Email engagement rates are improving despite significant increases in volume

Inplace #2

Email volume during Q3 2015 & the 2015 holiday season is up 25% over 2014.

New research from Experian Marketing Services, a data-driven marketing and cloud-based marketing technology company, shows that during Q3 2015 email volume rose 24.8%, year over year, while engagement rates matched or were above those in Q3 2014. The Experian Marketing Services’ Q3 2015 Email Benchmark Report noted:

* 37% of brands had significant year-over-year increase in transaction rates and revenues per email.

* Unique open rates were 17.5% in Q3 2015 – up from 16.7% percent in Q3 2014.

* Unique click rates remained constant at 2.1% in Q3 of both 2014 and 2015.

Smarter data management practices contradict an email marketing “rule of thumb”

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

“Scale is often 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,” said Spencer Kollas, vice president of global deliverability services at Experian Marketing Services (pictured top left).

“Transaction rates typically tend to be more sensitive to volume changes than open and click rates,” says Kollas. “The fact that several brands experienced a significant increase in transaction rates despite the increased volume means that they are properly segmenting their audience based on product and price, and delivering relevant messages and campaigns.”

Significant volume increases continue during the Holiday 2015

The peak days of the 2015 holiday season saw large year-over year increases in volume, led by a 68% increase in travel emails and 36.4% increase in emails from multi-channel retailers. Email volume on Cyber Monday alone was 28% higher than in 2014. For the peak days from Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, transactions were 22% higher than those seen last year.

But for the holiday season overall, the continued high volume has lowered the all industry year-over-year rates for opens, clicks, transactions and revenue. Only retailers have matched last year’s transaction rates, in spite of an almost 30% increase in volume.

“More marketers are prioritizing deliverability tools and data management technologies but when we look at the holiday data, we clearly have a long way to go. Retailers are leading the industry when it comes to applying data to better segment and target messages so their customers find the offers relevant and useful, even as they hear more from these brands,” added Kollas.

Flash Sales have 59% higher transaction rates than average

The Q3 2015 Email Benchmark Report featured a trend to watch section on Flash Sales, targeted sales that last for less than 24 hours and promise customers great value during a limited time period. The report found that in the third quarter of 2015 flash sales had 59% higher transaction rates than the third quarter multi-channel retail benchmark. In addition revenue per email for flash sales was 29% higher than the 2015 third quarter multi-channel retail benchmark.