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Bacn and Social Media

Posted on 4.30.2008

Transactional Email for Social Web Marketers
By Peter Prestipino

Most Internet professionals are in constant pursuit of the latest and greatest Web solutions. Along with the endless list of products and beta invites, however, comes a new trend. The impact for some is greater connectivity to their online endeavors, while for others it’s a nuisance. It's called Bacn (pronounced bacon) and it's already become a popular and powerful marketing tool.

You may not yet know about Bacn, but you’ve probably received some in your inbox — an electronic message sent by a service that you subscribe to and receive notifications from. Common examples include news alerts, messages from social networking sites and wiki watch lists. It’s not considered SPAM (hence ‘Bacon’) because you originally signed up for the service. Bacn is often referred to as “email you want, but not right now.” Many messages are not read immediately, if at all, and users can become quickly inundated with them, making it hard to keep up. But, taking some time to review these messages can reap significant rewards, especially in the social networking scene.

Web users may find that filtering or setting handling rules within your preferred email client is the best way to handle Bacn. Powering through these notifications when you have time to do so is a useful practice. Doing so means greater organization and gives your social networking an extra push as you are able to handle your social business quickly and without interruption.

Creators of Bacn would be savvy to test these transactional marketing messages, analyze the results and advise their clients on how to best maximize the information contained within them. Unfortunately, little information is currently available for best practices with Bacn. If website owners look to transactional messages from the e-commerce family, however, a good list of must-do’s can be established.

Integration Relevance:

The best Bacn is seamlessly integrated with back-end processes and features dynamic, relevant content. Focusing on the system processes enable Bacn purveyors to trigger timely, customized messages that ensure a consistent experience for users while driving them to act on specific recommendations unique
to their community. However, relevance does not stop at the message. Developing dynamic landing pages (directly into an account for example) is a good way for companies to facilitate action within the system. Including information such as most commented upon information, most recent and most frequently viewed or shared content helps users discover what others are doing on your site and compels them to take similar actions.

Delivery and Visibility:

The risk that most Bacn-centric services run is that these messages could potentially damage the value of their brand, should users feel they are being spammed. And, although far from a business-critical communication, most marketers would agree that Bacn does provide a clear path into the mailboxes and mindshare of consumers. Ensuring these messages are delivered and acted upon is essential. Requesting white-list status for these messages directly from the consumer and actually tracking the deliverability rates will ensure the highest return on your investment. While real-time tracking is difficult to implement on an individual
message basis, aggregate open-rate statistics offer insights into how well these transactional messages are performing.


To be successful with any marketing effort, website owners need the flexibility to test creative approaches and quickly adjust notifications accordingly. Getting locked into a static and formal process or one that’s costly to change will render you powerless to take advantage of what you learn from your delivery and visibility analytics.

Bacn is most likely here to stay. Web users would be wise to start managing their consumption to maximize their online relationships, while Bacn purveyors would be wise to focus on the how these important social and transactional messages are served — focusing on value for the end-user before these messages get relegated to the SPAM bin.

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