Email Opens Up Y-O-Y in Q2 For Multi-Channel Retailers

September 4, 2012

experianmktgsvcs-email-performance-analysis-retailers-q2-aug2012.pngMulti-channel retailers enjoyed year-over-year email open rate increases in Q2, according to [download page] the Experian CheetahMail 2012 Q2 email benchmark report. The total open rate for these brands stood at 20.5%, up from 19.3% a year earlier, while the unique open rate was 14.9%, up from 14%. And while the category’s total click rate dropped to 4% (from 4.3%), it actually increased by 10.9% on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Similarly, unique click rates increased 4.4% quarter-over-quarter to 3%, despite falling from 3.4% in Q2 2011.

The click-to-open rate (CTOR) for multi-channel retailers was 16.8%, down significantly from 20.4% the prior year. Average order also fell from $194.31 to $179.26, although revenue per email increased from $0.13 to $0.14.

Travel Emails Get High Open Rates

The travel industry, which saw above-average growth in email volume of 41.3% year-over-year, also experienced a significant improvement in open rates. The total open rate was 30.5%, far above the 21.9% average for the 7 industries studied, and up from 27% a year earlier. The unique open rate stood at 19.6% – also above the 15.2% average – and an improvement from Q2 2011’s 17.9%.

Travel brands did see a year-over-year decline in total (3.5% vs. 3.6%) and unique (2.4% vs. 2.5%) click rates, although those drops were relatively small.

Business Products and Services Email Click Rate Rises

Of the 7 industries studied, only 1 – business products and services – saw a significant year-over-year increase in total click rate, with the sector experiencing an increase from 4.8% in Q2 2011 to 6.1% in Q2 2012. The study reports, however, that only 42% of these brands had a statistically significant increase, with finance and insurance brands among those.

The industry’s unique click rate dropped from 2.8% to 2.5%, but saw far higher declines in revenue per email ($0.30 vs. $0.49) and transaction rate (0.17% to 0.23%), which the report attributes to brands in the office supplies and electronics sub-categories having a big increase in volume for the quarter.

Other Findings:

  • Each of the 7 industries – save for catalogers and media and entertainment – saw a decrease in bounce rates. The bounce rate actually doubled for catalogers, to 1.4%.
  • Average order for business products and services rose from $267.80 to $282.36.
  • Open and click rates declined year-over-year for consumer products and services brands. On a more positive note, average order increased from $90.80 to $100.87 and the unsubscribe rate tumbled from 0.3% to 0.19%.
  • Publishers experienced a year-over-year drop in open and click rates, with the click-to-open rate also falling from 19.7% to 16.4%.
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