Facts – E-mail Marketing

 

Effectiveness

General Facts

EFFECTIVENESS

FACT: “Translated into ratios, direct mail has a response rate of up to 10 to 30 times that of e-mail.” On average, direct mail boasts a 4.4% response rate, while email averages a response rate of just 0.12% (Direct Marketing Association analysis of more than 29 billion emails, and its existing direct-mail statistics; USPS Deliver Magazine 11/20/12).

FACT: “Direct mail may generate the highest response rates of all direct marketing vehicles, but email posts the highest return on investment, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s annual response rate report. According to the study, response rates for letter-sized direct mail sent to house files was 3.4%, more than 30 times the 0.12% response rate for email. But email’s ROI was 28.5% compared to 7% for direct mail” (Direct Marketing Association’s annual response rate report, based on responses from 481 companies and conducted in April 2012; Chief Marketer, 6/22/12).

FACT: “According to the Direct Marketing Association’s latest annual response rate report, email to house files have an average open rate of 22.05% for a house list, while prospecting email campaigns show an 11.43% open rate. Conversion rates per click are 1.5% for a house list and 0.4% for a prospect list” (Direct Marketing Association’s annual response rate report, based on responses from 481 companies and conducted in April 2012; Chief Marketer, 6/22/12).

  • “Financial services emails have open rates of more than 30%, followed by publishing and media with an average of 14.9% each, and apparel, with an average rate of 14.7%.”

FACT: Over the last four years, the rates at which recipients open retail marketing emails and click on the included links have declined significantly, but not dramatically. “In the first six months of 2007, consumers opened 19% of the retail emails they received and clicked through to the website 3.9% of the time. By the first half of 2011, those numbers shrank to 12.5% and 2.8%, respectively” (Harte-Hanks study of its retail clients; Wall St. Journal, 3/9/12).

FACT: Retailers say marketing emails are one of their biggest — and least costly — drivers of online traffic and sales (Wall St. Journal, 3/9/12).

FACT: Anecdotal email metrics regarding frequency (Wall St. Journal, 3/9/12):

  • Fashion retailer Nicole Miller Inc. — which says emails generate most of its online sales — cut back on the volume of email it sends from about three mailings a week to just one. Since then, the rate at which customers unsubscribe has dropped, and the percentage of recipients who open the emails has grown from 15% to 40%. Meanwhile, the percentage of online sales that began with an email has grown to 17% from 10%.
  • J.C. Penney Co. cut back the number of mailings it sends from one a day to an average of three a week.
  • Over the last year, videogame retailer Gamestop has halved the number of emails it sends to general subscribers who may not be regular shoppers, focusing instead on its rewards program, which tends to include active game players who want frequent updates on consoles, game launches and other information targeted to their purchase history.
  • Neiman Marcus, which sent 534 emails to subscribers last year (a 30% increase from 2007), said the percentage of customers who "unsubscribe" hasn't grown.
  • In 2010, Neiman Marcus began using customer data to tailor its emails. It uses online purchase history, in-store purchase history linked to its credit card, and online cookies that track behavior on its website to learn what brands, categories and types of deals customers favor. It can then target email about a Marc Jacobs launch to customers who tend to buy Marc Jacobs purses, for instance. Open rates and click through rates have increased by 10% to 20% since the chain started customizing its emails.

FACT: Baynote’s (2011) annual holiday shopping survey of 1,000 shoppers found (Tech Crunch, 1/12/12):

  • 62.5% of respondents said email was the most useful way to receive retail promotions.
  • 16.7% said direct mail was best for promotions.
  • 11.8% said engine results were the best for promotions.
  • 4.9% said daily deals were best for promotions.
  • 2.5% said Facebook was the most useful promotion channel.

FACT: On average, 55% of email subscribers (those who sign-up to receive a brand’s promotional emails) will “interact” with the emails they receive. The other 45% continue to receive the emails (they don’t remove themselves from the mailing list), but rarely interact with them (iPost analysis of 3.3 million email subscribers over an 18-month period, Chief Marketer newsletter, 5/29/11).

FACT: When inactive email subscribers (those who sign-up to receive a brand’s promotional messages but rarely interact with them) are sent a special promotional message (typically a free trial or deep discount), the response rate remains about the same (0.2% on average), but the conversion rate (the number of responders who click through and make a purchase) jumps from an average of 3% to between 6% and 12% (iPost analysis of 3.3 million email subscribers over an 18-month period, Chief Marketer newsletter, 5/29/11).

FACT: Average marketing email response rates, when using an in-house list (Direct Marketing Association "DMA 2010 Response Rate Trend Report"):

  • 19.47% open rate
  • 6.64% click-through rate
  • 1.73% conversion rate
  • 3.72% bounce-back rate
  • 0.77% unsubscribe rate

FACT: E-mail offers related to the recipient’s birthday can result in a whopping 52% open-rate and typically have a 10% higher conversion rate (Loren McDonald, Vice President of Industry Relations, Silverpop; Email Essentials / Direct magazine, 3/11/10).

FACT: Within two months of e-mail opt-in, open-rates typically fall 20% - 25% (Loren McDonald, Vice President of Industry Relations, Silverpop; Email Essentials / Direct magazine, 3/11/10).

FACT: 73% of marketers who use e-mail for prospecting say they get almost all their e-mail addresses from the prospects themselves (via newsletter registrations and other opt-ins). Only 23.4% of marketers said they use third-party-owned opt-in lists. Some 21% said they get the names from purchased lists. Just 9% said they use names acquired through automatic e-mail harvesting (2010 Chief Marketing Prospecting Survey, 2/2/10).

FACT: Reasons marketers gave for not using e-mail for prospecting (2010 Chief Marketing Prospecting Survey, 2/2/10):

  • 33% said: don’t have e-mail addresses.
  • 32% said: their prospects don’t want to be contacted via e-mail.
  • 31.8% said: they fear being labeled a spammer.
  • 15% said: don’t know how to do it.
  • 14.5% said: cost is too high.

FACT: For in-house mailing lists, e-mail open rates are currently averaging 14.9% — with click-through rates of 9.36% and conversion rates of 5.26% (Direct Marketing Association “DMA 2009 Response Rate Report”).

FACT: For purchased mailing lists, e-mail open rates are currently averaging 8.56% — with click-through rates of 5.57% and conversion rates of 3.15% (Direct Marketing Association “DMA 2009 Response Rate Report”).

FACT: A study by marketing-services provider Epsilon found that one-third of the 1,517 consumers in its survey said they usually visit merchants' Web sites directly rather than click on links in marketing e-mail (Direct magazine, 2/17/09).

FACT: A study by marketing-services provider Epsilon found that 50% of the of 1,517 consumers in its survey said the mere fact that they receive permission-based marketing e-mail from a company makes them more likely to buy products from the sender in the future — regardless of the how the purchase takes place (Direct magazine, 2/17/09).

FACT: A study by marketing-services provider Epsilon found that 60% of the women in its survey and 49% of the men said they save marketing e-mail in their inboxes and refer to them later when making purchases (Direct magazine, 2/17/09).

FACT: For every dollar spent on e-mail marketing in 2008, it returned $45.06 in sales (Direct magazine, 11/14/08).

FACT: E-mail response rates (DMA E-mail Experience Council survey; Promo magazine, 10/08):

  • Service e-mails (welcome, thank you, confirm order, etc.) = 70% to 80% response.
  • Newsletters = 30% to 60% response.

FACT: In a survey by Return Path, 29.1% of consumers said they took advantage of e-mail offers in the 2007 holiday shopping season (down from 49.1% in 2006 and 50.2% in 2005). However, 92% said marketing e-mails had some sort of impact on their holiday shopping habits (24.1% used them for comparison shopping; 20.3% used as a guide; 18.9% used for gift ideas). Direct magazine, 1/15/08.

FACT: Over 83% of the 1,500 marketing professionals surveyed consider email marketing the most important advertising medium in 2007, compared to 61.7% for search marketing and 36.3% for display ads. Only 10.6% preferred mobile marketing (Datran Media survey, 2/07).

FACT: What motivates B-to-B marketing e-mail recipients to read an e-mail (B@B magazine special issue, 12/06):

  • Sender name/address (60%).
  • Subject line (54.3%).
  • Headline (53%).
  • Teaser text (30.3%).

FACT: For B-to-C, newsletter-style e-mail formats receive the highest click-through rates (of seven styles studied). Postcard-style formats receive the second-highest click-through rates (Direct magazine, 11/06).

FACT: For B-to-B, postcard-style e-mail formats receive the highest click-through rates (of seven styles studied). Newsletter-style formats receive the second-highest click-through rates (Direct magazine, 11/06).

GENERAL FACTS

FACT: In 2011, the nation's top 100 retailers by e-commerce revenue sent select customers “an average of 177 emails apiece (up 87% from 2007), according to research by marketing-technology company Responsys Inc. Some of the most aggressive emailers – including Neiman Marcus Group Inc. – sent each recipient more than 500 emails apiece in 2011, Responsys said” (Wall St. Journal, 3/9/12).

FACT: In an average work week, the typical business person receives about 74 emails (of which 13 are spam), and sends about 36 (Radicata Group research; Wall St. Journal, 5/16/11).

FACT: Why so many companies have switched from direct-mail to e-mail marketing: The cost to print, prepare and mail a direct-mail effort can average $600 per thousand addresses; the cost to launch an email marketing effort can average $6 per thousand addresses (Chief Marketer newsletter, 5/17/11).

FACT: 78% of all marketing email opens and clicks occur within 24 hours of receipt. And nearly half (47%) of all transactions driven by the email occur within that first day, as well (Experian Marketing Services CheetahMail survey of 44,011 email marketing efforts from 404 clients, Direct magazine, 6/25/10).

FACT: 39% of retail e-mail marketers require three clicks to unsubscribe from future e-mails (considered laborious by industry standards). In 2008, only 7% of e-mail retailers required this many clicks to unsubscribe (Responsys Retail Email Unsubscribe Benchmark Study; Direct magazine e-zine, 3/23/10).

FACT: After receiving an unsubscribe request, 30% of retail e-mail marketers send one or more additional marketing e-mails to the customer (Responsys Retail Email Unsubscribe Benchmark Study; Direct magazine e-zine, 3/23/10).

FACT: 35% of retail e-mail marketers allow their subscribers to control the frequency of the e-mails they receive — and even reduce the number. In 2008, only 16% of retail e-mail marketers allowed this (Responsys Retail Email Unsubscribe Benchmark Study; Direct magazine e-zine, 3/23/10).

FACT: Only 7% of retail e-mail marketers offer alternative communication mediums to e-mail subscribers who ask to be unsubscribed (Responsys Retail Email Unsubscribe Benchmark Study; Direct magazine e-zine, 3/23/10).

FACT: According to the latest report from MailerMailer, Mondays are by far the best day to send marketing e-mail. A detailed 2009 analysis of the hundreds of thousands of marketing e-mails sent through this service showed Monday was the one day more people opened (and took action on) their marketing e-mail (MailerMailer “E-mail Marketing Metrics Report” 6/09). However, an Ecommerce Optimization analysis of multiple industry studies (a survey study of results from Aweber, Constant Contact, iContact, as well as non-e-mail service providers), found Tuesdays and Wednesdays consistently rate as the best days for e-mail marketing (Ecommerce Optimization report, 11/4/09).

FACT: Almost one in four (24.1%) of consumers surveyed by Return Path said they received far more promotional e-mails during the 2007 holiday shopping season, but still a manageable amount. Another 13% said the number was overwhelming (Direct magazine, 1/15/08).

FACT: In a survey by Return Path, 59.1% of consumers said knowing and trusting the sender is the primary reason for opening an e-mail; 45.8% said finding past e-mail from the same sender valuable was the number two reason; 45% said the subject line was the number three reason (Direct magazine, 1/15/08).

FACT: The industry standard opt-out rate for marketing e-mail is 9% to 10% per month (Direct magazine, July 2006).

 

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