Hi Lee!

But if you don’t have that customer’s name, here’s what you get:

Hi friend!

What’s extra cool about the example tag above is that it includes a “fallback statement”—some code that tells Liquid what to do if the value of a key is empty (e.g., you don’t have any data for the value the key is trying to reference). There are various fallback statements you can use depending on what kind of value you’re dealing with; in this example, we’ve put !=blank in the code, which tells Liquid what to do if the value of the name key is blank.

Using a fallback statement in a tag like the one above is a good habit to get into; otherwise, you can get some strange output. You’ll learn more about this in the intermediate module, so just keep this best practice in mind for later. 

Personalizing an email salutation is a simple example of what Liquid can do, but you can accomplish some pretty complex things with these basic concepts. You can use a key all by itself, or you can add a filter and/or a tag to affect the key—they all work together. Hooray for teamwork!


Up Next: Liquid Fundamentals

What Is Liquid?

Alex Patton

Liquid is a template engine that enables you to combine dynamic content with static content. It was originally created by Shopify co-founder Tobias Lütke. Written in Ruby, Liquid was built to create a sort of bridge between an HTML file and a data store—allowing Shopify’s users to build customized themes for different customers and keep sensitive data secure when personalizing content.    

Liquid is an open source language, which means that anyone can modify it and make new versions—and a lot of folks have! Today, it’s in wide usage for web and email and has developed many “flavors” as developers have molded it to meet their needs.

So if your ESP has a flavor of Liquid (and it probably does!), you can use it to create highly personalized emails. Let’s imagine you run an ecommerce site, Tip Top Pets, and one of your customers just purchased a new dog leash. That purchase will trigger an order confirmation email. 

Most of the content in your confirmation emails will be the same for every customer—some “thank you for your purchase” language, brand images, etc. The code for all that content is static—that is, it’s the same for every customer. 

But you also want to personalize the content for each individual customer—like including their name, the item they purchased, and maybe some recommendations for related products they might like. Ooh, how about a special coupon?! The more personal you can be, the more engagement you’ll get. That means your email needs dynamic content that’s unique to this customer and this purchase—and you can use Liquid to add that dynamic content with code that pulls info about each individual from your data source.


Up Next: How Liquid Works

Introduction to Liquid

Alex Patton

Want to drive engagement and conversion? It’s all about getting up close and personal with your audience. And that’s what Liquid allows you to do! Whatever data you have about your leads and customers can be transformed into content that lines up exactly with who they are, what they do, and what makes them tick—and click!

This tutorial will walk you through using Liquid—from the fundamental concepts to the down-and-dirty code you need to make it happen. It’s geared toward marketing folks who don’t have heavy programming experience, so you’ll understand how everything works and be able to confidently collaborate with developers to execute your personalized content. 

We’ll start with the basics to give you a thorough grounding in what Liquid is, then dive deeper into some intermediate and advanced topics. Along the way, you’ll see examples and get to practice applying the concepts—and end with the skills you need to use it with confidence.

By the way, Liquid can be used for both websites and emails. In this tutorial, we’ll be using emails as examples, but the principles you learn can be applied to all kinds of things, from campaign landing pages to ecommerce sites and more. 

A note about word choice

There are now many “flavors” of Liquid. As a result, there’s a lot of Liquid documentation out there, and it doesn’t always agree on what to call things. The main culprit is what we’re calling keys—for instance, some folks call those “objects,” but that can get confusing when we start talking about JSON and JavaScript objects (don’t worry, we’ll explain those in this tutorial!). 

Other terminology can vary as well—such as what people call the different types of tags you can use in Liquid. People even disagree on what to call Liquid itself! It’s been referred to as a template language, a template syntax, and a template engine. 

We’ll call out any particularly tricky vocab, but don’t get too hung up on the language. We’ll use the same terminology throughout this tutorial so you’ll be crystal clear on the concepts, and you’ll be equipped to translate most documentation you come across. And, more importantly, you’ll be able to talk to developers without getting laughed at! (Well, probably—depends on how many snacks you bring to the meeting.)


Up Next: What is Liquid?

TryHackMe’s 10% Monthly Revenue Growth

Lucy Wen

TryHackMe is an independent online learning platform started in November 2018 that is training over ½ a million people on cybersecurity. Their focus is on product development and teaching people everything from the fundamentals to complex topics so they can secure careers in cybersecurity. 

When TryHackMe first joined Customer.io, they had 60,000 members. With the help of Customer.io’s platform, they’ve been growing 10% month over month! In fact, in the 6 months prior to this interview in Summer 2021, TryHackMe has received over 250,000 new sign-ups. 

TryHackMe’s Goals

TryHackMe came to Customer.io wanting to send better-targeted emails to their users based on their experience levels. Before Customer.io, they were discerning on who they were blasting emails to in their database, and they wanted to take a more personalized and segmented approach to messaging to increase their revenue. Their idea when they first came to Customer.io was to do this by configuring automatic campaigns to convert more TryHackMe users on their freemium model into paying subscribers. 

TryHackMe tried out a few other email service providers such as Mailchimp, Optiverse, and Hubspot but ultimately decided to go with Customer.io for our ease of implementation, complex workflow capabilities, and messaging expertise. 

Implementation

With Customer.io’s one-click integration with Segment, TryHackMe’s customer data platform, we make implementation a breeze, which is an important gateway for scrappy startups who may not have the dedicated resource or time to configure their data. 

“Mailchimp was so difficult to integrate and required so much manual work. The implementation was so easy with Customer.io, the automatic setup and integration. With a click of a button, we were able to immediately start sending campaigns to our users. Plus they didn’t have the workflows Customer.io does.”

Ben Spring, Co-Founder of TryHackMe

The plight of being a fast-moving start-up means that you really have to do just that…move fast. With limited dedicated resources and time, a speedy but accurate configuration is really important. Once configured, speed in execution is also important.  

Scalability with Workflows

“In terms of scalability, we’ve seen explosive growth and Customer.io has scaled with us. We’ve had no bottlenecks because your product and your team supports us.”

Ben Spring, Co-Founder of TryHackMe

Since starting with Customer.io, TryHackMe has been able to achieve a 13.7% conversion on their campaigns aimed at acquiring paying subscribers. With over 250,000 people in this cadence, this is a huge return on investment.

“The appeal of Customer.io is that it makes our lives so much easier. We were using a ton of different tools before and now with Customer.io, we don’t have to spend hours configuring different emails. We can drag and drop, easily make campaigns, and all of our emails live in one centralized place where we can have anyone on our team access and configure campaigns and broadcasts.” 

Ben Spring, Co-Founder of TryHackMe

One way TryHackMe has been able to grow using Customer.io was to start getting more granular with their broadcasts, which is a huge part of their messaging strategy that they weren’t able to do with Mailchimp. With Customer.io, they are now able to segment users based on their experience and behavior to send them people personalized messages.

Expertise

An integral part of TryHackMe’s experience with Customer.io has been leveraging our messaging experts to help their organization sculpt the perfect messaging strategy.

“Your team has been really insightful in teaching us how to scale and grow our messaging strategy, especially with A/B testing and equipping us with the right techniques to grow our revenue”

Ben Spring, Co-Founder of TryHackMe

At the time of this study, TryHackMe had just started running an A/B test on 2 campaigns where they want to track how a user is performing after they’ve gone down the cadence. Within 1 week, they’ve already seen a 2% increase, which is huge when you’re considering ¼ million people are in the cadence. All these little percentage bumps make a huge impact on revenue. 

Takeaways

It can be tricky to find the right messaging platform for now and for the future. With Customer.io’s touch of a button migration process, TryHackMe was able to get up and running immediately and start scaling. With any members of their team being able to go into Customer.io making growth such as 10% month-over-month revenue growth possible.

How Mido Lotto Hit the Jackpot with 3X Conversion with SMS

Lucy Wen

The Challenge Needing to create programmatic nurture campaigns to build trust and convert users into paying customers

The Fix Experimentation with SMS as a messaging channel and creating onboarding campaigns based on user behavior

The Result Mido Lotto saw a 3x conversion rate with dormant users going back to the app and purchasing tickets after experimenting with SMS. They also saw a 2000% increase in paying customers and an 1875% increase in registered users within a year of using Customer.io

Mido Lotto is an online platform that allows users to play the Lottery in a modern way: digitally. Their app allows users to order Lottery tickets, manage those orders, check tickets, and instantly collect winnings for state-licensed Lottery games online, directly from their phones.

When Mido Lotto first started with Customer.io, their main driver was to create programmatic nurture campaigns to convert registered users on the app into paying customers. With the help of Customer.io’s powerful marketing automation, Mido Lotto has been able to grow paying customers by 2000% and registered users by 1875% in just 1 year. The app has now reached hundreds of thousands of installs.

Mido Lotto uses Customer.io for 6 primary reasons:

  • New user onboarding nurture campaigns, with the goal of converting app registrants into  paying customers
  • Utility based reminders in the app, for example reminding people there’s a jackpot coming up
  • Retention Marketing 
  • ReEngagement of inactive users
  • Advertising promotions
  • Ad hoc for calendar based reminders and communications

Trust

There are many layers to any company’s messaging strategy, but a unique hurdle Mido Lotto has to overcome is instilling trust within their customers. The lottery is a notoriously challenging space to build trust and legitimacy in, so they rely on sending the right messages to the right people at the right time to build that confidence. 

“Communicating with our audience in the right way at the right time with the right messages is critical for us to convert non-paying users into customers, which is why we trust Customer.io to manage and help us with those communications tactics.”

Hamish Elmslie, Chief Operating Officer

Mido Lotto’s onboarding workflow consists of over 40 unique messages that are geared towards getting a user comfortable enough with their brand and product to become a paying customer. Through Customer.io’s complex messaging buildout ability, they are able to nurture this trust programmatically over the course of a month.

Experimenting: Reengagement with Customer.io with SMS

“One of the greatest gifts Customer.io has given us is the ability to experiment, quickly refine, and iterate our strategy with clear results”

-Hamish Elmslie, Chief Operating Officer

As any fast-moving startup knows, having the prowess to think of new hypotheses, test them out quickly, then swiftly pivot is the lifeblood to growing your business. That’s a critical reason why Mido Lotto uses Customer.io.

One experiment Mido Lotto used Customer.io for was leveraging SMS to engage with dormant users. This was uncharted territory for Mido Lotto that ended up wildly successful. With an SMS campaign targeted at inactive app users, they saw users coming back and placing an order through the app at 3x the conversion rate

They’ve now harnessed the power of SMS, a traditionally challenging channel to get right, to learn how to communicate with their customers in a way that is personalized enough to convert users. With our integration with Segment, Mido Lotto is able to truly send hyper-targeted SMS messages based on user behavior.

“We use Customer.io to understand the difference between SMS push and email, and to understand which types of communication work best for each channel. It’s very easy to do with Customer.io and we’ve seen unprecedented results. “ 

-Hamish Elmslie, Head of Operations

Small Teams with Mighty Power

Being able to experiment with messaging techniques is only half the battle when you have a small team like Mido Lotto. With a small team, everyone has to wear multiple hats but more importantly, know how to wear the hats.

“As a startup, you might not have someone with 15 years experience with CRM or ESP tools on the team from day one. Customer.io is so intuitive that anyone in our organization can understand how to use the platform. Being able to build and launch complex automated campaigns with a small amount of resource is phenomenal.”

-Hamish Elmslie, Chief Operating Officer

Small teams need powerful players, and having everyone be able to perform complex tasks without the dedicated resources needed to execute is one of the foundations of any successful startup.

New User Onboarding Campaigns

Mido Lotto relies heavily on their new user onboarding campaigns, which are a set of emails and SMS messages geared towards making users comfortable enough with the brand and platform to become a paying customer. Through continuous A/B testing, they’ve been able to create a campaign that converts 16% better than their previous approach. At any given time, there are tens of thousands of people in this workflow, so a 16% increase makes a huge difference on revenue.

Takeaways

With the help of Customer.io, Mido Lotto has been able to scale their business at an incredible rate. Their ability to send hyper-personalized messages to the right people, at the right time, in the right channel has allowed them to garner the trust they need from their audience to gain traction in the Lottery space. The journey to gain this momentum wasn’t by chance, however. It took crafty trials and leaps of faith paired with a marketing messaging platform built to scale with them.

Email Marketing in the Age of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection

Rachel Cobb

Over the past few weeks, we have had many conversations with marketers wondering what to do when the new iOS 15 updates come into effect. This fall, Apple will be releasing a new iOS update that results in better privacy for its users at the expense of certain engagement tracking. Here is the gist:

Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from learning whether an email has been opened, and hides IP addresses so senders can’t learn a user’s location or use it to build a profile on them.

Apple’s June 7, 2021 Press Release

While these changes seem to derail tracking efforts, these updates are good news for consumers. They will also encourage marketers to engage more directly with their customer base without relying on background tracking. Apple tends to be a trendsetter, so marketers should expect other providers to follow suit and implement new consumer-centric privacy protections. These updates provide marketers the opportunity to adopt new strategies and shift from the lurker in the background to the friend who takes time to get to know their customers & their needs.

Your marketing team can prepare to take on this new world too. Here is how you can implement and update your strategies in (and outside) of Customer.io.

Define Success Differently

Begin A/B testing now

When the update launches this fall, anyone who opens mail in the iOS Mail app will automatically be recorded as an open, meaning potentially inflated open rates. So before this launches, start (or continue) A/B testing subject lines for your key campaigns to know with confidence what works with your customer base. A/B testing will still be valuable moving forward, but success will be determined solely by clicks and conversions later this year.

Set conversion goals

Over time, open metrics will become a less reliable metric of engagement from your audiences. Therefore focus needs to shift heavily to conversion and click rates, tracking what your profiles are doing inside your emails (clicking) and when they take that golden action – buying. By adding a conversion goal to every campaign, you will know if your email drives your desired outcome. 

Rethink where you use open metrics currently

Since open metrics will be a less reliable measure of engagement moving forward, now is the time to rethink any segments or campaigns that rely on opens. Engagement segments should include internal engagement data, like login dates, recent page views, or important product actions. Workflows dependent on opens for follow-up actions and conversion goals based on opens should use click-rate instead.

New Best Practices

Use a confirmed opt-in

A confirmed opt-in (or double opt-in) has been best practice for deliverability for years. It may result in fewer email addresses making it to Customer.io, however, the email addresses that become profiles are interested customers that are ready to engage with your content. They want what you have, meaning the effect on deliverability & actual sales will be positive in the end. As an added bonus, a confirmed opt-in can protect your domain from spam attacks saving you potential deliverability woes in the future.

Scrub your lists now

If you have been putting off cleaning up your database, now is the time to do it. Create a sunset policy based on customers who have been sent an email but not opened an email in the last few months. You can choose to retarget these users or remove them from the platform.

Double down on personalization

The Hide My Email feature is an upgraded version of an existing capability that lets Apple users create a randomized email address when they register with an app or website. While this prevents tracking one user across multiple platforms, this still allows for one-to-one communication to your customer and lets you collect valuable information. The catch – you may need to offer something in return. To entice people to share their personal information, create surveys on their purchasing intent and preferences, supplementing with discounts or sweepstakes where necessary. Our forms snippet and API endpoint make this all doable within Customer.io.

Text messages (SMS) for the win

If SMS is not currently a part of your messaging strategy, the time has come. Text messaging for marketing grew 40% in the last year. As privacy protections strengthen in email, SMS is a powerful tool in your marketing strategy. For example, you can automate a follow-up text message when a customer has not clicked on an email. Or send emails and text messages at the same time to communicate important information to your customer. You can easily add multiple message types to one campaign using our visual workflow builder.

While the industry is shifting away from tracking metrics that the consumer might not be aware of, there are still plenty of ways marketers can engage with their audiences on a human level and ensure a valuable relationship moving forward.

A Journey in Deliverability: How DoSomething Increased Their Open Rate by 180%

Lucy Wen

DoSomething is the largest youth-led organization dedicated to activating young adults to change the world for the better through social change. Their social impact programming has mobilized millions of members from clothing half of America’s youth in homeless shelters, cleaning up millions of cigarette butts from the streets, to registering over 250,000 people to vote in the 2020 presidential election. Their digital platform mobilizes our youth to create better communities for everyone.

The Challenge Open rates down by 75%.

The Fix Deliverability fixes, Smart suppression, Segmentation

The Result 2.8x increased open rate (180% relative increase. 4.95% increased click-through rate (395% relative increase)

Challenge 

DoSomething saw membership open rates falling to ¼ of what they once were (a 75% decrease). As is the nature of nonprofits, membership is the backbone to what powers their mission, so declining open rates was having a direct and negative impact on their overall business and goals as an organization.

Realizing that open rates were falling was only half the battle. At the time, they had no idea why this was happening, let alone how to fix it. Deliverability can be a tricky puzzle to tackle, but with some few key recommendations from our powerhouse of Customer Success Managers, DoSomething was not only able to get their deliverability rates way above industry average, but are now armed with the knowledge and tools to be self-sufficient and run on autopilot. 

Putting Together the Puzzle Pieces

DoSomething has a database of millions of members. Before using Customer.io, they were sending all users in their database every email, regardless of their interests or demographic on MailChimp. This tactic dramatically works against your deliverability rate, which DoSomething came to learn the hard way. While they wanted to suppress their list and segment users, MailChimp simply didn’t have the capability to segment and suppress as accurately as they needed. Their open rates at the time were about 8%-9%, way below the industry average. 

“When we were on MailChimp, we had severe deliverability issues for 2 reasons. The first being that we weren’t able to be on our own dedicated IP like we’re able to on Customer.io. Our emails weren’t going where they needed to go. The second was our inability to filter out users, and clean up lists within Mailchimp.” 

Anthony Aurrichio, Senior Manager, Digital Engagement at DoSomething.org

Since Mailchimp’s mandatory shared IPs did not have a strong reputation with Google, switching to a dedicated IP on Customer.io was a no-brainer for DoSomething, and a no-brainer for Customer.io to set them up on. However, when it comes to segmentation, the fix wasn’t as simple. Knowing they needed to suppress and filter out users was only half the battle…

Segmentation 

DoSomething was at a loss for how to go about segmenting their users. How do I formulate who is suppressed? What user attributes should we consider? When should we consider someone inactive? What event triggers make the most sense for us to build around? These were all hurdles DoSomething leaned on Customer.io to help build-out. This resulted in two jurassic changes: 

  1. Subscription center- Letting members choose which newsletters they wanted to opt into.
  2. Smarter segmentation – Understanding users and creating rules based on what they want from including:
    • Setting parameters around when users last engaged with the brand
    • Creating user journeys based on who you are (age, where you come from, what you said you were interested in) to deliver the right content to the right people
    • Event triggers that grouped certain users together based on actions they took

The Future is Clear and Bright

In addition to the more tactical recommendations surrounding segmentation setup, Customer.io was also able to equip DoSomething with the knowledge to strategize holistically when it comes to Deliverability. In fact, DoSomething now has a ~35-page ‘manifesto’ dedicated to deliverability that the company operates by, which Customer.io was able to partner with to help make it come alive. Some of the concepts we were able to coach DoSomething through were:

  • What are some best practices for warming up new domains? Should we also move to new IPs or is the new domain sufficient to protect our corporate email?
  • Is putting old emails on a suppression list or “do not email” list sufficient to mark them as unsubscribed? Or should we fully scrub old profiles? 
  • How should we go about creating our subdomains for different newsletters/corporate emails

From there, they were able to send emails with purpose and sculpt an intentional customer journey. They tiptoed into these concepts previously, but they didn’t have the support or the industry knowledge that Customer.io brought to go full throttle into mastering Deliverability. 

“The landscape of the industry is changing so much. We definitely rely on Customer.io’s expertise to stay in the know. The best practices we’ve learned from them allow us to be on autopilot and prevent issues before they have the chance to arise.”

Jen Ng, Director of Product at DoSomething

“The landscape of the industry is changing so much. We definitely rely on customer.io’s expertise to stay in the know. The best practices we’ve learned from them allows us to be on autopilot and prevent issues before they have the chance to arise.” – Jen Ng, Director of Product at DoSomething

Results

With the combined power of being on their own dedicated IP, getting the right guidance from Customer.io’s expert Customer Success Managers on segmentation and setup, and harnessing the power of event triggers into their strategy, DoSomething was able to create a suppression policy that made sense for their inactive users, increasing their open rate by 2.8x, a 180% relative increase.

Not only that, but their average click rate increased by 4.95%, a 395% relative increase.

When compared to their metrics before implementing Customer.io, DoSomething has been able to maintain the same amount of click-throughs today as they previously were, with only sending 21% of their total email send volume.

How StuDocu Keeps Their 15 Million Global Monthly Users Engaged

Lucy Wen

StuDocu is an online community where university and college students can exchange study resources, ask their peers questions, and get answers. Their community has members in over 60 countries, spanning 17 languages, with over 15 million monthly active users on their marketplace. 

StuDocu’s digital community consists of a marketplace where students upload documents so other students can learn and benefit from them. The documents that their users upload are what attract new users to the marketplace, who in return also contribute more content and documents. This contribution and consumption cycle is what keeps the marketplace alive, so user engagement on the platform is the lifeline of StuDocu’s business. With an audience spread all over the world, in different languages, timezones, and interests, it can be hard to send the right messages that actually engage their audience. That’s why StuDocu relies on Customer.io to give them powerful and actionable insights, segment users, and enable event triggers to keep their community alive and thriving.

StuDocu uses Customer.io for 4 primary reasons:

  • User Onboarding – Onboarding new users onto the platform to ensure strong retention.
  • Transactional Messages – Sending password resets, email confirmations, and account-based status updates.
  • Conversion Flows – Targeted campaigns to re-engage customers back onto the StuDocu platform, including automated platform activity notifications to stay top of mind. Note: This is the most crucial part of their business! 
  • Customer Feedback Condition triggered messages to collect feedback and information from users. For example, asking students to rank their university or college for StuDocu’s World University Ranking.

Data in the Driver’s Seat

StuDocu is a data-centric company. They use customer data to drive all decisions, especially when it comes to their email campaigns and interactions. With the help of Customer.io’s super easy-to-understand data analytics, StuDocu is able to adjust their campaigns based on the actionable insights Customer.io delivers to reach an average open rate of 33%, with their highest campaign hovering at a 73% open rate.

StuDocu’s top-performing campaign is one of their most important campaigns to their business as it’s an email dedicated to driving the supply flow. They paired the data Customer.io yields along with A/B testing multiple variants to push their numbers way above the industry average to achieve a 10% click-through rate.

Additionally, with Customer.io, StuDocu is able to keep a single source of truth for each of their users. They use the platform as a database to track whether a user is properly flowing downstream in the user journey or not. If the user is not, StuDocu is able to pinpoint exactly what’s missing, what went wrong, and adjust their strategy to make sure the user is where they should be within their journey.

Segmentation

StuDocu sends roughly 2.3 million emails a month to users in over 60 countries and 17 languages. This high volume poses quite a challenge for their email team, especially when considering time zones. 

“Customer.io has been really great because we’ve been able to automatically set up when a campaign goes out based on our specific user’s timezone, giving us the highest opportunity for success. Sometimes these emails go out in the middle of the night in my timezone, so it’s nice to be able to schedule it.”

Martine Peeters, Marketing and Communications Manager at StuDocu

With Customer.io’s segmentation engine, StuDocu is able to send the right emails to the right people, at the right time, in the user’s preferred language. Fundamental communication like this would be nearly impossible without the help of Customer.io. The ability to group users based on their location, the field of study, preferred language, and the university they attend empowers Marketers to deliver the most relevant information. As a result, you can see results like StuDocu’s high engagement and click-through rates.

The Power of Event Triggers

The other large piece of the puzzle contributing to StuDocu’s high-performing success is utilizing Customer.io’s event-triggered campaigns. StuDocu cleverly builds data-driven segments based on their users’ actions and automatically triggers campaigns when a user performs a specific event.

“Across all of our events, we send close to 1,000 unique event properties to Customer.io. They offer us the unique opportunity to leverage all of these properties to further personalize our email campaigns resulting in higher open and click rates. Other tools did not allow for this and it would require expensive additional development time to get all the relevant data to be available in our campaigns.”

Lucas van den Houten, Cofounder of StuDocu

Since condition-triggered campaigns are triggered the first time a user matches a set of conditions, StuDocu can either “set and forget” or jump right in and start optimizing workflows based on how people are moving through the campaigns. This gives StuDocu the flexibility they need and want to deliver content that makes the most sense to their audience.

Takeaways

Connecting and engaging with customers is not an easy task when you truly have a global audience like StuDocu. The multiple time zones and languages can become challenging without the right tools, setup, and data-driven logic. StuDocu recognizes these challenges and is able to harness the power of Customer.io’s segmentation and event-triggered campaigns to send the best messages to the right audience and in the right language. Using Customer.io, StuDocu is able to level up their messaging and strategy to meet their engagement and business goals. 

Apple is Late to the Party: Marketers Stopped Trusting Open Rates Years Ago

At WWDC 2021, Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection. The new version of its Mail app, expected to be released in September, will ask users if it should load content (including tracking pixels) privately. That would protect the user’s privacy by hiding an actual user activity from the email sender. If the user says yes, the tracking pixels used to measure when a user opens an email will no longer be an accurate metric. 

How do email tracking pixels work?

Email tracking pixels are invisible image elements that many marketing platforms include by default. Whenever a user opens an email with a tracking pixel, the pixel is loaded too. The act of loading the pixel tells the marketing platform that the specific user opened the email. The pixel can also collect the user’s IP address (which can potentially give away a users’ geolocation or employer) and user agent (which can reveal the user’s device and email client). 

However, pixels aren’t perfect, which means neither are open rates. Currently, some email clients block images from loading when a user opens an email (which also blocks the tracking pixels). Other email clients (and some corporate firewalls) automatically open all images as soon as the email is delivered. If you’ve ever sent a newsletter and instantly saw opens, it is not your super-engaged users, unfortunately; it is most likely auto-opens juicing your open rate.

Enter Conversion Tracking

If you can’t use open rates to measure your email’s performance, what can you use? At Customer.io, we’ve always recommended measuring the success or failure of your email campaigns against the key action you want your customers to take. You don’t want your customers to open your email. You want them to buy your product, try out a new product feature, or take some other action specific to your business. We call this conversion tracking. 

Start Tracking What Matters

Open rates are a distraction; conversions are what count. We recently added the ability to measure conversions against webhook actions – so you can measure the effectiveness of your non-traditional messages. In addition, we plan to expand the variety and number of conversions you can track against a campaign.

For email specifically, we have added the ability for marketers to remove tracking pixels globally from all emails you send through Customer.io in a given workspace (we already allow you to do this on a per email basis). That will help you and your team focus on the metrics that make a difference to your business: conversions.

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