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BizReport : Email Marketing : February 05, 2010

Is delivery killing email?

When it comes to email marketing the truth is that many messages simply don't deliver. According to information from ReturnPath as well as a new study from Implix email is being heavily used by marketers but consumers aren't getting the message.

by Kristina Knight

Whether because of deliverability or consumers' own blindness ReturnPath's Deliverability Benchmark report shows that about 85% of European emails reach the consumer inbox. But more importantly 7% of emails sent in the UK and France were categorized as "missing".

"Why should inbox placement rate matter to you? If you're not getting delivered to the inbox, then your messages aren't getting opened, read and clicked on - necessary actions to drive your conversions and channel revenue. There is a direct correlation between the percentage of messages that make it to the inbox and the revenue and ROI generated from a marketer's email program. In order to get a response, you first have to make it to the inbox," writes Margaret Farmakis, Senior Director, Response Consulting.

Meanwhile, the Implix report shows North America with the smallest total open rates (10.76%), indicating that even the mail arriving in consumer inboxes may not be read. Click throughs in North America landed at 2.67% (nearly two points behind European click throughs) and bounce rates of 2.17% (more than one point over European rates).

"The actual average open with HTML is anywhere from 20% to 35%, but then we are seeing that Europe has the better open rates. We believe this definitely has to do with email fatigue factors in the US compared to European consumers," said Simon Grabowski, CEO of Implix. "Another interesting fact is that we saw personalized subject lines made a big difference; [there was] a 26% higher open rate just from personalized subject lines."

Although just over 10% of European emails are not delivered, the Implix report shows that the email which is delivered has higher open, click through and bounce rates. A good indicator that adding the European marketplace to email campaigns will enhance overall campaign ROI.

"[M]arketers need to look at non-US or non-local area markets. By doing that they can increase click throughs and open rates. Should also look into personalizing subject lines because this study shows that just personalizing a subject line will increase the open rate," said Grabowski.

Click here to download the full Implix study.

Tags: bounce rates, email campaign, email click through, email marketing, email measurement, Implix, ReturnPath

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  • Come on. There are several reasons to explain this issue. First and foremost, do they follow best practices and know what the term "sender reputation" means and implies? Also, there is a move on the market, if you try to do a cynic sale via email, without offering any value to recipients, and if you do this practice three days a week with the exactly same promotion, dude, they definitely will mark you as spam, no matter if they opted-in a week or a month ago. There are guidelines to follow, its a pity most people focused on sales and marketers without interactive experience try to increase volume "because email is cheap"... next time think on your brand reputation and, again, your sender reputation.

  • Everyone seems to be in a tizzy of the recent Return Path Study, and while certainly more messages in the inbox are better for your programs and conversion rates, to be alarmed by the numbers seems to be an over-reaction.

    How many people throw away the junk mail that shows up in their physical mailbox without even giving it a first let alone second look? And the there seems to be no slowdown in the amount of marketing material delivered through that channel, and the senders in that case are paying a lot more than x cents per thousand to get their message out.

    As senders, we should all strive to follow the best practices possible, abide by all laws, and take all reasonable steps to work with the ISPs on delivery issues, but can anyone say they are really going to abandon the channel because 7% went missing in Europe or there is only an average 10% open rate in the US?

    I bet the people filling up my physical mailbox every day would jump up and down if they knew 10% of the people opened their messages and they are paying a lot more than email senders.

    It all comes down to the ROI. Make all reasonable deliver ability efforts you can and then decide is the open rate and conversion rate achieving success by your measures. More is always better, but delivery doesn't have to be 100% inbox for you to still be achieving your goals.



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