General E-mail Trends: First, according to the DMA Response report that came out a few weeks ago, e-mail had the sixth highest response rate (at around 1.12 percent) behind telemarketing (5.78 percent), dimensional mail (2.3 percent), catalogs (2.18 percent), direct mail (1.88 percent), and coupons (1.12 percent).
However, when you look at the return on investment (ROI) index in the same report (the actual ROI which factors in the costs versus the response), e-mail came in second place (16 index points) only behind telemarketing (18.2 index points). This fact, however, seems lost on the DMA itself which (as we reported here a few weeks ago) still seems to treat e-mail as an unwelcome guest.
Exponential Growth of E-mail. In our e-mail analyst tool we are tracking an exponential growth in e-mail across lists. In other words, while the new lists we track grow in a linear fashion, the e-mails being sent through those lists are growing at an exponential rate. Most of this comes from third-party lists and affiliates, which is an indication of more marketers starting to use these lists again.
Below are three graphs which show the effect of e-mails on site traffic across various sectors: business to consumer catalog e-mail campaigns, business to consumer acquisition campaigns, and business to business acquisition campaigns.
In this chart we show the site traffic spikes (the line in blue) compared to the e-mail sends (the red line). The e-mail indicators with an e-mail volume level of two represent the in-house retention e-mail campaigns from a large business to consumer catalog retailer. As you can see, these e-mails generated a significant spike in site traffic, an average of 55 percent increase in site traffic over the last 30 days. The e-mail sends with an e-mail volume of one are acquisition style newsletters sponsorships that did not significantly push the needle when it came to site traffic.
In the next example we look at a business to consumer acquisition campaign for a second-tier credit card provider, driven exclusively through third-party list rentals and affiliate networks.
As you can see, even though this is a high volume e-mail send there is a definite correlation between the e-mails going out and the Web reach per million site traffic number. In particular, as e-mails slacked off over the first few days in November, the site traffic dropped just as significantly.
The final example is a chart showing a well known computer manufacturer's e-mail campaign.
This e-mail campaign was exclusively done through newsletter sponsorships. As you can see, the campaigns were very successful in driving traffic to the site, with direct mirrors of the e-mail sends aligning with jumps in site traffic.