Report Shows Stability In Email Performance Despite Current Spam Crisis

Much has been written in both the business and consumer press recently about the spam crisis, and many marketers are nervous about investing in the medium, but the newest DoubleClick Email Trend Report shows performance metrics remained stable or increased in Q1 for legitimate marketers, compared to the previous three quarters.

The report is the latest in a series of quarterly analyses of the email marketplace that DoubleClick bases on its email division, and according to Eric Kirby, Vice President of Strategic Services at DoubleClick, the data "continues to show that email is remarkably stable in terms of the performance that companies are getting from it."

According to the data, despite increased volume of spam, which has proven to be of great concern to consumers and federal/local legislators, the Q1 Trend Report shows that open rates increased 8% from Q4 to Q1 (36.4% to 39.2%), and click-through rates increased 11% from 8.0% in Q4 to 8.9% in Q1.

The stability in these metrics is positive news for legitimate marketers considering the concerns among both consumers, regarding their increasingly crowded email "in-boxes," and marketers, regarding spam crowding out their permission-based communications, DoubleClick says.

Bounce-back rates have declined 7.5% from 13.5% in Q4 to 12.5% in Q1, further reflecting the emphasis that legitimate marketers are giving to good list hygiene practices. Soft bounces (unsuccessful delivery for reasons such as full inbox), account for 47% of bounces, or 5.9% of total emails sent. Hard bounces (received when an email address is no longer valid, often reflecting a switch to a different email address due to a change of job or ISP), account for the remaining 53% of bounces, or 6.6% of total emails sent.

Kirby said that "the good news is from what we're seeing in the data, [performance] metrics such as open and click-through rates have actually improved. We think what this indicates is that consumers are truly differentiating legitimate email from spam. In light of all these problems and issues, [email] is still extraordinarily effective."

More of the data in the report is based on retention-based email, not acquisition email, so the findings don't necessarily apply to all advertisers, but Kirby said that a significant portion of all the mailings DoubleClick looked at were aimed to prospective customers who've specifically requested the mailings, and "in that sense [the report] does point to the continued effect of email as a marketing channel."

Kirby also said that the data also underscores the importance of the relationship that legitimate marketers have with their customers. Marketers can build upon these relationships by asking their customers about the type of content they would like to receive as well as how often they want to be contacted."

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