Unfortunately for email marketers, open rates continue to trend downwards from an average of 21.3% in 2009 to 19.9% through the first quarter of this year.
“The decrease can be tied to a number of industry developments, namely email service technology that blocks HTML imagery, and features such as Gmail’s Priority Inbox (or similar third-party add-ons,” according to Bryan Brown, director of product strategy, at Silverpop, which produced the data.
For the study, the digital marketing technology provider examined the email messages of 1,124 participating brands sent in 2011 and the first quarter of 2012.
Specifically, Brown looked at metrics for open rates, click-through rates, message size, list churn -- i.e., unsubscribe and complaint rates, etc. -- both overall and for 12 different verticals, including travel and leisure, and retail.
Among Brown’s more encouraging findings, he and his team concluded that click-through rates averaged 5.4% in 2011 and 2012 -- up from a 2009 average of 4.5%.
“Click-through rates are a key measure for email efficacy -- more so than open rates -- and the notable increase in CTR can be attributed to a simultaneous increase in automated A/B testing,” Brown explained.
A June 2012 Forrester Research/Silverpop study surveyed 155 U.S. marketers and found an increased adoption of marketing automation solutions. Unsubscribe rates averaged an arguably insignificant 0.27% in 2011 into 2012.
The travel and leisure verticals, however, were well above that mark, as they experienced what Brown called an “otherworldly” 1.64% unsubscribe rate. “This may be the nature of the industry,” according to Brown.
“People often subscribe when researching or booking a vacation, then unsubscribe once the trip is complete.”
Conversely, nonprofits saw the lowest unsubscribe rate, at 0.10%.