Apple Mail Privacy & Your Email Marketing


Over the last 10 years, people have been speculating that email is dead. With the rise of social media and marketplaces such as Amazon, you might be tempted to believe it.

And then, in June 2021, Apple announced that their native mail app would not allow brands to collect email data, such as open rates (a critical metric to gauge the success of an email marketing campaign).

What does this announcement mean for brands? How can email marketers and brands work within these new changes to still gauge success? Let’s dive in.

Apple Privacy Breakdown

Last year, Apple revealed that their native mail app will prevent brands from collecting email data such as open rates and location. As privacy concerns continue to increase among consumers, Apple (among other behemoths such as Facebook) is updating its cookie tracking and privacy policies in order to protect consumers’ data.

Impact on Campaign Success

This change came as a shock to some email marketers, who often rely on open rates and click-to-open rates to gauge their email campaigns’ success.

However, that doesn’t mean your campaigns are any less successful! You just won’t be able to measure success based on the open rate alone.

Now, you’ll have to rely on other metrics to gauge success. When you’re reporting to your manager or leadership, you will need to start conditioning them to see success in a new light. There are plenty of other metrics to look at — so let’s dive into them!

The New Metrics

Historically, open rates and clickthrough rates have been the go-to metrics for email marketers. Now, both of those stats are skewed — so what’s a marketer to do? We have a few metrics you can track instead.

Negative Indicators

Metrics such as unsubscribes, spam reports, and bounce rate all indicate that something might be off in your campaign — either irrelevant content or poor list management. Paying attention to these metrics will improve your deliverability rates and give you an indication of what content is working and what’s not.

If you have a higher percentage of unsubscribes or spam reports for a specific email, that is likely an indication that your email content was not resonating with your list. Consider editing your content to better connect with your list. A persona workshop or refresher could be helpful here!

A high bounce rate indicates that your list needs additional maintenance and should be cleaned. Most email providers can help you easily remove hard-bounced email addresses with the click of a button! List maintenance is key to your email campaign health.


Ye olde standby — click rate! This metric has been used by email marketers alongside open rates in order to measure engagement once the email has been opened. Apple mail still allows you to track clicks, which is great news for email marketers.

Keep in mind that your click-to-open rate will be skewed due to not being able to correctly track open rates. Unless you segment your lists (more on that later), you should monitor individual clicks instead of the click through rate.


If you’re an ecommerce business, you’re likely already tracking the impact your email sends have on your revenue. This metric will become even more important now that open rates are no longer viable.

Most email platforms, like Klaviyo, can attribute revenue to your individual campaigns so you can understand the impact your emails have on your overall revenue.


Some email marketers have turned to using replies as an indicator of engagement and success. If you ask for a reply, and someone takes this action, that means they have read and digested your email and now want to engage with you. 

You might offer a prize incentive for replying — for example, each person who replies gets entered into a drawing for a gift card. While this plan certainly won’t apply to every email, it is a great way to incentivize engagement for your campaigns.

This suggestion certainly isn’t right for every brand. If you are a B2B brand or have a very involved customer service team, this could be the right choice. But the last thing you want is for these replies to go unanswered!

What if I Still Want to Track Open Rates?

We recommend not getting too attached to the idea of tracking open rates — privacy concerns will only continue to increase, so other mail providers might follow Apple’s lead!

With that being said, there are still ways to currently track open rates for non-Apple mail clients. If your provider allows you to distinguish between those who open on Apple devices, you can separate them into their own segment or report and email them separately, so your non-Apple data will not be skewed.

This tactic might help you determine how your open rate is performing overall, but it’s not necessarily something you would want to report on with significance.

Is Email Marketing Dead?

Hopefully, you’ve gathered by now that email marketing is far from dead! The open rate metric might be on its way out, but email marketing is far from being ineffective. 

In fact, as privacy concerns across social media increase and brands are unable to track the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns, email marketing becomes increasingly more important.

With email marketing, you have the opportunity to leverage first-party data and directly communicate with your subscriber list. With strategic planning, you can maintain communication with subscribers that care about your brand most and build up this retention channel as a critical pillar of your marketing stack. There are still other metrics that can show the success of your campaigns, so don’t be afraid to lean into those as well!

Need help navigating the world of email marketing? Our email & SMS team are here to help! Reach out via the form below for more information.

Blue Wheel Wins Four Stevie® Awards


Blue Wheel was named the winner of two Gold Stevie® Awards in the Marketing category and two Bronze Stevie® Awards in the Management category in The 20th Annual American Business Awards® today.

The American Business Awards are the U.S.A.’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.

Gold Stevie®, Marketer of the Year

Dayna Henninger

Dayna Henninger, our Director of Social, received a Gold Stevie® for Marketer of the Year. Her work on growing her department, expanding our influencer and affiliate marketing efforts, and heading our clients’ expansions to TikTok.

“Dayna is clearly a brilliant marketing professional! She has had an incredible impact, as shown by the growth under watch.”

Gold Stevie®, Marketing Campaign of the Year (Beauty)

Banila to the Bone

Piggybacking off the previous award, Dayna led her team and Banila Co to win a Gold Stevie® for Marketing Campaign of the Year in the Beauty category. Their work on TikTok with their #BanilaToTheBone campaign utilized micro-influencers and yielded impressive results.

“Great example of influencer marketing at work on TikTok! Congratulations on driving such great growth for your client.”

Bronze Stevie®, Woman of the Year (Business Service Industries)

Tayler Carpenter

This next nominee is listed as our Director of Advertising, but has since been promoted to VP of Advertising — only proving her worthiness for this award! Tayler Carpenter has grown her team as well as her department’s revenue. As the judges stated, she is a huge asset to our team!

“Tayler has found a way to make her career work. I am very impressed by her ability to dive into the beauty marketing industry. She is a great asset for Blue Wheel.”

Bronze Stevie®, Achievement in Management (Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations)

Advertising Training for New Hires at Blue Wheel

As part of her department’s growth, Tayler and her team leads have created a training program for new hires to their advertising team. This in-depth training allows recent college graduates with little advertising experience to learn on the job and gain an incredible skillset.

“A great program and a great example of what companies need to implement to train and prepare new workers for their business… Meaningful, hands-on experience! Great job!”

We are so proud of all our team members who contributed to these awards! Thank you, all, for your hard work and commitment to our clients!

The Importance of Amazon Reviews + How to Improve Your Review Strategy in 2022


When Amazon staunchly committed to becoming Earth’s most customer-centric company, it ultimately made the same decision for you. Because in order to succeed on the intensely competitive Amazon marketplace where customers always come first, you simply must follow suit or fail to ever get off the ground. There’s no greater evidence of this than the prominence —and sheer power of— your Amazon product reviews. 

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of Amazon reviews and share top ways to improve your own review strategy. Let’s get to it!

Why Are Amazon Reviews So Important?

Amazon is a notoriously crowded marketplace with no shortage of products to choose from. That being said, the risk of buyer’s remorse is very real, and the vast majority of shoppers need more reassurance that a product that they can’t physically interact with before purchasing won’t end up being a big disappointment.

Amazon reviews, which can be provided in the form of one-tap star ratings, a written comment, or video, provide social proof that a product is (or isn’t) worth purchasing from the people who have already done so. 

While much has been said about the trustworthiness of this peer feedback, reviews are still proving to play a pivotal role in the consumer decision-making process with 79% of shoppers reading Amazon reviews before making a purchase. 

Amazon facilitates this by making review numbers readily available to all customers. They’re one of the first things shoppers see on your listing and when your product is shown in Amazon’s search results. 

If the quality and quantity of those reviews are strong and your conversion rate is high enough, this will signal to Amazon that you’re also helping to put the customer first. As such, Amazon will give these products greater visibility, allowing you to rank higher and more easily convert clicks to orders.

How Can Reviews Help My Advertising?

The relationship between your reviews and advertising mainly involves your product’s retail readiness. Is your listing set up properly? Does it include all the information consumers need to make a decision? This is what being retail ready means.

You’ll want to optimize (i.e. improve) every single part of your product page and selling strategy, from your content and images down to your inventory procedures and pricing. And, you guessed it, your reviews also play a key role. 

To be retail-ready on Amazon, products need to have a 3.5-star rating and at least 15 good reviews. If a product falls below that star rating, it will become ineligible for certain advertising options because Amazon no longer wants to prioritize products that don’t look to be enhancing the customer experience.

Simply put, when reviews so strongly influence conversion, sending ad traffic to a product without strong reviews doesn’t make much sense.

3 Tips for Improving Your Amazon Review Strategy

First, let’s recap: we know that reviews legitimize a product to potential customers and impact its product ranking. We also know that reviews improve conversion, which will, in turn, improve your advertising performance. But what many sellers don’t know is how to get more reviews — and better ones at that. Here are three strategies that can help you do so.

Be Proactive and Send Out Product Review Requests

One of the best ways to get more product reviews is to ask for them. Because let’s face it, when left to their own devices, most shoppers won’t go out of their way to leave a review. Your odds increase exponentially when you give them a little nudge in the form of a polite and perfectly timed review request. 

Amazon does send out its own solicitation for ratings, but not for every order. You also have no control over these messages, but you do if you send them yourself.

As an Amazon seller, you’re allowed to send proactive permitted messages to request seller feedback and product reviews through Buyer-Seller Messaging, Amazon’s Request a Review button, or with third-party tools that work with Amazon’s Selling Partner API. All Amazon asks is that you follow the rules. You may not, under any circumstances:

  • Offer free gifts or other incentives for positive reviews
  • Outright ask for positive reviews, even without an incentive
  • Instruct customers to buy from your website or visit another shopping site
  • Ask buyers to contact you directly if they’re unhappy instead of leaving a negative review

Manually sending review requests through Amazon requires you to log into Seller Central, find the order, and select the buyer for each request that you send. Most sellers need a faster, more efficient way, which is why so many rely on feedback and review automation tools like FeedbackFive by eComEngine for help.

FeedbackFive connects to your Seller Central account and sends out review requests on your behalf to people who have purchased your products. Prebuilt campaign options, including Amazon’s official Request a Review and your own customized Buyer-Seller Messaging template, make it easy to request reviews from more buyers in a fraction of the time it would take you to do so yourself.

Pay Close Attention to the Timing of Your Requests

What makes a request perfectly timed? Well, it will really depend on your product, but you want your review request to reach someone when they’re experiencing peak excitement about the product and the value it brings them.

Amazon requires you to send requests within 30 days of order completion, but that doesn’t mean it has to be done right away. In fact, most products would benefit from having buyers spend a little more time with them before receiving a very important (and very public) rating of their quality and performance.

In our experience, here are some general timing guidelines for requests that have historically been very successful for sellers:

  • 5-7 days after delivery for smaller consumables
  • 8-10 days after delivery for sports and outdoor items and leisure products
  • 14-21 days after delivery for larger, longer-lasting products
  • 30 days after delivery for beauty products, vitamins, and supplements

Seasonal products and holiday items are often exceptions to these rules as they’re typically ordered well ahead of time. If you sell these types of items, you’ll want to change the timing of your requests to be closer to when they’ll actually be used. 

FeedbackFive users can easily adjust the timing of their emails by setting up custom Campaign Rules for specific SKUs or ASINs sold. Segmenting your buyers in this way allows you to perfectly tailor your message according to what was purchased.

So far we’ve discussed a few key tactics for improving the quantity of your reviews, but Amazon also closely examines the quality of your ratings. Here’s why you should, too.

Monitoring your product reviews for common trends helps you stay in tune with the reputation of your products, and subsequently, that of your Amazon business as a whole. Armed with this information, you can begin to:

Improve your existing products: Find out what’s working well and what isn’t straight from your customers themselves. Could updating your product photos or listing content solve an issue spotlighted in a negative review? Or, if the problem is widespread enough, does something need to be addressed with your supplier?

Identify new product opportunities: While not every review will end up being helpful, finding those that are can be a boost to your profits. Pay attention to what buyers want and look for ways that you can meet their needs. This could be in the form of a new product line or even creating kits or bundles with your existing products.

Strengthen inventory planning: When you regularly see a steady stream of satisfied shoppers, you’ve likely got a winning product on your hands. Protect it at all costs! Make sure you keep this item in stock and watch out for any sudden drops in reviews that may signal something went wrong.

In addition to monitoring your own ASINs, it’s also beneficial to keep an eye on those of a few close competitors as this intel can help inform your own strategy.

But keeping track of all this information can be hard. Seller Central doesn’t do you any favors, and checking individual product pages even once a week is a big chore. 

FeedbackFive also has flexible product review management plans that make it quick and easy to monitor and analyze your reviews from one central location. Just identify the ASINs you want to track and the tool will automatically begin compiling a detailed review history for that item. Sort and filter your review data to find what you need.

In addition, you can turn on FeedbackFive’s text and/or email alerts for negative reviews to know much sooner when something needs your attention.

Start Getting More Amazon Reviews Today

With the right review strategy, your Amazon business can flourish. Continue to ask for reviews and, once you have them, dig deeper into why you received that rating and what you can do about it. This can help shed light on how to get better ratings from more buyers.

eComEngine is offering Blue Wheel readers 30 day free trials for FeedbackFive and RestockPro by clicking these links or using coupon code BLUEWHEEL.

About the Author

Ellen Sipp-Paris is the Content Manager at eComEngine. Her goal is to help educate Amazon sellers so they feel more confident in what can be a complicated marketplace. When she’s not writing, she enjoys taking nature walks, reading, and going to concerts.

Why are Influencer Prices Going Up?


In 2022, brands are investing more than ever into influencer marketing. It’s become a staple in overall modern marketing strategy, is proven to spread awareness beyond what’s possible for brands alone, and can even drive substantial revenue.

However, what once was a largely unregulated market has turned into a coveted means of advertising. Influencers are booked out for months, becoming more selective about who they work with, and — most notably — are raising their prices. In our work with influencers on behalf of our clients in the last year, we’ve found that influencer prices have nearly doubled.

So why are influencer prices going up? What caused this increase, and what can brands do about it?

Why are Influencer Prices Going Up?

There are numerous reasons why influencer prices are going up (we’ll get into the specifics of why shortly). One of the overarching reasons for this increase is due to the fact that it’s simply an in-demand market — more brands are looking to partner with influencers, so influencers feel comfortable raising their prices.

Recognizing Worth

Because influencer marketing has now been around for more than a few years and the demand is so high, influencers are recognizing their value in promoting products. They’re also less siloed than they used to be and tend to be a part of community groups or even agencies where they exchange tips, tricks, advice, and rates with other influencers.

Adding Value

In addition, influencers are becoming more aware of additional value they can add to a brand’s overall marketing portfolio. User-generated content tends to perform well in a brand’s email, website, social advertisements, etc. and influencers know that their content is being used to drive sales. Due to the value that they are adding beyond organic social, they want to be compensated. 

Content Type

Additionally, influencers are charging more for the services they provide based on the time that goes into creating various types of content. With the rise in popularity of video content through TikTok and Instagram Reels, influencers are charging more for two key reasons:

  • More time and effort are required to create and edit
  • A larger number of people are reached through this type of content

So, while there are certainly benefits to securing video content in conjunction with your influencer marketing efforts, it comes at a higher price.


From groceries to gasoline, prices are going up across the board in the US. As the cost of living increases, the price of collaborating with influencers increases as well. Just as businesses raise their employees’ salaries to account for rising cost of living, influencers — who are in charge of their own salaries — must make adjustments to their pricing as well.

How Should Brands Work with Influencers’ New Prices?

Brands are left wondering how they can afford to continue working with influencers who have raised their prices. Of course, there are some practical ways to pivot your strategy and reallocate your budgets, but here are a few things to consider for your influencer marketing efforts despite prices going up.

Think of It As A Content Shoot

In addition to the awareness and potential sales benefits of working with influencers, consider the content that you are getting out of the collaboration. It can be extremely costly to create brand content on your own when it comes to sourcing models, locations, photographers, and editors. When you work with an influencer, you are paying them to stage, photograph, and edit those photos — at a fraction of what you would pay for a professional photoshoot. 

So, when you consider the saved cost in that regard, working with influencers can actually save you money (especially if you pay for additional rights usage, which we’ll get into later).

Only Pay for What You’ll Use

As we discussed, using influencer content in social advertising or email marketing can increase costs as influencers are beginning to charge more for additional usage for their content (often a monthly fee for a specified amount of time).

To streamline their efforts, many brands require blanketed usage rights upfront for each and every collaboration, but sometimes end up not actually using all of the influencer content they get in their marketing efforts – therefore wasting that additional spend on the rights.

Our recommendation is to request separate rates for organic and paid/digital usage and have your original contract be for organic use only. After you receive the content and decide you’d like to use it, reach back out to the influencer to get the paid/digital rights. 

Offer Other Incentives

Brands may not have an extremely large budget to pay influencers up front, but there are other ways to incentivize influencers to collaborate with your brand through commissions. By creating a commission-based compensation structure, influencers can get a cut of the sales they are driving, which creates a win-win situation.

Because influencers make commission off of each sale associated with their account (whether through an affiliate link or an affiliate code), they are more inclined to post regularly about the product, rather than a one-time post.

What’s Next?

The influencer economy is only going to continue to grow. While some theorize that the influencer bubble will eventually burst, it likely won’t happen any time soon. As you continue to invest in your influencer marketing efforts, keep in mind that you are doing just that — investing.

Influencer marketing is not just a fad or a passing trend. It is a viable and successful means of advertising that brands of all sizes can take advantage of to grow their business.

Looking to partner with an agency to manage your influencer marketing? Reach out to the social team at Blue Wheel for more information.

Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER): Everything You Need to Know


When it comes to tracking your digital advertising efforts, there’s usually one metric to rule them all — ROAS. However, there’s a new metric on the block. Meet MER, or Marketing Efficiency Ratio. More and more businesses are beginning to use MER to gauge success, but what is MER? And what’s the difference between MER and ROAS? When should you use MER?

We’re sharing all the details you need to know about MER.

What is MER?

Marketing Efficiency Ratio, or MER, is a metric that allows you to see the impact of how all marketing channels are working together. Rather than just calculating based on the direct revenue associated with your ad campaign, you calculate based on total company revenue. This allows you to take the halo effect into account.

(If you’re advertising on Amazon, maybe this comparison will help: MER is the equivalent to TACoS on Amazon.)


If you’re wondering what the difference is between MER and ROAS, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Both metrics have a similar calculation, with a few key differences:

ROAS = Ad revenue / Ad spend

MER = Total revenue / Total ad spend

Traditionally, ROAS looks at ad spend and revenue from a 1:1 level, regardless if you’re spending money on a display awareness campaign or a conversion-focused retargeting campaign on Facebook. This has led to hasty decisions to pause campaigns, and can also stunt growth before it happens. Pair that with IDFA updates, cookie loss, and the dreaded IOS14 update, you’re dealing with a recipe for measurement disaster.

ROAS is still useful for calculating individual campaign performance comparatively, but not effective for comparing the businesses growth efficiency historically (pre-IOS14 and when more data was available for advertising platforms). For a more holistic view of your business, MER is the better metric.

Why Should I Use MER?

As ecommerce (and commerce in general) becomes much more holistic, it’s important to have a metric that reflects that. The customer journey is no longer linear, so you need a metric that takes into account all touchpoints your customer may have had before making a purchase.

MER looks at total site revenue and total digital spend (or all spend, if applicable). The goal is to be above a certain MER, just like with ROAS.

When to Use MER

If you’re responsible for presenting data to show the success of your marketing efforts, you will likely use both MER and ROAS for different scenarios. MER is best used when looking at your overall marketing efforts across all channels — Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. However, if you’d like to report on the results of a specific campaign, ROAS will be the best choice.

An Example Scenario

Let’s give an example of how you would use MER in reporting the results of your marketing efforts.

Let’s say you ran a Pinterest campaign for your brand’s newest product. Pinterest campaigns typically take 30 days to ramp up depending on your budget size, so your ROAS on Pinterest is likely low during this initial period.

However, over the course of those four weeks, those ads are driving new users to your site, who are then…

  • retargeted on Facebook
  • look for a review of your product on Amazon by clicking on a Sponsored Product Ad
  • search your brand and click on a Google ad
  • purchase from your website

When they eventually convert, every channel gets credit thanks to MER. So, even though their initial exposure was on Pinterest and their last click was from a Google ad, every channel gets credit for contributing to the purchase.

Have more questions about MER? The Blue Wheel team members are experts. Reach out to learn more about working with our advertising team!

2021 Cyber Weekend Learnings


Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a week behind us and we’ve all had a little time to take a breather, it’s time to dive into what we learned from Cyber Weekend in 2021.

Of course, this is a year unlike any other, due to the events in 2020 and the eCommerce boom that coincided with it. The question on everyone’s mind is how 2021 compared, what we can learn from this year, and what to look forward to in the rest of the holiday season!

2020 Was an Anomaly

The question on everyone’s mind was whether or not 2020 would be a standalone year of record-breaking online sales, or whether the momentum would continue into 2021.

According to our data, 2020 was indeed an outlier — “Compared to 2020, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday combined sales were down by 9% on average,” says Tayler Carpenter, Director of Advertising at Blue Wheel.

We believe that this slight downturn is due to a few factors:

  • Shoppers taking advantage of in-person Cyber Weekend deals
  • eCommerce boom of 2020 tapering off
  • Fatigue from deals

2021 Outpaced 2019

For many brands and agencies, the true test of gauging the success of BFCM in 2021 is comparing this year’s numbers to 2019, rather than 2020. Since 2020 was an anomaly, comparing to 2019 gives a more accurate picture of growth and success.

Our data suggests that 2021 saw an increase in sales overall compared to 2019. Carpenter notes, “Compared to 2019, 2020 sales for those same 3 days were up 48%. But 2021 compared to 2019 saw a 26% increase in sales for those dates.”

Cyber Monday had the Largest Growth

Of the big three sales days — Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday — Cyber Monday had the largest growth from 2019, up 34%.

This isn’t totally surprising based on the data we’ve presented so far. Because of in-person deals and online-exclusive deals on Cyber Monday, it’s not surprising that sales on Cyber Monday would have the greatest increase out of all three days.

However, Black Friday also saw strong online numbers — higher than Cyber Monday for many of our clients. Black Friday was still the strongest online shopping day out of the three, with Cyber Monday close behind.

CPCs Were Up Across the Board

On Google, Cyber 5 (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) CPCs were up 8% in 2021 compared to 2019. On Facebook, they were up 42%.

Increased competition most likely led to this, as more brands began relying on their eCommerce business and accompanying advertising efforts to drive sales. The Facebook attribution update in October 2021 as well as the iOs14 update could have contributed, as fewer people are allowing apps to track them — making it more expensive to advertise to fewer people.

Want help navigating Cyber Weekend in 2022? Reach out to the advertising team at Blue Wheel