Study hints at improved relevance and list hygiene.
The open rate for marketing e-mails increased for the third quarter in a row during Q1 of this year and also rose significantly over the year-ago rate, according to a new study by Epsilon.
The "Epsilon Q1 2009 Email Trends and Benchmarks" report found open rates hit 22.1 percent in the first quarter, up 11.2 percent from the rate of 19.9 percent the researchers found in Q1 2008. The study was compiled from 6 billion e-mails sent to more than 200 clients by Epsilon in January, February and March, and it combines data from both the company's proprietary platforms, DREAM and DREAMmail.
The report also documents a slight increase in e-mail deliverability from Q1 2008, with that metric hitting 94.1 percent compared to 93.4 percent for the same quarter last year.
Epsilon said e-mail open rates increased in 12 of 16 measured industries when compared to the first quarter of 2008. Attaining the highest open rate -- 31.4 percent -- were e-mails in the financial services category. Doing the worst -- at 14.3 percent -- were e-mails in the retail apparel vertical.
Epsilon SVP of Strategic Services Kevin Mabley said the most important aspect of successful e-mail marketing is relevance in "content, timing and frequency." He also cited list hygiene and list growth as vital elements, stressing that companies need to continually drive list growth.
A big trend seen by Epsilon is the savvy use by marketing departments of transactional and trigger-based messaging such as purchase confirmations, statement-ready alerts, and flight confirmation letters to deliver marketing content.
Having your e-mails opened is good. Even better is when those openings result in sales. Another recent Epsilon study found that 59 percent of Asia Pacific consumers made offline purchases as a result of e-mails. That figure was 53 percent for North Americans and 37 percent for Europeans, said Epsilon. "Sophisticated marketers are incorporating triggers, transactions, preferences, segmentation and other advanced analytics to produce more successful campaigns," the report said.
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