As an email marketer, your first goal is to establish meaningful contact with members of your target audience.
However, your work doesn’t end once you have. After contact has been established, the real work begins to carefully manage your communications with your subscribers and nurture their relationships with your brand. Doing this requires you to keep a close eye on user behavior to adapt your approach to suit each customer.
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Needless to say, this can be challenging when working at scale. Fortunately, as a modern email marketer, you have tools on hand to help you assess and cater to the needs of your subscriber base with ease.
Webhooks are an example of such a tool.
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What is a webhook? How does a webhook differ from an API? How webhooks work Common webhook tracking events Conclusion
What is a webhook?
A webhook, also called an HTTP callback, is an automated notification that one application sends to another when a specific action takes place. Webhooks are commonplace in all industries as they help users and businesses alike have access to important information in real-time.
In email marketing, webhooks can help senders track the data of email events so they can report and analyze that data efficiently. This email event data can give a marketer a clear and direct insight into the overall health of their campaign.
Webhooks are a valuable tool because they are highly customizable and can allow email marketers to respond more dynamically to delivery issues and the needs of their subscribers.
How does a webhook differ from an API?
There is some similarity between a webhook and an API (Application Programming Interface), primarily in terms of their function. Webhooks and APIs both enable applications to exchange data. However, they work in different ways.
APIs enable systems to engage in two-way communication through a method called polling. With polling, one system periodically sends a request to the other asking it to send new data to keep information up to date.
Conversely, webhooks are for one-way communication between applications. Instead of requiring one application to prompt an exchange from the other with a request, data is shared automatically because the exchange is triggered by a specific event.
Aside from providing data in real-time, webhooks are typically simpler and quicker to set up than APIs. Moreover, because webhooks allow data to be shared immediately rather than at fixed intervals, they can help you avoid having to deal with cumbersome bodies of data.
For these reasons, webhooks are regularly used by email marketers.
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How webhooks work
When a trigger event occurs on the webhook provider application (usually an external system such as a third-party app or website), the webhook collects the relevant data on the event and sends it to the receiver (the URL configured by the user) as an HTTP request.
Common webhook tracking events
Because different ESPs (Email Service Providers) offer different levels of webhook support, the events that you can track will vary somewhat depending on which sending solution you choose to use. Nonetheless, there exists a degree of commonality across most major ESPs.
The following are some email events that are commonly used as triggers for webhooks:
- Successful deliveries.
- Delivery failures.
- Email opens.
- Links clicked.
- Spam reports.
- Soft bounces.
- Hard bounces.
- Contact updates.
Webhooks are notifications sent from one application to another in response to user-defined trigger events.
Unlike APIs, webhooks use a one-way communication system and work in real-time to provide key data in a simple format. This eliminates the need for you to parse large bodies of data by providing direct insights that allow you to monitor the performance of your campaigns and quickly get to the bottom of issues that may affect your email deliverability.
In email marketing, adaptability, and responsiveness are crucial to success, and webhooks can play a key role in helping you become more dynamic in your approach.