Email Results Holding Steady Despite Spam

If search is winning the hearts of online marketers at an exponential rate, spam is doing exactly the opposite for email as an ad medium. As any email user will testify, unwated email messages are clogging up email boxes around the world. So much so that even the U.S. government has gotten involved, currently considering three pieces of legislation - CAN-Spam (S.877), Rid Spam (H.R. 2214) and the Anti-Spam Act of 2003 (H.R. 2515) - none of which, experts agree, have a shot at curbing the spread of junk email.

Things may not be as bad as some make them sound, however.

According to 2,327 marketers who reported their data in MarketingSherpa's Email Metrics Survey last week, email marketing results as evidenced by open and click rates are unchanged from 2002 - despite spam overload. Only 5-6% of marketers say their open rates for house lists have "decreased significantly," while 15% say they've actually "increased significantly."

Just 5% of marketers say their click rates for links sent to house lists have decreased, while 18% say clicks have increased. The majority of marketers who track rented list performance say that they have seen "not a big change" in both opens and clicks over the past 12 months.

MarketingSherpa says the data shows that "permission email is here to stay as a viable tactic -- despite spam overload."

Additionally, MarketingSherpa discovered two factors responsible for much of email's continued success: significantly increased measurement and testing. In 2002, up to 50% of marketers using email did not track the data they would need to run tests to improve results. This year the non-trackers are down to as little as 1/5th of the marketing population.

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