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Email open rates up 7.8pc year over year: Epsilon

December 8, 2011


Email open rates were up 7.1 percent in the third quarter which is a good sign for luxury brands that intend to use email blasts as part of their holiday marketing campaigns.

Based on a study conducted by Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association, email is making a comeback with open rates increasing by 7.8 percent year-over-year. Click-through rates also increased slightly to 5.5 percent.

“As email delivery and volume continues to grow year over year, open- and click-rates continue to increase as well which means that messages are still resonating with recipients,” said Jennifer Wiese, analytic consultant at Epsilon, New York.

“For brands across all industry verticals, email remains important because it can be highly-targeted," she said. "Email is data driven and measurable, and as the report shows, email drives conversion and sales."

The study was conducted by Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association quarterly analysis is based on findings from 5.7 billion emails sent by Epsilon in July, August and September 2011 across multiple industries.

Brand opening
The industries that experienced the highest open rates were banking and financial services, retail and travel.

Financial services and banking-related emails were opened by consumers 38.6 percent of the time.

Additionally, general retail email open rates were at 27.8 percent, a more than 5 percent increase over last year.

Emails sent by travel or hospitality groups were also among the top contenders with open rates of 27.2 percent.

The purpose or subject of the email also effected open rates.

For example, service-based emails received open rates of 42 percent whereas acquisition emails were only opened 10 percent of the time.

However, in the case of banking or financial services emails, acquisition email open rates were relatively high at 23.3 percent.

In addition, editorial-themed emails fared well with open rates of 28.3 percent.

“Acquisition email campaigns tend to be a very small percentage of the overall emails deployed quarter over quarter, telling us that marketers are not focusing on growing their email lists and instead strive to engage their existing customers,” Ms. Wiese said.

Email clicks
Click-through rates were also up in the third quarter.

Editorial-based emails did very well in terms of click-through rates, with approximately 10 percent garnering clicks.

Additionally, service-oriented emails came in second place with 8.9 percent of emails receiving clicks.

No other category was clicked through more than 10 percent of the time.

Acquisition emails received the lowest score with only 2 percent gaining clicks.

In terms of specific industries, consumer products, financial services and general retail received the highest click rates.

Consumer products saw 8.1 percent click rates, an increase of more than 5 percent from 2010.

Financial services received 6.9 percent click rates and retail earned click rates of 6.6 percent.

These numbers are reflective of a comeback in direct email marketing and could prove useful for luxury brands’ holiday campaigns.

However, luxury marketers cannot rely solely on email and must do their homework before launching new campaigns.

“Integration with other channels is key,” Ms. Wiese said. “Marketers should be knowledgeable about when consumers are purchasing on their Web site or engaging in their social media campaigns.

“Tailor the email campaigns around online activity to grow the response of the email programs and drive performance outside of email,” she said.

Final Take

Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant at Luxury Daily, New York