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Email engagement rates improve despite increases in volume

Monday January 4th 2016

New research has revealed that email volume rose by 24.8% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015 while engagement rates matched or exceeded those in the same period last year.

The Q3 2015 Email Benchmark Report by Experian Marketing Services also shows that 37% of brands had a significant year-on-year increase in transaction rates and revenues per email. In addition, unique open rates were 17.5% in the period, up from 16.7% in the third quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile, unique click rates remained constant at 2.1% in the third quarter of both 2014 and 2015

According to Experian’s analysis, email volume increased year-on-year across all industries except publishing.

Spencer Kollas, vice president of global deliverability services at Experian Marketing Services, said: “Scale can often be a marketer’s Achilles’ heel when it comes to email — increase your volume and expect to see a decrease in engagement and effectiveness. When we see the opposite — and our latest data shows that we’re seeing a shift — it’s a sign of data stewardship, leveraging data to drive smarter marketing decisions.

“Transaction rates typically tend to be more sensitive to volume changes than open and click rates. The fact that retail brands are experiencing significant increases in transaction rates despite the increased volume means that they are properly segmenting their audience based on customer needs and delivering relevant messages and campaigns.”

The peak days of the 2015 festive season saw large year-over-year increases in volume, led by a 68% rise in travel emails and 36.4% growth in emails from multichannel retailers. Email volume on Cyber Monday alone was 28% higher than in 2014.

“More marketers are prioritizing deliverability tools and data-management technologies that help them deliver more relevant messages and offers to the right customers. When we look at the 2015 holiday data to date, retailers seem to be leading the industry when it comes to applying data to better segment and target messages. The engagement rates indicate that their customers are finding the offers relevant and useful, even as they hear more from these brands,” added Kollas.

The study also found that flash sales had 59% higher transaction rates than the third quarter multichannel retail benchmark. In addition, revenue per email for flash sales was 29% higher than the Q3 2015 multichannel retail benchmark.