Brands Are Getting Better At Using Web Data For Targeted Email: Study

Brands are sending targeted email, using data gathered on their sites. But not all of them are at the top of their game, according to Data & Targeting, a study by Gartner L2.

Of the firms studied, 48% request email content preferences, an increase of 9% over last year. However, only 8% ask for email frequency preferences -- down from 14% in 2017.

Travel brands -- which have the highest email open rates -- lead here, with over three-quarters allowing customers to specify their email content preferences.

Gartner L2 examined brands on a two- dimensional grid based on the extent of their data capture and usage.  

In general, targeted emails produced an average lift of about 7% in the specialty retail, beauty and fashion sectors last year, spiking in the fourth quarter during the holiday period.

In addition, abandoned cart and birthday emails generated an average 24% open rate. Next were emails reporting points earned in loyalty or reward programs.

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In the first quarter of this year, activewear and fashion brands pulled an open rate lift of over 20% with abandoned cart emails. Big-box stores led the way with 76% using abandoned cart emails. And 73% of fashion brands used them.

Retargeting emails are also effective in pulling customers back into the purchase funnel for some brands. For instance, Nordstrom’s achieves a 38% open rate with its retargeting messages.

“Instead of just mentioning brands consumers have browsed, Nordstrom takes it a step further by adding discounts to their retargeting email subject lines (e.g., “New Markdowns on [Brand]”), further enticing consumers back to their website,” Gartner writes.

In addition, Tarte pulled a 45% open rate with the subject line: “NEW rewards (inside).” The body copy featured such terms as: “You Lucky Thing, You.” Mass personalized terms such as: “We picked these just for you,” also did well, with the latter pulling 40%. However, the line "You NEED to try these!" achieved only 6%.

Gartner divided brands into two categories -- leaders and laggards.

All of the leaders have links to privacy policies at the point of newsletter/account sign-ups., compared with only 67% of the laggards. And 100% of the leaders collect birthdays, versus 40% of the laggards.

Moreover, 62% of the leaders request email content preferences versus 47% of the laggards. And 65% gather phone numbers, versus 87% in 2017.

However, slight increases were seen in the number of sites collecting birthdays, gender and age.

Brands without loyalty programs were more likely those with links to privacy statements during newsletter or account sign-ups, to post notices about cookies and to be transparent about data capture. However, firms with loyalty schemes were more likely to serve targeted content across email, social and display advertising.

Of the targeted emails studied, 57% offered discounts, 33% were about product discovery, 8% were loyalty/reward emails and 2% were in the other category. 

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