Cleanliness Key to E-Marketing Success

  |  December 5, 2003   |  Comments

Research for the third quarter of 2003 reveals lower bounce rates.

DoubleClick's email trend report for Q3 2003 shows that despite increases in spam and email clutter, bounce rates are down and click-through rates are up slightly.

Retail/Catalog Average E-mail Conversion Rates
Action Customers Response
Mailed 1,000 NA
Delivered 905 9.5% Bounce Rate
Click 79 8.7% Clickthrough Rate
Buy 2.68 3.4% Conversion Rate
Source: DoubleClick

The advertising technology company's second-quarter email trends report found bounce rates have dropped in most categories, and have declined overall year over year from 13.3 percent to 11.8 percent. Also on the bright side, average click-through rates have increased, from 8.5 percent in Q3 2002 to 9.2 percent for the same period this year.

The Q3 report, based on approximately 2 billion emails from approximately 300 DoubleClick clients, couches most of its good news in terms of improved delivery rates – defined as the percentage of messages that generate neither hard nor soft bounces. However, since the company has no way to count how many messages are caught in spam filters, this statistic is more useful as a measure of list hygiene than of literal delivery to a consumer's inbox.

Keeping that in mind, business publisher emails and retail and catalog campaigns saw the biggest gains in list hygiene, with delivery rate increases of 4.4 percent and 2.8 percent respectively. More modest gains were experienced in the consumer publisher, business products and services, and travel categories.

Open and Click Performance
Industry Open Rate
Q3 2003
Open Rate
Q3 2002
Click Rate
Q3 2003
Click Rate
Q3 2002
Consumer Products/Services 39.6% 39.0% 11.2% 10.0%
Retail and Catalog 33.5% 33.9% 8.8% 6.9%
Business Products/Services 46.3% 46.3% 47.8% 7.8%
Business Publisher 38.2% 38.7% 8.0% 6.9%
Consumer Publisher 35.0% 33.5% (Q2) 9.3% (Q2) 11.3% (Q2)
Source: DoubleClick

However, delivery rates on consumer products and services campaigns fell slightly to 84.3 percent, .5 percent lower than last year's third quarter. On the up side, this category experienced a 12 percent increase in click-through rates, from 10 to 11.2 percent.

Click rates for other types of email were also up. Retail and catalog emails rose to 8.8 percent, a 27.5 percent increase; and travel business publisher emails rose more moderately. Click-through rates on business products and services campaigns remained steady at 7.8 percent.

Open rates, meanwhile, were generally flat or slightly down compared to last year. Dips occurred in the retail/catalog (down 1.1 percent) and travel (1.1 percent) categories.

The average order size was up 4 percent to $101, and revenue per email increased 24 percent to $0.26, DoubleClick said.

The report concluded that marketers focused on ensuring list hygiene are enjoying sustained or increased performance, despite growing challenges in the email environment.

"The Q3 results seem to show that clients' improved practices and smarter marketing habits are helping them keep ahead of these increasing complexities," said Eric Kirby, VP and general manager of DoubleClick's strategic services division.

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