Email Personalization and Segmentation For Financial Services

July 1, 2020
Financial Services

Key Takeaways

Send emails frequently, but in small batches: While PayPal may send email campaign volumes under 1% of their total email list size, they are sending out multiple email batches in a day, sometimes up to 10+ emails.

Monitor reader email reading behaviour: Aside from segmenting customers by usage behaviour, PayPal also identifies segments of customers who respond well to varying lengths of email. This can be done by seeing how frequently a CTA/link is clicked on near the bottom of the email (to identify who has read the full email).

A/B testing subject lines: Even with identical email content, PayPal A/B tests their subject lines, which helps inform their future email subject line crafting. As seen in the examples, slight language changes can make a large difference in read rates.

Turn popular site links into email CTAs: PayPal identified their “reset password” page as one of their most frequently visited and used that information to help lessen the barrier for non-frequent PayPal users to re-engage with their platform by creating a CTA that goes at the bottom of general emails. Consider turning popular pages of your website into CTAs or icons at the bottom of your emails for quick access.

In April, PayPal saw a +17% increase via email web traffic despite sending -46% less emails that month. 

They would then continue to see stable email web traffic over the next 6 months even as they steadily increased email volumes (average +22% monthly).

By August, the email send volume was only +8% more than in April but email web traffic was +19% higher, showing that higher email volume does not always translate into higher email web traffic.

Rather than relying on sending more emails to get more email web traffic, PayPal heavily segments and customizes their campaigns, with send volumes of less than 1% of their total list size each month.

In August, PayPal sent out 7 different email campaigns on the same day, each with varying subject lines and content and send volumes under 250K.

Examples of best practices that PayPal employed for this particular send include...

1. Segmenting audience by usage behaviour:

  • For users who regularly use PayPal to send money to friends, family, and other users, PayPal targets them with a custom email that totes the ease of money transfer via their tools.
  • For users who regularly use PayPal to make purchases, PayPal sends them an email that highlights the benefits of PayPal (i.e. multiple ways to pay, rewards and cashback options, and more)

2. Segmenting audience by email behaviour:

  • PayPal plays with varying lengths of similar emails; both the emails on the left would be targeted to purchase-heavy audiences. However, unlike the longer length email from the example before, both these emails are shorter and more concise.
  • This suggests that PayPal also segments their audience depending on the email reading behaviour. For readers to respond well to long emails (i.e. have high click-through rate on CTAs near the bottom of long emails), they get the longer version; for the opposite, they get a shorter version.

For Mother’s Day, PayPal sent out 4 identical Mother’s Day emails to different audiences, with the only difference being the subject lines.

Although unrelated to segmenting, a unique feature in PayPal’s more general emails is the inclusive of a prominent “reset password” CTA.

Use of popular sitelinks:

  • Although these campaigns contain different content and are targeted to different audience groups, they all end with a password reset button at the bottom. 
  • The “forgot password” feature is likely a popular site function for non-frequent users of PayPal; as such, to lessen the barrier of re-engaging users to use their service, PayPal conveniently places a “reset password” CTA in their emails to encourage users to login. Add to the fact that most password reset steps require an email verification, it makes even more sense to target these customers while they are already in their inboxes.
  • As online banking becomes more widely used, the chances to customers forgetting their password becomes higher; considering monitoring customer site behaviour and how often customers reset their password

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