Solid Email Holds Its Own, But Not Much More: Study

Marketers often wonder whether email is eroding as a channel. It’s not, judging by the 2018 Email Benchmarking report, a study released Wednesday by the UK DMA, sponsored by dotmailer. But don’t get too comfortable.

The examination of 23 billion emails shows that open and click rates held steady in 2017, but the delivery rate has declined slightly, resulting in many wasted emails. And some metrics are flat.  

Here are some of the results, with two caveats: First, these findings pre-date GDPR implementation and any possible impact. And they are apparently restricted to the UK. 

The study shows that the delivery rate hit 97.63% last year, down from 98.29% in 2016. This translates to 500 million emails missing their targets.

But open rates have been rising, from 13.48% in 2015 to 17.63% in 2016 to 18.09%. And click rates hit 1.93% — the same as last year.

One difference is that the click-to-open rate fell to 10.69% — its lowest in three years — from 17.63% in 2016. But that’s not bad news.



“This means that while emails are being clicked roughly the same amount, they are being opened more often — increasing the likelihood of consumers interacting with the brand,” the study states.

B2B emails have higher click rates than B2C — 3.18% vs. 2.09% — but lower opens: 15.14% compared 19.70%. However, these numbers are “a reversal of last year’s figures,” the study states.

B2B messages also have a higher click-to-open rate: 21% vs. 10.61%. And they enjoy a higher delivery rate at 98.16% vs. 97.25%.

The highest average open rate — 24.96% was achieved by the finance sector. Second was NFP, with 21.82%.

In contrast, retail pulled 19.25%, publishing took in 18.54% and travel had 16.48%.

In general, open rates are related to the types of emails being sent.

“Financial emails are most likely to be bank statements or pre-statement advice, which will be important for a recipient to open,” says Jenna Tiffany, founder and strategy director at Let’sTalk Strategy, according to the study.

The picture is different when it coms to clicks. Utilities had the highest rate at 3.4%, followed by NFP 92.7%. Utilities also led in click-to-opens, with a 23.2% rate. Finance had the lowest at 8.9%.

Tiffany observes that utilities emails drive action “whether that’s to login into their account and see their monthly statement or summary or for them to take action in their account.”

The DMA studied emails sent by nine ESPs: Adestra, Communicator, Connect Direct, dotmailer, Emarsys, Instiller, Pure360, Redeye, and Zeta. 



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