Email Is In 'Rude Health' But Needs Personalisation To Pick Up Click-Through Rates

The DMA is proclaiming today that "email is in rude health" -- republishing a statistic from autumn of last year that nearly one in two marketers rate it as the channel which provides the best returns. This is accompanied by its annual Benchmark report tracking email's performance for five years up to and including 2015.

I have to say that the figures make for interesting reading, and show that the mechanics of email are improving while the actions marketers are looking for are looking a little less impressive. First, deliverability is now through the roof, with 98% of emails reaching their target inbox. That's an 11% improvement between 2015 and 2010. It's good news, as more emails than ever before are getting through. It's worth remembering that this report tracks some 57 billion emails send in the UK each year, so that's an awful lot of emails arriving in inboxes. 

Thus, you can imagine where that may be taking us with the positive steps consumers can take when those emails arrive. Open rates were at 15% in 2015 compared to 20% two years before. That means that over the five years in the research, email is back where it was in 2010 after a 2013 peak.

The news is a little more gloomy when you look at unique click-through rates. These have been falling ever since the research began in 2010, when they were at 6%. The decline has been noticeable each year and in 2015, click-throughs were at an average of just 2%. 

The big question mark for email marketers will be whether improved segmentation and personalisation will improve click-throughs. Open rates are fairly steady if you even out the past five years -- it's when you look at who can be bothered to click through for further information that you see a very clear, marked decline. It's surely this latter statistic that marketers need to be most focussed on because delivering an email and getting it opened are two important hurdles, but getting people through to your site to buy your latest offer is surely the most important metric of them all. 

Given the widely reported uptake in personalisation and automated, triggered campaigns over the past couple of years, we can but hope that greater attention to getting messages that literally speak to the recipient at the most opportune time will mean that we may see the most important metric of all begin to climb up to where it used to be. Or perhaps we will just see that for the companies wise enough to invest in these systems as they quietly stand out from the masses who are still bombarding inboxes with non-tailored content and wondering why click-throughs are down from what they use to be.

Email marketers have a clear choice. Inboxes are evidently swamped, so they can either be a part of the tide or stand out with great personalised content built around the recipient's behaviour rather than your marketing calendar.

1 comment about "Email Is In 'Rude Health' But Needs Personalisation To Pick Up Click-Through Rates".
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  1. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing, January 20, 2017 at 3:35 p.m.

    Have you ever tried COMMUNICATING with an Internet company??  They don't want to communicate, they want to talk AT you.  Until Internet companies learn to respect the customers and prospects, they'll keep the brick-and-mortar companies alive.  Go Retailers!!! Neil Mahoney

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