Every business needs customers for their product or service. NYC-based Fluent has built their business around helping brands grow their customer base.
Every business needs customers for their product or service. NYC-based Fluent has built their business around helping other companies grow their active user base — and Plivo is one of their favorite tools.
Sharita Passariello, Fluent’s Senior CRM Manager overseeing all first-party customer relationship management for the company, explains the process: Consumers register on Fluent’s digital media properties to discover new offers from the world’s leading brands. Fluent captures first-party, self-reported insights from users and builds custom audiences based on those insights. They then use predictive modeling to target audience segments, matching consumers with offers and serving relevant content to drive business outcomes for brand partners.
Fluent uses channels like SMS and email to communicate with users who have provided consent to be contacted and who could be a good fit for their growth marketing partners. The company’s main competitive advantage, in addition to the number of users it can supply to other businesses, is the quality of those users. “We’re driving high-intent customers who are going to be long-term brand loyalists and provide a longer lifetime value for our clients,” Passariello says.
The SMS piece of the puzzle
Fluent uses multiple cloud communication platforms to send SMS messages and find the best routes. In 2021, Fluent was struggling with deliverability in Canada and needed to find a quick solution. “Someone who had previous experience with Plivo at another company referred us to you,” Passariello says. ”From there it was almost a match made in heaven. We started using the SMS API in Canada, and now use Plivo for a lot of our US traffic too, with plans to expand to our other markets, including the UK and Australia.”
Plivo solved the deliverability problem, enabling Fluent to connect with its users using tailored SMS messaging. “From August to November 2021 we were able to effectively double our SMS revenue in Canada — it increased by 106%,” Passariello reports. “And we were able to increase our average revenue per user by 37% thanks to Plivo’s strong deliverability rates.”
What makes Plivo such a good fit for Fluent? “In Canada we use Plivo’s Powerpack feature, and that makes everything easier.” Powerpack automatically distributes message traffic across a pool of source numbers while keeping businesses compliant with per-day and per-second throughput limits. “We don’t have to worry about sending speeds or pooling numbers together; everything is already done for us,” Passariello says. “We just ping one Powerpack and Plivo does all the other work.”
That ease of use applies to writing code with Plivo’s APIs as well. “Ease of use for the API was important for our developers, and in fact we were up and running within a day or two of getting started.”
Beyond ease of use, Plivo offers other key advantages to companies like Fluent. “The absolute best benefit for us is the level of transparency we receive in Plivo reporting,” Passariello says. “It’s critical for us to check the SMS logs and see the messages that were delivered and undelivered, and see why messages were undelivered. For instance, if I see a spike in undelivered messages, I’m on the phone with our customer success manager and he’s helping me immediately. Without that transparency I would be trying to optimize campaigns blindly. The deliverability reports are instrumental in troubleshooting — they’ve saved me hours of guesswork.”
Passariello also gets help from the Plivo team. “I appreciate the timely and thorough responses I’ve received from support,” she says. “SMS is an unpredictable space and channel. I’ve had a wonderful customer service experience with both our CSM and the customer support team. Sometimes we don’t have an immediate answer but I never feel like they’re not on top of it or they’re not prioritizing us. I truly feel like Plivo is working in Fluent’s best interest, and that takes my worries away.”
Case in point: 10DLC
One area where Fluent — and many businesses that send text messages over long codes in the US — have needed support is with 10DLC. “When 10DLC got introduced into the SMS ecosystem there were a lot of unknowns,” Passariello says. “Everyone was a little confused and needed some handholding. Even the carriers are still figuring things out.
“I’ve gone through the 10DLC registration process with several vendors, and I see lots of advantages to Plivo’s approach.
“I love the self-service console and ease of use. With some other providers, I can’t sign on to their portal and register a brand or a campaign and have it approved within a couple of hours. It’s really nice that with Plivo I can go in and do it myself, and the turnaround time for approvals seems very quick. Most of the time I can get a campaign up and running within a day or two. In the rare situation when I haven’t had a quick turnaround I can open up a support ticket and talk to my CSM. The team communicates why the campaign is delayed and always resolves the issue in a timely manner.”
News you can use from the console
Of course the Plivo console is good for more than managing 10DLC. “I like being able to see brand and campaign scores and the throughput allocation — everything is easily accessible. If I accidentally reach my daily sending limit I get that response so I know what happened. It takes out the guesswork; I know exactly what I need to do to right the ship and optimize my campaign.
“I seriously love the console. I’m in that console all day!”
And, Passariello says, Plivo pricing hits the sweet spot too. “Plivo has very competitive pricing. You have volume discounts, which helps us send messages at an effective cost.” But competitive pricing isn’t the most important criterion for Fluent. “The reports, the ease of use, the optimizations, the console — those are premium benefits for me.”
Passariello expects to deploy Plivo in other countries as her company grows. “Fluent has plans to launch tests with Plivo in locations outside of the US and Canada, including the UK and Australia. I imagine Plivo will be right there alongside us with the SMS piece as we enter new markets.”
Passariello is also ready to explore using short codes for messaging. Short codes not only support a higher throughput than 10DLC and provide excellent deliverability, they also offer branding and customer loyalty advantages. “As a consumer,” she says, “I feel getting a message from a short code makes the brand feel more legitimate.”
Whatever the future holds, it seems as if Fluent and Plivo will be traveling there together. For other companies considering using a cloud communications platform, Passariello says, “My advice is to find a provider that’s easy to use and gives you transparency into reporting and troubleshooting at a good cost.” For Fluent, a partnership with Plivo was a fantastic fit.