New Benchmark Data Shows Positive Trend: Email Engagement Rates Are Improving Despite Significant Increases in Volume

Published: December 23, 2015 by Editor

New research from Experian Marketing Services, a recognized leader in data-driven marketing and cloud-based marketing technology, shows that during the third quarter of 2015 email volume rose 24.8 percent year over year, while engagement rates matched or exceeded those in Q3 2014. The Experian Marketing Services’ Q3 2015 Email Benchmark Report notes:

  • 37 percent of brands had a significant year-over-year increase in transaction rates and revenues per email
  • Unique open rates were 17.5 percent in Q3 2015, up from 16.7 percent in Q3 2014
  • Unique click rates remained constant at 2.1 percent in Q3 of both 2014 and 2015

ExperianMarketing_q3 2015 email benchmark_CHART Volume variance by industry YOY

Smarter data-management practices are key to higher engagement

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

“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,” said Spencer Kollas, vice president of global deliverability services at Experian Marketing Services. “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.”

Significant volume increases continue during the 2015 holidays

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

“More marketers are prioritizing deliverability tools and data-management technologies that help them deliver more relevant messages and offers to the right customers,” added Kollas. “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.

Flash sales had 59 percent higher transaction rates than average

The Q3 2015 Email Benchmark Report featured a trend-to-watch section on flash sales, targeted sales that last 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 percent higher transaction rates than the third quarter multichannel retail benchmark. In addition, revenue per email for flash sales was 29 percent higher than the Q3 2015 multichannel retail benchmark.

ExperianMarketing_q3 2015 email benchmark_CHART - Flash Sales 1    CHART - Flash Sales 2 (4)

A complimentary download of the full report is available here.

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