Hey.com: The new mailbox provider that blocks “Spy Tracker” pixels

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In episode 8 of the Deliverability Defined podcast, my co-host Melissa Lambert and I discuss what senders need to know about the newest mailbox provider, Hey.com.

If you’re following the email marketing world, you’ve undoubtedly heard of hey.com from creators of Basecamp. A lot of people have a lot of opinions on Hey, and because our podcast is all about email deliverability, we believe it’s a relevant discussion for us to have.

There’s not a ton of innovation in the email space, so having something like Hey to give us good conversation is a welcome change. If you need a quick catch-up, check out hey.com to see what it’s all about.

Whether you’re pro-HEY or anti-HEY, this episode is a deep dive into the pros, cons, and everything in between, along with our opinions and what it means for email at-large.

General pros and cons of HEY

Pros

Cons

  • HEY doesn’t offer custom domains yet, but it’s in the works
  • For some senders, the blocking of tracking pixels would be a con. Keep reading to learn more about how HEY blocks open tracking pixels and what that means for senders and their deliverability

HEY’s goal is to modernize email

HEY’s unique value proposition is that they are showing you email that you want to see and giving you more control over who can email you. HEY encourages you to organize your email from the beginning — an important feature to anyone whose inbox has run wild. However, this can lead to lumping unimportant and important emails from the same sender into one box.

HEY places important messages in the imbox — and that isn’t a typo

HEY allows users to decide if mail should go to the imbox, the feed, or the paper trail:

  • The imbox is meant for important emails that require your attention and/or reply.
  • The feed is meant for newsletters, promotional messages, and other emails that can be viewed casually at your convenience. Messages in the feed are automatically partially displayed, so that you can scroll through your messages without needing to click on each one to view it.
  • The paper trail is meant for things like receipts, order confirmations, and other transactional messages that tend to flood our inboxes.

HEY takes a tough stance on open tracking pixels

In case you didn’t know, most emails that are sent in some sort of business capacity (marketing, promotional, transactional, newsletters) contain a small pixel in the email that will tell the sender if you opened the email. Or, as we have mentioned in another episode, that’s what the pixel is meant to measure, but it isn’t always accurate.

HEY will automatically block open tracking pixels, which they refer to as “spy tracking” pixels.

If you want to stop tracking opens, here’s what you should know

Being privacy-focused is important. But it is important to be aware of the deliverability impacts of removing open tracking pixels:

  • As we talk about in the sender reputation episode, it’s very important that senders regularly clean unengaged subscribers from their list. While opens aren’t a perfect metric, it’s a fact that cleaning your list regularly of unopened subscribers is good for deliverability. If you decide to stop using open tracking pixels, you won’t be able to clean your list in this way.You’ll need to decide which metrics you’ll use to keep your list healthy — don’t just stop list cleaning all together!
  • If you stop open tracking, we suggest sending opt-in confirmation emails every 3-6 months to subscribers who have not clicked or purchased in the last 3-6 months.
  • You’ll need to lean heavily on conversion and click rates to measure success. This is a good practice regardless! However, open-rate trends are typically a good indicator that there might be a deliverability issue.Clicks and conversions are different. These are much more sensitive to strategy and marketing. A drop in conversions could mean many different things, so finding out if you have a deliverability issue might be more tough to identify

Summary

Hey.com is an interesting new mailbox provider with strong opinions. Senders should know that if they’re emailing HEY users, they won’t receive any open or spam complaint data from these users. If senders decide to stop tracking opens, they’ll need to regularly send opt-in confirmation emails to keep their list clean and their deliverability healthy.

Links

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