Just an Online Minute... Email's Contribution
Now the stats. For retail and catalog companies, open rates and click-through rates rose over the previous quarter driving more traffic to retail sites, and substantially increasing conversion rates, DoubleClick says. Despite an average decrease on an all company basis of 2.5% in open rates, retail and catalog industry open rates increased by 12% from 33.9% in Q3 to 38.0% in Q4. Similarly, although click-through rates declined on an all company basis by 6% (from 8.5% in Q3 to 8.0% in Q4), retail and catalog saw a slight (3%) increase from 6.9% in Q3 to 7.1% in Q4.
For the retail and catalog companies that track purchase activity through the DARTmail system, an average of 4.1% of email clicks drove an immediate purchase online. This represents a 10.8% increase over Q3 and directly relates to increased shopping online during the holiday season.
Revenue productivity per email also increased for the retail and catalog category, with revenue per email delivered increasing 10% from $0.29 in Q3 to $0.32 in Q4. Actual revenue attributable to the email may be even higher because not all email sent by retail and catalog companies are necessarily intended to drive immediate sales, and because this figure only represents purchases that were tracked directly to a click on an email, DoubleClick says.
While the retail and catalog industry showed quarter-over-quarter improvements in email metrics, the Q4 Report shows that average company click-through rates decreased slightly in Q4 and bounce rates were essentially flat compared to Q3 levels. Click-through rates decreased in Q4 to 8.0% from 8.5% in Q3, though they remain higher than the 7.5% click-through rate seen in Q2.
Not surprisingly, in Q4, 81% of email was sent in a non-text format, with HTML comprising 44%, AOL comprising 21% and multi-part accounting for 16%. HTML commands a significantly higher click-through rate at 11.2% compared to text at 5.6%. The DoubleClick Q4 Email Trends Report contains aggregate data from DoubleClick's DARTmail email delivery technology. The Q4 data is based on over 2 billion permission-based emails from hundreds of clients.