Email ROI and Industry Benchmarks

Email Campaigns Achieve 4,300% ROI

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2013 Statistical Fact Book, email campaigns had a staggering 4,300% ROI and earned $42.08 for every dollar spent on them.

Business owners ranked email marketing as the best channel for ROI in 2013, and attributed an average 23% of their total sales to it, says the report. As expected, mobile email advanced dramatically last year, and claimed the majority of the opens in 2013, closing the year with 51% of all opens. This was in line with the growth of global mobile data traffic, which jumped 81% in that period. Analysts at Cisco expect this trend to continue, notes the report, and predicted an 11-fold rise in global mobile data traffic by 2018.

The 2014 Email Marketing Metrics Report from MailerMailer features insights about the state of the email marketing industry during 2013, with data on open rates, click rates, click-to-open rates, bounce rates, scheduling, subject lines, and personalization, for marketers looking to improve the performance of their email campaigns.

The study compiled information from more than 62,000 email newsletter campaigns and around 1.18 billion email messages sent in 2013 by email marketers in 34 industry groups.

According to the study, reported by MailerMailer and Ayan Nanji of Marketing Profs, Email newsletters that arrived in consumers’ inboxes on Monday had the highest open rates on average last year.

The report found that emails arriving on Monday had a 12% average open rate in the first half of the year and a 12.9% open rate in the second half.

Emails arriving on Tuesday had the second-highest average open rate in the first half of the year, and Friday took the second-place spot in the second half.

The weekends accounted for the lowest open rates in 1H13, with 9.9% on Saturday and 10.3% on Sunday. In the second half of the year, the lowest open rates occurred on Sunday (9.6%) and Thursday (11.5%).

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The method for calculating the open rate of an email campaign involves dividing the number of unique message opens by the number of delivered messages. This figure is then expressed as a percentage.

Though open rates were relatively low on Sundays, clickthrough rates were high. Sunday had the highest average CTR in 1H13 (2.2%) and tied with Tuesday for the second-highest rate in 2H13 (2.1%).

Saturday had the lowest average click rate in 1H13 (1%); Monday and Wednesday tied for the lowest rate in 2H13 (1.7%).

Click Through By Day of the Week

In spite of the fact that there’s no single benchmark when it comes to click rate, says the report, analysts have still been able to determine the threshold for successful campaigns. Most B2C campaigns range from 2% to 12%, while their B2B counterparts range from 5% to 15%.

The method for calculating the click rate of an email campaign involves dividing the number of unique clicks by the number of total recipients, expressed as a percentage.

Emails are most likely to be opened earlier in the day, between 8 AM and 12 PM local time, says the report. Open rates on a typical day last year started to increase at 3 AM, peaked around 10 AM (at 6.5%), and declined slowly over the course of the afternoon and evening. A key thing to note is that these open times do not necessarily correspond to delivery times, since the emails were often opened many hours (or even days) after arriving in consumers’ inboxes.

Emails with short subject lines, between 4 and 15 characters, had the highest average open rate (16.8%), the analysis found. Emails with longer subject lines had lower open rates on average.

Click Rates by Subject Line

Analysts rely on the click-to-open rate for determining the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign. CTOR basically shows, of the people who opened a given email message, how many clicked on a link within the message. It is considered the most effective in measuring recipient engagement, says the report.

Considering the CTOR statistics of 34 industries, Recruitment and Staffing led the pack with a rate of 42%, which was nearly double the rate of its closest competitor. Transportation had the second-highest score at 22.6%, while Hobbies (22%) rounded out the top three. The three lowest CTORs were in the Restaurant, Bar and Night Club (4.1%), Manufacturing and Distribution (5%), and Architecture and Construction industries (6.3%).

Click to Open Rates by Industry

Interestingly, the report noted that personalization of a message’s subject line reduced its open rate, but personalization of a message’s content enhanced its click rate. In the past, says the report, spammers often used personalization to trick recipients into opening messages, so recipients may still be leery of opening messages with personalized subject lines. However, thoughtfully personalized message content may improve content relevancy, encouraging recipients to interact. This strategy will only become more effective as marketers collect increasingly comprehensive data on their recipients, concludes the report.

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