Digital Marketing

MailChimp Moves Toward Becoming a Marketing Platform with Facebook Ads Feature

Oriented toward small businesses, the company wants to offer new features that build on the customer and product data stored in its email platform.

Someday soon, MailChimp may have to change its name.

That’s because the email service provider is taking what it describes as its “first major move from email-only to a marketing platform.” It is now allowing its 15 million small business users to create Facebook ad campaigns within its platform.

The Atlanta-based company says that it intends to become a “holistic marketing platform,” and indicates it will offer tools for other channels at some point.

In a blog post accompanying the announcement, CEO Ben Chestnut wrote that customers have told the company it wasn’t just an email platform or a newsletter tool.

Instead, he said, “it’s the thing that helps them look professional.” This insight, he said, “gave us a feeling of inspiration, [recognizing that] we don’t just have to do email.”

Facebook was chosen as the next marketing channel for MailChimp, CMO Tom Klein wrote, because, “after email, Facebook ads are the next most popular choice with our customers for acquiring customers and generating revenue.”

The company noted that small business customers keep their customer data and product photos in MailChimp, and they can sync their online store with the email platform. So, running a Facebook ad campaign using the same customer data and product content makes sense.

MailChimp reports that 16 percent of its users are e-commerce businesses, a percentage that grew by nearly 50 percent in the last year and that accounts for about half of its revenue.

A MailChimp user can target a Facebook ad campaign with a MailChimp email list, a Facebook lookalike audience or a Facebook audience defined by specific attributes. MailChimp’s pre-built segments, including recent customers or active subscribers, can be utilized to find a similar audience on Facebook. The cost of the Facebook ad campaign is only the click-based cost of the ads, which generate reports.

Although MailChimp is singling out this step as being its “game changer,” it has previously added some features that go beyond simple emailing.

Its Abandoned Cart capability, for instance, integrates with leading e-commerce platforms WooCommerce, Shopify and Magento and lets online stores set up automated emails to visitors who have abandoned shopping carts before making purchases.

In June, it launched a new Product Recommendations option, which it said was the only such native offering on an email platform targeted at small businesses. The feature predicts products that a specific site visitor might be interested in, based on previous site visits and sales data, and automates the emailing of the product ideas after a recent purchase or if a customer has been inactive.

Here’s a screen shot from the new Facebook ads feature in MailChimp:

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