Pandemic Watch: Email Opens Are Up, CTRs Down, Study Finds

Email opens are up, but click-through rates have fallen during the pandemic outbreak -- especially for travel brands, according to a study released on Tuesday by email marketing service firm MessageGears.

In addition, spam complaints are high for COVID-related mailings. This may mean that people don’t want to hear about it, MessageGears says. 

Email volume spiked dramatically among retailers following the travel ban announcement. But the travel sector, which has been hit hard, saw a more modest increase.

“After a big email week to talk about what their responses were to COVID-19, brands in this industry have understandably taken a step back from promoting near-term travel or bookings,” the study states.

However, travel opens jumped substantially, retail less so after the ban. Yet click-throughs fell in both industries, as they did in the “other” category.

At the same time, unsubscribes went up in travel, but declined in the already low retail field. The study notes that “unsubscribes nearly doubled in the travel industry but dropped elsewhere.” 



Why? It could “perhaps be due to worries about international travel, or recipients not wanting to think about leaving the house right now,” the study continues.

In contrast, “recipients in retail and other industries might be welcoming the new information that marketing messages bring, as weeks of self quarantine may welcome any distractions,” it adds.

Mobile devices, which account for the highest number of opens, went up after the ban, while computer opens declined.

However, while “the majority of emails are opened on mobile devices, we’ve seen a nearly 10% week-over-week jump for desktop computers,” the study notes.

Overall, there is reason for hope, MessageGears says. 

“For most industries, consumers are clicking and buying, and even in sectors like travel and hospitality where marketing has essentially been paused, email will be one of the most important channels in getting things ramped back up,” the study concludes.


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