- Category: November 2012 - Email & SMS Marketing
Once again we have attempted to summarize the key findings of one of this year’s Email Marketing Metrics Report for your convenience – this time the report is from MailerMailer conducted in July 2012.
State of the Industry
According to MarketingSherpa's Benchmark Survey, 67% of organizations plan to increase their email marketing budgets for 2012— no surprise in light of email's profitability and momentum.
Email remains the top text-based communication tool, as well as the number one way to share information and corresponding with email ties with search engines for the largest percentage of internet activity. Social media and mobile advances continue to impact email.
According to a survey from StrongMail, two-thirds of business leaders (68%) plan to integrate social media with their email marketing in 2012 and 44% plan to optimize for mobile email marketing.
When strategically pursued, social media can have a synergistic relationship with email. Social media can drive email marketing subscriptions, and in return, email marketing can publicize social media presence. However, content must be tailored for each social platform and be published at appropriate intervals for that platform. Without a clear strategy, social media presence may actually be a disservice, so invest efforts wisely and don't neglect your email list.
Mobile advances, particularly the proliferation of smartphones, imply new opportunities for email marketing, but also require additional considerations. According to ClickZ, four out of ten people regularly check email with a mobile device, and seven out of ten in key age groups, such as 27 to 38 years old.
Reaching customers at the right time and right place has powerful implications for the future of email marketing. Today's email marketers should ensure that their emails render well on mobile devices, especially with regards to readability on the reduced screen size. Single column emails with larger fonts usually assist here. Furthermore, the placement and size of links and buttons should be adapted for single touch interaction— for instance, increasing the size and space around interactive elements to avoid mishaps.
Several sources acknowledge the growing sophistication of email marketers, especially with regards to segmentation. For 2012, this behavior will allow marketers to tackle one of their top challenges - delivering relevant content. Breaking through the escalating clutter, and remaining welcomed, if not anticipated in the inbox, should be at the top of every marketer's list. Progress towards this goal should be prefaced by testing, and quantified by various metrics, such as open rate, list deterioration, lead conversion, etc.
Data for this report is based on over 1.2 billion email messages, comprising 80,000 newsletter campaigns, sent between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Click rate metrics excluded emails with no links and subject line calculations omitted those with three or fewer characters. The 19 industries featured in this report have been selected by MailerMailer customers upon signup, but only industries with a significant number of customers and list members were reported. Take a look at the results:
- Compared to last year's halves, open rates increased in H1 and decreased in H2;
- Banking (16.8%), Non-Profit (16.1%), Consulting and Small Business (15.9%) scored the highest open rates in 2011;
- Smaller lists continue to yield higher open rates than larger lists;
- Open rates peak the hour after delivery;
- Most opens occur within the first few hours after delivery.
- Compared to last year, click rate increased for H1 but decreased for H2;
- Click rate increases along with the number of links in an email;
- Industries with the highest click rates include Consulting (4.5%), Consumer (4.3%), and Transportation and Wholesale (3.8%);
- Smaller lists generate higher click rates than larger lists.
How scheduling affects rates
- Open rates are best at the beginning of the week;
- Click rates experience a peak on Sunday, but there is no strong trend the rest of the week;
- Messages that are scheduled to be delivered between early evening and early morning lead to higher open and click rates;
- Open rate begins to rapidly climb after about 4am, reaches its peak at 10am, and then gradually declines throughout the day.
- Mailing more frequently leads to a lower bounce rate;
- Consulting (2.6%), Real Estate (2.1%), Wholesale (2%) and Large Business (1.8%) generated the highest bounce rates;
- Findings this year reveal that larger lists experience lower bounce rates.
- Subject line personalization depresses open rate;
- Personalization of only the message appears to have a slight positive influence on open rate;
- The click rate response to personalization mostly mirrors that of open rate.
- Marketers craft their subject lines from words that impart relevance, persuasion, and timeliness;
- Short subject lines, specifically with less than 15 characters, boasted the highest open rate of 15.2%;
- Messages with moderately long subject lines earn the highest click rates.
According to this year's report, email marketing shows no signs of slowing down. With regards to open and click rate, MailerMailer continues to observe a depression in H2 as compared to H1. This pattern suggests that sending during the first half of the year may be generally more effective. Messages sent during the latter half of the year may require more creative approaches in order to net a similar response.
Smaller lists persist in scoring higher open and click rates. However, larger lists enjoy lower bounce rates. Further, smaller lists undoubtedly achieve greater focus and are able to deliver more relevant content. However, unlike large non-segmented lists, smaller lists may not be sent to frequently enough to maintain good list hygiene and suppress bounce rate.
Scheduling for delivery at the beginning of the week, between evening and early morning, continues to result in the highest performance. Like the H1 and H2 pattern, this decline could suggest that recipients are distracted or preoccupied towards the end of the week. Moreover, emails are most likely to be opened during the morning but taper throughout the day as recipients' schedules unravel.
Short, non-personalized subject lines capture the most opens. However, moderately long subject lines lead to a higher click rate. (Source: www.mailermailer.com)
Given these observations, email marketers should conduct their own testing to determine the best subject lines for various targeting and message content.