Email Performance Improves For Most In Return Path Study

Email marketers are getting better at what they do, according to a survey by Return Path and Ascend2.

Of the executives polled, 85% say their email performance is improving, and 58% say the improvement is significant. Only 3% say it is decreasing to a large extent.

At the same time, 90% believe the channel is important in achieving their strategic objectives -- predominantly ROI. And personalization is rated as the most effective tool for getting there.

However, difficulties with list segmentation persist. And automation does not yet appear to be helping most firms.

The study is based on responses from 88 executives, 60% of them in B2B, 22% in B2C and 18% equally in both.

In another positive finding, 60% — the “best in class”  — say an email marketing strategy is very important in achieving important goals, and 31% say that it’s somewhat successful in achieving these goals. In terms of the goals, 51% list ROI as one, and 44% say they want to increase conversions. Another 44% hope to increase list growth, and 41% are looking to boost click-throughs.



However, the measurements they use appear to be reversed. Conversions are the leading metric, chosen by 67%. But ROI is heralded by only 44%, and click-throughs by 41%, while 36% specify list growth. 

Other goals and metrics appear to be more in line, with 30% seeking to increase sharing, 23% looking to reduce bounces and 22% who want to lower unsubscribes. In contrast, 31% measure sharing, 19% unsubscribes and 17% bounces.

Meanwhile, personalization is rated as an effective tactic for achieving strategic goals by 44%. Next is social sharing (41%), followed by meaningful call to action (38%) and testing and optimization (36%).

But only 19% rate automated campaigns as a productive tactic.

Here are two more findings:

  • 51% have a long sales cycle, with multiple interactions and many influencers. Another 30% pursue direct sales with few influencers. And 19% have a mix of both 
  • 42% outsource their email functions to a specialist, 19% use in-house resources only, and 43% rely on a combination of both. 
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