Email Trend Spotting – Looking at Q1 2011

Two questions almost all marketers hear from clients are, “What do my email statistics really mean? How do my numbers compare?”

I appreciate those questions, from the perspective of both a data-driven economics major and as someone who has been working within the email marketing space since 2003. With my cup of coffee in hand this morning, I downloaded a copy of the report, “Q1 2011 Email Trends and Benchmarks,” released by Epsilon and the Email Experience Council to have a peek at this year’s industry trends and metrics. The study was created from data collected from 7.1 billion emails sent by Epsilon clients during January-March 2011.

Here are a few key findings:

  • Average volume per client increased 5.7% from Q4 2010 and 39.2% from Q1 2010
  • Open rates (23.3%) increased both quarter over quarter (by 5.6%) and year over year (by 4.2%)
  • 5 of the 13 reported industries saw at least a 5% increase in open rates over Q1 2010
  • Click rates (5.9%) decreased slightly from the same time last year (6.0%) but increased from the previous quarter (5.1%)

It’s exciting to see email volume increasing by nearly 40% compared to the same time period last year, without the click rate plummeting. This relatively steady CTR means companies are sending more emails, but finding ways to promote relevant messages or calls-to-action that keep recipients interested. Another part of the report that I appreciated was the campaign performance section, where the message types and corresponding metrics were analyzed.

Campaigns categorized as Editorial fared exceptionally well when compared to the other categories, with an open rate of 24.26%, a click rate of 7.5% and a click to open rate of 30.9% – helping to validate the idea that great content compels recipients into taking action.

What can you take away from this report in terms of your own email marketing?

First, increasing email volume means inboxes are more crowded than ever, and a mediocre email effort just won’t cut the mustard. But, as the report shows, the value of the email still exists because recipients are interacting with them so long as they find merit and relevance in the content, offer, etc. With that in mind, keep the message and content at the forefront of every email marketing effort. Additionally, consider giving recipients multiple ways to connect with you (and your fabulous content) on their own terms and timing such as social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog RSS feeds, etc.

Need a little help getting your email content in tip-top shape? Contact Round today!

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