July 22, 2011

Some useful email metrics

Over the last few years, we have dealt with numerous clients and one thing that we notice about people who start using email marketing for the first time is that they usually have very high expectations about this advertising channel. “Delivery rate of “only” 99%? Open rates barely scrape by 30%? Click-throughs are in single digits? You must be kidding me!” is how more emotional clients react to the results of their first campaign.

In fact, email marketing was, is and will remain for many years to come one of the most reliable advertising channels in retail industry. While at first glance seeing that only 6% of your subscribers clicked on a link in newsletter might be depressing, you should put things in the context. Did you know how many clicks you would have gotten on AdWords? Google says the average is around 2%. What about banner ads? 0.2-0.3%! Facebook? Even worse, 0.051%!

You, see just a few numbers can change perception entirely. For this reason, we thought you might be interested to learn about the latest trends in email marketing published MailerMailer, who surveyed more that 1,600 clients. The numbers reveal some interesting facts that you can apply in creating your next email campaign.

Email open rates, that is the number of recipients who enable images in their emails, continued to fall dropping from 14% in 2007 to 11% today. One reason for that is a growing fatigue among subscribers: average users today is getting 61% more emails than (s)he was getting a few years back. Having said that, the open rate also depends on the industry – non-profits and transportation have highest open rates – and list size – list with fewer than 500 recipients are opened much more frequently than mass emails aimed at 5,000 people.

Click-through rate (CTR) measures how many recipients actually click on links within a newsletter. Things are more varied here: average CTR recovered to 2.9% after a temporary dip in previous years. Companies are getting more successful in crafting compelling calls-to-action and making newsletter content relevant, which drives people to click on an offer. Consumer and transportation industries showed the best results, achieving CTRs of 4.9% and 4.6% respectively.

Bounce rates is another important metric and it measures how many of your emails go undelivered. Bounces can be hard, in which case you have a wrong email address (or it was shut down by provider), or soft, which means that your message could not be delivered temporarily, for example, due to the fact that recipients inbox is full. Bounce rate is very much dependent on how often you send emails. The study has found that companies sending newsletters less than once per month saw bounce rate of 5.1%, while those sending emails daily boasted the rate of 0.4%.

Another interesting finding concerns personalization of newsletters, that is including recipient’s name in the email. When personalization is done in the subject field that tends to have a very negative result on open rates: only 4.1% of recipients open such emails vs. 11.4% for regular emails. The most compelling explanation is that people tend to misinterpret such emails as spam and act accordingly. On the other hand, including person’s name within the body of the message has a somewhat positive effect, because open rate goes up to 12.6%.

We hope these rough numbers will help you to wrap your mind around your first campaigns and help you see how well you are doing when it comes to sending newsletters!

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