In one of the most comprehensive studies of email metrics to date, email marketing service provider MailerMailer has analyzed data from more than 62,000 newsletter campaigns and more than 1 billion individual emails in total across 2013. The analysis and resulting insights are a must-read for any marketer looking to put together a winning email marketing strategy.
For many years now, email marketing has been a crucial channel for consumer-facing businesses. A new study from MailerMailer, analyzing data from 1.18 billion emails, showed the channel once again proved to be one of the most valuable revenue-generating channels for businesses in 2013.
The findings tally with wider research in the industry: according to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2013 Statistical Fact Book, email campaigns earned an incredible 4,300 percent ROI — or $42.08 for every marketing dollar spent. In addition, a joint study by Adestra/Econsultancy revealed a similarly healthy statistic, with indications that email generated revenues experienced a proportionate growth of 28 percent in 2013. Business owners singled out email marketing as the most successful channel for ROI – attributing an average of 23 percent of their total sales to the medium.
It highlights a need for marketers to ensure their email marketing campaigns are effective and optimized, in order to generate the best possible revenues and conversions. Increasingly this means implementing insights from big data analysis to better understand the way consumers are responding to email marketing campaigns.
MailerMailer’s study covered: open, click, click-to-open, and bounce rates for 34 different industries, and also explored areas such as scheduling, personalization, and subject lines. It revealed metrics and trends about email marketing that make fascinating reading for any marketer.
8 Email Marketing Insights: How, When Consumers Are Clicking
- Open rates peak approximately one hour after delivery, and the majority of opens occur within a few hours of delivery.
- Open rates peak on Mondays.
- There is a positive correlation between click rate and the number of links in an email.
- Sundays experienced the highest click rates in Q1/Q2, whilst Fridays experienced the highest click rates in Q3/Q4.
- Messages scheduled for delivery in the evening produced the highest open and click rates.
- Messages that featured only personalized content experienced the highest open rates.
- Somewhat surprisingly, personalization in both the subject line and message content produced the lowest open rates, but the highest click rates.
- Messages with short subject lines produced the highest open and click rates.
Personalization Improves Open And Click Rates, But Messages Must Provide Real Value To Consumers
Some of the most valuable insights from the MailerMailer study were in how the use of personalization in campaigns could improve a number of email marketing metrics. Personalization includes, for example, the inclusion of a recipient’s unique information or identifiers in either the subject line or body of a message, such as first name, job title, or place of residence.
Overall, personalization of email content yielded the highest average open rate for all email campaigns, with 17.6 percent of all personalized emails being opened. Campaigns without any personalization achieved a lower email open rate of 11.4 percent. Surprisingly, subject-line-only personalization resulted in an even lower open rate of 9.8 percent, and messages with both types of personalization achieved just a 5.3 percent open rate.
It highlights the importance above all that email marketers personalize their message content in order to achieve healthy metrics. While personalization of a message’s subject line reduced open rates, the value of personalized emails has important value in enhancing a message’s click rate. Campaigns without personalization resulted in a click rate of just 1.8 percent, around half of the figure for personalized emails which exceeded 3 percent. While the stats are slightly contradictory in that personalization can negatively affect open rates, this should not undermine the value of the practice.
The concluding section of the report provides valuable context to the findings. Namely, that the negative metrics around personalization may stem from previous practices of email spammers, often using personalization to trick recipients into opening messages. It has created a wariness amongst consumers of opening messages with personalized subject lines.
Ultimately, however, this alone should not put off email marketers from personalizing email messages as the strategy will likely become more effective in forthcoming years, as the prevalence of spam declines, and marketers leverage data on audiences to serve messages of relevant and useful content. Rather than campaigns which implement personalization techniques as a token gesture, marketers should ensure messages are personalized with content that is both genuinely informative and useful for consumers specific needs.
Mobile Growth Continues
Many of the positive email metrics in 2013 are due to the continued growth of mobile email usage. As the following graph from the Knotice Mobile Email Opens Report illustrates, mobile email open rates climbed steadily throughout 2013.
Mobile email closed 2013 with 51 percent of all opens. Additionally, there is no indication that this trend will not continue, mobile traffic continues to grow, and analysts at Cisco expect an 11-fold increase in global mobile data traffic by 2018.
Despite already commanding a majority of the share, only 47 percent of marketers report to having optimized their emails for mobile, with 61 percent professing to only having a “non-existent” or “basic” strategy for email marketing on mobile.
For 2014, above all marketers need to understand the impact mobile technology is having, and will continue to have on email marketing campaigns. As MailerMailer’s report indicates, analyzing available data to better understand and implement a consumer-centric marketing strategy will be key.