Scribd partners with Iterable + Mailgun to engage readers around the globe
In 2007, Scribd launched the world’s first open publishing platform.
In 2007, Scribd launched the world’s first open publishing platform. Today, with over 100 million unique monthly visitors, a digital library of more than 1 million titles, and readers around the globe, Scribd is living its mission to “change the way the world reads.”
Scribd monthly subscribers gain unlimited access to books, audiobooks, magazines, news and more, on the web or through Scribd’s mobile app (available on the App Store and Google Play).
Since the beginning, email has been an integral channel for Scribd for everything from acquisition and engagement to lifecycle management and communications. Under Andrew Harner, Scribd's Lead Manager for Email, email has grown its acquisition share at Scribd ten-fold. In addition, testing across Scribd’s acquisition suite has driven a 10% increase in click rate through optimizing mobile email templates and a 300% increase in click rate from a redesign of Scribd’s welcome email, which combined have resulted in a 30% increase in month-over-month signups across Scribd’s new user acquisition flow.
As Scribd’s product, subscriber base, and global presence grew, the marketing team outgrew its legacy martech stack. In order to efficiently manage messaging volume and leverage user data to power more personalized messaging, the Scribd team modernized its tech stack with Iterable and Mailgun by Sinch.
Wanted: the right tech plus a trust-based partnership
Scribd relies on its tech stack to help tackle challenges common to subscriber-based services: increasing paid subscribers, boosting user engagement (ex. daily sessions and monthly active users), and influencing long-term user retention. But neither its in-house messaging platform nor its previous cloud services provider were robust enough to handle its ever-increasing database.
"We wanted to partner with a company where we could build a relationship founded on trust," Andrew says. This is a quality that can be hard to define in the typical request for proposal (RFP).
But then Andrew walked into an Iterable vendor conference in 2019.
Collaborating with Iterable and Mailgun by Sinch
"We wanted to invest in developing a high velocity of lifecycle testing to build a robust lifecycle program for Scribd," he says.
Mailgun by Sinch's long-standing reputation for consistently reliable email delivery and Iterable's cross-channel automation capabilities, such as those that simplified testing and gave the marketing autonomy and control over the process, helped move the deal forward, Andrew says.
Following the conference, the Scribd team put both platforms through a rigorous and fast-paced implementation. That meant working with the Mailgun and Iterable team to warm up 11 IP addresses and scaling up transactional, triggered lifecycle, and batch marketing sends to about 1 million a day.
Even in the early stages of implementation, "we saw massive improvements out of the gate," Andrew says.
Taking the pain out of the switch
With the wrong technology partners, migrating to a new platform can lead to one headache after another. With Iterable and Mailgun, the process was so painless that Andrew took a two week vacation mid-transition.
"The main warm-up went really well," he says. "It was absolutely painless. We were onboarded seamlessly, equipped with a playbook and guidelines around best practices, including how many emails to send on which day, when to start activating additional IP addresses and how to spread those sends out. Iterable and Mailgun's partnership and close collaboration ensured we were set up for success."
But cooperation is a two-way street, and Scribd was on board with the process, which moved more than 80 transactional and marketing email workflows over 10 weeks and targeted only actively engaged users at first.
"We didn't have any issues with ramping up with Mailgun and Iterable," Andrew says. " In fact, we immediately saw improved attribution because of how Iterable applies link tagging to dynamic links, which helped us understand the full impact of the email program."
Today, Scribd teams with Iterable and Mailgun by Sinch to send over a million marketing and transactional emails daily along with another 10 to 20 million broadcast messages per month across its active user base.
How Iterable + Mailgun help Scribd build stronger lifecycle programs
Like most subscription-based brands, tackling churn is a top priority.
Scribd built several new lifecycle programs in Iterable that target critical points in its user lifecycle, all of which help the company reduce churn, convert more trial users to paid subscribers and increase the engaged user base, including:
An acquisition program that upsells current customers to expand their subscriptions
Workflows targeting canceled and inactive users
An onboarding program that aims to engage trial users quickly – within a day to a week after signing up – to increase frequency and session durations and to reduce inactivity and attrition.
As part of the onboarding program development, the company used Iterable's localization function to quickly set up live onboarding workflows in English, Spanish and Portuguese for users in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Australia and several other key markets.
"We were able to develop and push 14 of these onboarding touchpoints live with translations and market-specific content in a span of just three weeks," Andrew says.
Scribd rapidly advanced their lifecycle programs and Iterable’s platform allowed the team to be agile and iterate with ease, and Mailgun's burst scaling ability provided the stability needed to deploy emails without having to worry about email volume.
An unexpected bonus: A platform that sparks joy
"The people we work with at Iterable are human, they care, and they're invested in our success. Iterable is aware of our needs, cares about our results, and develops programs that meet our specific needs.
The dependability of the platform has always been a major factor. Many of the emails we send are part of our legal compliance–we have an internal SLA around delivery times for key transactional emails like receipts and password receipts. Having that confidence in our transactional sends helps me sleep at night.
Iterable's tooling is accessible enough and intuitive enough that, in the words of my lifecycle marketing manager, ‘it brought the joy back to our work. Yes, it sparks joy.’"