E-mail Marketing Holds Steady in Q2 2003

E-mail marketers continued to see open and click-through rates hold steady in the second quarter of 2003, according to figures compiled by DoubleClick.

The advertising technology company’s second-quarter email trends report found that open rates averaged 38.8 percent, a 3.2 percent increase from a year earlier and virtually unchanged from the first quarter. Click-through rates were 8.3 percent, a 10.7 percent increase from the year-ago period and 7 percent lower than in the first quarter. Delivery rates remained mostly unchanged at 88.5 percent with bounce rates declining for the third straight quarter.

“I think we can glean that much like last quarter there continues to be a lot of stability” in email marketing, said Eric Kirby, vice president of strategic services at DoubleClick.

DoubleClick collected the data from the more than 2 billion marketing emails it sent out for clients during the quarter.

In industry categories, business products and services saw open rates fall 4 percent, from 47.4 percent to 45.3 percent, but click-through rates rose a healthy 24 percent, from 7.5 percent to 9.3 percent. Retail and catalog campaigns increased open rates 11.4 percent to 37 percent and click-through rates by 9.8 percent to 6.7 percent. Travel email saw both key rates hold slight improvements, with an open rate of 44.5 percent and a click-through rate of 9.3 percent.

E-mail marketing began improving its productivity, too. On average, the DoubleClick campaigns saw orders per email delivered coming in at .29 percent versus .25 percent a year earlier. The average order size, however, decreased 4.1 percent to $98.48 from $102.

Kirby said the steady, if unspectacular, performance was a result of email marketers growing more sophisticated about the medium by engaging in best practices like frequent list hygiene and clear subject lines.

“These types of companies are continuing to evolve their email communications,” he said. “They’re managing to stay one step ahead of [the spam problem].”


Overall E-mail Performance
Q2 2003 Q2 2002
Average click-through rates 8.3% 7.5%
Open rates 38.8% 37.6%
Delivery rates 88.5% 86.4%
Source: DoubleClick


Bounce Rates
Category Q2 2003 Q1 2003
Business products & services 17.0% 18.5%
Consumer products 18.6% 18.7%
Consumer services 11.7% 18.6%
Financial services 16.7% 16.0%
Travel 10.4% 14.9%
Retail & catalog 8.7% 10.5%
Publisher – business 6.3% 9.7%
Publisher – consumer 9.8% 11.5%
Average 11.5% 12.5%
Source: DoubleClick

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