Epsilon Reports Some E-mail Ups and Downs

By Fred Aun

It doesn’t have the glamour of its more modern cousins like video ads and social networking widgets, but good old e-mail marketing is proving to be tenacious. During an economic period where most online advertising news contains more references to “down” than to “up,” e-mail hangs tough, according to Epsilon.

In its Q3 2008 U.S. Email Trends and Benchmarks Results report, Epsilon says e-mail open rates appear to have stayed consistent during the past year, ranging between 19 percent and 21 percent. And while they dropped in comparison to the halcyon days of 2006 and 2007, e-mail click rates increased 27.6 percent in Q3 2008 when compared to the previous quarter, says the report.

Another high note, largely attributed to the onset of the holidays: The average volume per client increased 13 percent.

However, click rates were down 8.2 percent from the same period of 2007 and 18.2 percent from two years ago. The company pointed out that business media, consumer media, retail, and travel services saw increases in deliverability, opens and clicks compared to the prior quarter.

Epsilon said the analysis was taken from aggregate data from more than 6.2 billion e-mails the company sent in July, August and September on behalf of more than 200 clients in multiple industries.

“Despite slight declines in deliverability and click rates, e-mail continues to be a valuable channel for most,” says the report. It said the fact that deliverability rates are at 93 percent “is a positive sign for the industry, which has been concerned with the increasing use of e-mail filtering.”

The report also notes e-mail is currently driving an average of 14 cents in revenue per message delivered “which means that e-mail continues to deliver a healthy return even in the current economic downturn.”

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