PowerInbox Saves AOPA Hours a Week in Ad Production to Boost Newsletter ROI
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a group of some 300,000+ pilots and aviation enthusiasts, operates a number of media properties aimed at promoting the freedom to fly, safety and legislation to protect recreational aviation and the aviation lifestyle. Its main hub, AOPA.org, is supported by print magazines, Pilot, Pilot Turbine, and Flight Training, along with Internet TV shows, social channels and a mobile app.
The organization also operates a series of 9 email newsletters, 6 of which are monetized using PowerInbox’s email monetization platform with Google Ad Manager (GAM) integration.
The Need for Speed
“We’d been using OpenX ad server prior to PowerInbox, but it was a manual process across the board,” said Dan Teore, AOPA digital advertising specialist. “PowerInbox’s integration with Google Ad Manager was a primary factor in our decision to make the switch. Our email newsletter ads are part of our overall revenue stream, the way print and website advertising is, so we needed something that would make the process more streamlined and efficient.”
APOA’s volume is substantial. The monetized newsletter program features 3 weekly and 3 biweekly sends with a total subscription base of 308,100. The largest, ePilot, is received by 230,000 weekly subscribers. In total, Dan and his team send nearly 1.6 million newsletters per month, some featuring as many as 20 ad units.
“By default, PowerInbox maxed out at 10, but the sales and operations teams were able to customize the system for us, giving us the ability to fill all of our ad slots in each newsletter,” Dan said.
PowerInbox Delivers Flexibility & Major Time Savings
“The flexibility of the system is great, and we now have so many more options,” said Alyssa Cobb, AOPA director of eMedia. “Our ads are sold by circulation base, by category or by region, and because they serve dynamically with PowerInbox, we can serve multiple ads in one slot based on the subscriber details. We didn’t have that option with OpenX.”
Aside from the flexibility of the PowerInbox platform, one of the biggest benefits the AOPA team has realized is the immense time savings.
“PowerInbox has substantially reduced the amount of time it takes to get things done,” Dan said. “Before it would take me 5-6 minutes to load each ad, and there might be 20 ads to load. Now I can load 5 ads in 6 minutes. We were hardcoding, wrapping OpenX code around images to create the ads. Now it’s all delivered dynamically.”
The switch to PowerInbox has essentially eliminated an entire segment of newsletter production and reduced the headaches associated with manipulating code. AOPA eMedia production assistant Elizabeth Linares estimates it’s saved at least 3 hours combined in the testing phase for the ePilot and eFlight Training newsletters and 2 hours combined for the Drone Pilot and Travel Pilot publications. “It’s so much faster, I feel like I’m missing something. There would be days when I’d just update code all day long. Now, it frees up time to do other things. The workflow is so much better.”
In addition to production efficiency, the cache update speed is much faster with PowerInbox compared to OpenX. “If we discover a typo in an ad, we can update it and push it through immediately and dynamically. PowerInbox with GAM delivers real-time response,” Dan said. “With OpenX, we had to wait 45 minutes for the ad to update. With PowerInbox, it’s maybe a few minutes.”
The Sky’s the Limit on Personalization
Dan says the efficiency improvements will allow the AOPA team to focus more on content and personalization, rather than getting the ads to work. And, they’ve only just begun to scratch the surface. Since PowerInbox also integrates with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which AOPA has also recently added, they have the capability to personalize content based on subscribers’ interaction with the site and with their emails.
“It’s only been a few months since we made the switch, and in the process, we changed everything about the way we produce our emails,” he said. “The PowerInbox technology with GAM and Salesforce integration gives us so much more flexibility that we just didn’t have before.”
On the service side, the AOPA team says they couldn’t be more pleased with the responsiveness and assistance they get from the PowerInbox team.
“Mark has always been very good, has always made us feel like a priority and gets us taken care of as fast as possible,” Dan said. “It makes us feel important and valued that they clearly care about our newsletters as much as we do. And if they don’t have an answer, they’re always eager to try and come up with a different solution.”
“Overall, the PowerInbox platform works great, and the time savings are a major advantage,” Dan said. “If you’re looking to have a good overall experience with an advertising program, PowerInbox provides exactly that.”