Mailchimp introduced new plans and pricing this past week. Previously only subscribed contacts counted towards monthly billing. With the new plans contacts that are unsubscribed and non-subscribed also count towards billing.
If you use Mailchimp for email marketing alone then you will need to archive or delete your unsubscribed and non-subscribed contacts so that you aren’t billed for these email addresses.
I’ve read many comments about the new plans, both good and bad. The bad comments generally focus on the mostly increased monthly expense but they fail to consider two critical things;
- Unsubscribed and non-subscribed contacts don’t need to count towards monthly billing (archive or deleting helps) and
- Online marketing is about to change and Mailchimp’s move to an all-in-one marketing platform is about to become very valuable.
I’ll explain my second point above in more detail below.
Third-Party Cookies and Online Marketing
Most of us know what cookies are (in the online world). Many of us don’t know that there are two categories of cookies; first-party and third-party cookies.
Third-party cookies are very common and are often used for marketing and advertising tracking purposes. For example, as I was writing this article, I viewed an Australian news website called the Brisbane Times. I counted 13 cookies being stored on my local computer from the Brisbane Times. Only one of the cookies was from the Brisbane Times and the rest are mostly advertising and marketing cookies. These third-party cookies (i.e. not cookies from the actual website I visited) enable remarketing and various other means for marketers to understand what I’m searching for or looking at (third-party cookies are used by many online services and not just marketers).
Third-Party Cookies Will Mostly Disappear Soon
Internet Standards have provided a means of defining first-party cookies. Google is asking developers to identify which are first-party and which are third-party cookies. In addition, the Google Chrome Internet browser will join Firefox and Safari soon in making it simpler for people to identify, block and remove third-party cookies.
This is bad news for many online advertising and marketing platforms. With third-party cookie reliability and access set to greatly decrease it will become difficult for many online advertisers and marketers to get reliable information about people (e.g. what websites they visit, what content they are interested in etc.). Marketing effectiveness will decrease substantially as reliable targeting data is greatly reduced.
What Large Organizations Are Doing to Address the Third-party Cookie Issue
It’s been evident for a number of years that tracking via third-party cookies would come under scrutiny. Some very large online marketers have introduced ways of accruing data without relying on third-party cookies. For example Google have many tools that allow tracking of people such as wherever people are logged-in to a Google account, Google Search (where first-party cookies are used), Android etc. Apple too knows which websites are visited by whom and for how long as well as the persons location via their various Apple hardware, software and accounts.
Marketers that don’t have a means of understanding their audience without cookies are about to face major issues as third-party cookies become increasingly blocked and removed.
How Mailchimp Customers are About to Really Benefit
Mailchimp has been about more than merely email marketing for a few years; creating postcards, posting to social media, landing pages and ads are all possible in Mailchimp (and soon even creating a website will be possible). As third-party cookies become less widely accepted, using a single marketing platform will have significant benefits.
Say you have a website you built in Mailchimp and you advertise your website via Facebook ads in Mailchimp; because you are using the single platform (Mailchimp) you are able to attain all necessary marketing data in the profile of each contact you have in Mailchimp (without relying on third-party cookies). In the past, when third-party cookies were viable you could use different platforms and aggregate data about each contact in a separate system. Soon it will be necessary to use a single marketing platform wherever possible so that all that valuable marketing data may be consistently and accurately stored and used.
Mailchimp Is About to Become Massively Valuable to Marketers
In Mailchimp you may not be able to send email marketing to unsubscribed and non-subscribed contacts but you can still have Mailchimp aggregate data which may then be used to market to those contacts using ads, postcards and so on. The value of unsubscribed and non-subscribed contacts is low in email but is huge when considering how critical all-in-one marketing services such as Mailchimp are set to become. It makes sense therefore that Mailchimp charges for all contacts in a list because the value of all contacts will become increasingly valuable in the very near future as remarketing and targeting opportunities move from third-party cookie based systems to unified all-in-one marketing services.
Now, think of what other marketing platforms there are that offer an all-in-one opportunity for collecting contact data, storing that data and using that data for intelligent marketing across multiple channels in a cost effective and simple way (tip; there are few others). Mailchimp has created a solution to a very big marketing issue that organisations are about to face.
Note: I am a Mailchimp Partner providing Mailchimp training and consulting. I don’t however have any information from Mailchimp further than what is publicly available. The above information is merely where I think Mailchimp may be headed.