Email volume — and response — fell slightly in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, according to Q2 2018 Email & Mobile Benchmark Report, a study by Cheetah Digital.
Among the falling metrics were total open rate, unique open, unique click rate, transaction-to-click, transaction rate and revenue per email. On the other hand, the average order rose, as did the delivery rate.
In another finding, 53% of opens and clicks occurred on mobile devices — basically flat with last year.
Overall, unique open rates rose to 17.2% compared with 16.9% in the first quarter, but still represented a 5.5% decline from second-quarter 2017.
In addition, revenue per email dropped from $0.07 in second-quarter 2017 to $0.06 in second-quarter 2018.
The total open rate rose to 25.6%, a 2.6% increase over the second quarter in 2017. Unique opens rose by 1.7%.
However, the transaction-to-click rate fell by 12.3% to 1.8%.
Success varied by sector. Over 50% of travel brands posted higher unique open rates, but only 37% enjoyed significant click increases.
Moreover, some hotel brands posted large volume increases, but that led to a drop in click rates.
One tactic that worked well was adding mystery sales to holiday mailings. These pulled unique open rates of 13.8% compared with 12.9% for other mailings, and unique click rates of 1.52% vs. 1.06%. And they generated higher transaction rates and revenue per email.
Total email volume fell by 2.4%. But again, this varied by vertical sector. Business products and services generated a 17.6% in volume YOY, even as the total open rate fell by 4.3% to 36.4% and unique open rate by %5, to 20%.
Cheetah warns that shifts in volume are “rarely linear, so that a 50% increase in volume, for example, is unlikely to bring about a 50% increase in opens or sales. Conversely, smaller, targeted mailings typically have higher rates, but may not have the breadth alone to bring in the higher volume of sales needed by a brand.”
In other changes, consumer products and services saw an 11.8% falloff in open rates — to 31% -- and a 16.6% decline in the transaction rate. However, the average order rose by 19.8% to $159.
Multichannel retailers also saw an average open rate plummet of 7.8%--to 19.1%. The revenue per email also fell — by 12.4% — although the average order size rose by 2.6% to $173.
And mobile devices? Email on phones made up 52% of all opens for multichannel retailers, 41% for consumer products and services, 40% or travel and only 31% for business products and services.
Cheetah Digital analyzed data from client brands in the U.S. and Canada. The metrics reflect average performance seven days after the email send date.