DoubleClick Reports Decline in Open Rates

Open rates on email campaigns continue their five-quarter decline, according to the Q2 2005 E-Mail Trend Report from DoubleClick. The report identifies several reasons for the continued slump.

Increased ISP technology to block spam and questionable emails is one factor that hinders open rates, researchers found. Because some email clients now block images by default, marketers are often unable to use the one-pixel image that tells them whether messages have been opened.

The maturation of the email medium may also be a factor, the report says. Because newer email addresses tend to perform better than older addresses, companies that have been doing email marketing for a while may suffer declining open rates. The report states, “If these email addresses continue to receive the same marketing messages again and again, the overall file can become desensitized and the effect magnified.”

Declining open rates are also attributable to people adapting to a greater volume of email. DoubleClick believes consumers are now more selective in what email they choose to open. The report follows-up by saying consumers will respond when they are “in-market” and therefore conversion rates are not necessarily affected by open rates.

Despite concern over open rates, conversions remained strong for the retail and catalog industries. In Q2 of this year, click-to-purchase conversion rates reached 4.6 percent, a 27.8 percent increase over the first quarter of 2004. In the second quarter of this year, the average order size decreased by 14 percent from the same quarter in 2004. However, revenue per email remained stable.

Year Over Year Decline in Open Rates Q2 2004 and 2005
Click on graphic to view chart

The DoubleClick E-mail Trend Report uses aggregate data from DoubleClick’s DARTmail email delivery technology. The Q2 data was based on billions of permission-based emails from hundreds of clients.

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