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How to Get Off It (By Avoiding It In The First Place)

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How to Get Off It (By Avoiding It In The First Place)

In the email marketing industry, sending spam or unsolicited bulk messaging can taint any organization’s brand. It can prompt mailbox providers to filter their messages to the spam folder or place them on an email blacklist.

In this article, we’re going to explain what an email blacklist is, how to avoid getting placed on one, and how to tell if you’ve been blacklisted.

What is an email blacklist?

How to Avoid an Email Blacklist

How to Check if You’re On an Email Blacklist

How to Get Off an Email Blacklist

→ Download Now: The Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing [Free Ebook]

Some blacklists, like Spamhaus, are credible and widely trusted, so if a brand is on one of these blacklists, it’ll heavily impact their sender reputation. Other blacklists, likeNoSolicitado, are less credible and trusted, so if a brand is on one of these blacklists, it won’t affect its sender reputation nearly as much.

When referencing blacklists to determine a brand’s deliverability, mailbox providers weigh their influence by credibility and not just if they’re listed on them.

How to Avoid an Email Blacklist

A wise email team leader at HubSpot named Jess Swazey once told me, “The easiest way to get off an email blacklist is to never get on it in the first place.” In light of this Yoda-esque wisdom, here are four best practices for avoiding email blacklists.

1. Only email contacts who have subscribed to your email program — and never email contacts scraped from websites, third-party sources, or purchased contact lists.

The easiest and most crucial step you can take to avoid email blacklists is emailing people who actually subscribed to your emails. Because in a world where only 8% of people assume the information in advertising is true, the best way to build a contact database is the hard and honest way — collecting email addresses organically.

Plus collecting and emailing contacts who never subscribed to your email program in the first place is a one-way ticket to getting blacklisted. This is because most blacklist operators have already placed pristine spam traps in third-party sources, abandoned websites, and purchased contact lists.

2. Clean your email lists on a regular basis.

Having a large email list may seem like a great idea, but they do more harm than good if they consist of numerous unengaged contacts, so it’s best to go through your email list and purge it of any inactive email addresses.

Most mailbox providers decide if you’re actually a reputable sender and deserving of a high deliverability score by keeping an eye on any inactive email addresses that have been converted into recycled spam traps and dinging any IP address or domain that sends emails to them. In your database, any contact that hasn’t engaged with your email program or opened one of your emails in a year could possibly be a recycled spam trap.

To avoid sending emails to recycled spam traps and getting blacklisted, run one-off re-engagement campaigns with your inactive contacts. It’s up to you to decide how long a contact’s disengagement with your email program deems them inactive, but if they don’t open your re-engagement email, it’s a sign to scrub them off your list.

3. Never manually enter email addresses into your database or mass email those contacts.

After industry events, some sales teams collect business cards from prospects, manually plug each contact’s email address into their database, and send them a mass marketing email.

This can also be a one-way ticket to getting blacklisted because those contacts never opted into receiving messages from your email program. They’re likely never to open them. In fact, they may flag them as spam, which will lower your deliverability and heighten your risk of getting blacklisted.

Manually entering email addresses into your database can also increase the chance of typos, resulting in emails being sent to addresses that don’t exist. This will increase your email bounce rate, which will also lower your deliverability and boost your risk of getting blacklisted.

To avoid these issues, connect with each of these prospects through their personal inbox and direct them to an offer, landing page, or form where they can opt themselves into your email marketing list.

4. Validate your new subscribers’ email addresses.

Speaking of typos, sometimes people will try to subscribe to your email program but make a typo when entering their contact information in your form.

Unfortunately, mailbox providers will bounce any emails sent to addresses that don’t exist — lower your deliverability and heighten your risk of getting blacklisted. To avoid this subtle yet potent blacklisting trigger, use email address verification tools like Kickboxor Zero Bounce to validate each email address you collect from your subscription forms.

How to Check If You’re On an Email Blacklist

Sometimes, a pristine or recycled spam trap can slip through the cracks and get you blacklisted. Fortunately, your email service provider will usually notify you when this happens, but if you want to be absolutely sure that your IP address or domain isn’t on a blacklist, use blacklist-checking tools, like Sender Score or MX Toolbox.

There are also other ways you can check to see if you’re blacklisted:

Check your email metrics.

A good indicator that you may be blacklisted is if your open rates have taken a huge dive. For example, falling from 40% down to 5% in a short amount of time is definitely a sign that something is amiss.

Send out test emails.

Send test emails to known addresses and see how many of them are received and if they have ended up in the spam folder.

Use an email monitor.

Email monitors, like MassMailer Email Monitor, automatically check blacklists and offer a variety of services and features — such as:

  • Predictive deliverability metrics
  • Blacklist and whitelist monitoring
  • Email client preview testing

How to Get Off an Email Blacklist

If you send emails through one of your email service provider’s shared IP addresses and it gets blacklisted, it’s your email service provider’s job to delist the shared IP address. However, one domain that sends spam from a shared IP address can blacklist the entire shared IP address, so if your actions blacklist your shared IP address, your email service provider has the right to cancel your subscription or require remediation.

On the other hand, if your dedicated IP address or domain ends up on one or multiple email blacklists, it’s your job to get it off them. Unfortunately, there’s no universal solution for getting your domain delisted — you need to follow a different protocol for each blacklist you’re on in order to get off of it. However, there are two general best practices for delisting that are great starting points for any email program.

1. Follow email best practices.

To get off most blacklists, you need to work directly with the blacklist operators and prove to them that you’re actually a trustworthy sender. You can do this by following email best practices for a certain period of time. Some email best practices are:

  • Avoiding the use of no-reply email addresses
  • Sending personalized emails
  • Including compelling CTAs
  • A/B testing content

2. Permission Pass Campaigns

Another way to delist your domain is by running permission pass campaigns. When you get blacklisted, your email service provider will pinpoint the campaign that triggered it — allowing you to identify the email list in your database that has spam traps. Once you find this list, you can run a permission pass campaign, where you send a one-off re-engagement email to the list’s contacts who haven’t interacted with your emails in a long time.

These contacts are most likely the spam traps that triggered your blacklisting, so make sure you weed out all the accounts that don’t engage with your permission pass campaign. Otherwise, an emotional attachment to a large yet unengaged email list might never let you delist.

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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