Now that the deluge of 2015 predictions has begun, the timing of this article couldn’t be better, because it gives me the opportunity to add yet another prediction to the mix: that third parties are going to be critical to the development of easy-to-use email reporting tools. Because the article shows, the demand for such tools is there!

The team at MECLABS combed through a data set of 208,551 answers submitted via our online ESPinator, a free tool that helps marketers choose a new email service provider. Analyzing that data, the team discovered that 78.5% of those who want an easy interface also want robust reporting and email analytics tools (see the chart below). As the article says, marketers want to have their cake and eat it too:

“…most marketers who are looking for an email service provider (ESP) wish to gain deep insights into their data from that ESP, but they don’t want to have to work hard to get those results.”

MarketingSherpa chart of ESP criteria data

What’s happening, I think, is email reporting is playing catch up. As I say in the article, ESPs have done a great job of building out functionality in their platforms while keeping their interfaces intuitive. The usability of tools for reporting and email analytics, however, has not kept up. These tools lack the intuitive interface and visualization capabilities that would make them both easier to use and more powerful to learn from, probably because email service providers have been more focused on the “front end” of their platforms, meaning the meaning the part of their platforms that marketers will see first and use most.

The role of third parties
Will this change? Will market demand for robust yet easy-to-use email analytics tools lead to the creation of the same? Yes, but it might not be the ESPs that bring this about.

At ClickMail, we have been working to fill that reporting gap for some time. In 2013, we released eMVision, an email analytics tool that integrates Tableau Software with ExactTarget (and soon other ESPs) for a data visualization tool like no other in the industry.

And this leads me to my prediction: Perhaps third parties like ClickMail are the answer to the email analytics gap. Maybe that’s how email reporting ease will finally catch up with the ESPs’ other, easier front-end functionality?

Whoever does the development of such tools, whether ESPs or third parties like ClickMail, we can’t deny the demand exists when almost 80% of marketers say an intuitive interface and robust reporting are both “must haves”!


P.S. To use the ESPinator for a list of your top three email service provider choices, simply set aside a few minutes to answer the questions and get your results.


About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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