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Look Who's Still Not Tracking E-Mail Campaigns

  |  April 6, 2009   |  Comments

One in five e-mail marketers fail to apply analytics to their e-mail marketing campaigns.

In a survey of over 500 e-mail marketers, online marketing agency eROI finds almost 20 percent of the respondents fail to track e-mail campaigns. The report provides insight into trends and use of analytics in e-mail.

"I thought the number would be much lower than that with all of the options out there," Jeff Mills, director of sales and strategy at eROI, told ClickZ Stats. "There's no legitimate excuse for it."

For typical site conversions -- which may include a click-through, watching a video, or another activity -- the reasons for using analytics included: don't know how (42.9 percent); other (38.1 percent); don't have time (14.3 percent); and don't have budget (4.8 percent).

For e-commerce conversions responses included don't know how (44.4 percent); don't have budget (38.9 percent); other (11 percent); and don't have time (5.6 percent).

" 'Don't have a budget' and 'don't know how' are no longer excuses," said Mills. "There are providers all across the board, it's less of 'I don't have a budget' and more of 'I need to re-prioritize the budget."

The survey asked participants to place the e-mail campaign "lifecycle" events in order of importance.

The open rate remains the most important event in e-mail campaign tracking -- a trend that surprises Mills. With image blocking, people reading on mobile phones, and other factors, he feels the open rate is less important a metric when looked at alone. The click rate, he feels, is a better barometer of an e-mail's effectiveness. That is when you take the number of clicks, and divide it by the number of opens.

What's the Most Important Event in an E-Mail Campaign Lifecycle?

When asked what is the most important event in an e-mail campaign lifecycle -- in order of importance -- here is what survey respondents said, along with definitions and pointers for each stage:

  • Open rate: Not supported by many e-mail clients due to HTML blocking, open rates can appear lower than they actually are.
  • Click-through: Relevance and personalized content is the key to increasing click-throughs. Segment recipients in e-mail lists by demographics, geographic variables, and other groupings.
  • Open-to-click ratio: Arguably a more accurate assessment of an e-mail campaign's success. The number of clicks divided by the number of opens.
  • Specified link clicked: The link a user clicks on an e-mail.
  • Delivery rate: The ability for mail to be received is challenged by spam filters and reputation, and bounced e-mails are not always fully reported.
  • Conversion rate: Encourage action: a purchase, a newsletter sign-up, a white paper download, or a phone call. "Your conversion rate is a measure of relevancy," the report said.
  • Unsubscribe rate: Take the total number of unsubscribes in an e-mail campaign and divide it by the total number of delivered e-mails. The unsubscribe rate is an indicator of list health and cleanliness.
  • Track campaign source: A holistic way of looking at what campaigns people come from.
  • Drill down into segments: List segmentation targets individuals rather than sending the same e-mail to the entire list.
  • Positive vs. negative clicks: Marketers might assign a positive click to a call-to-action, and a negative click to an unsubscribe. It allows marketers to break down the value of clicks into further detail.
  • Knowledge sharing is an area where silos still exist in e-mail marketing. Of those surveyed, 74 percent said they share e-mail analytics data with their bosses or other executives. Within the marketing organization, 61.3 percent share data with the corporate marketing department, and 42.5 percent share with advertising, marketing, and their public relations agency. The sales side of the business loses out the most. E-mail analytics data is shared with direct sales groups by 30.9 percent of e-mail marketers surveyed, and 23.8 percent of those surveyed.

    "A third of people are sharing with the direct sales group, and [add in e-commerce], a combined half of people responsible for driving revenue, it still shows a disconnect between marketing and sales somewhat," said Mills.


Enid Burns

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