DoubleClick's Q3 2004 Email Trend Report Shows Email
Continuing to Drive Online Sales
Continuing Email Productivity Shows Positive Signs for Holiday Shopping
DoubleClick's Q3 2004 Email Trend Report reveals a significant increase in the productivity of email for online
merchants, with conversion rates and number of orders per emails delivered
both rising over the previous year’s rates. For all mailers, the latest
trend report shows continued stability in overall email performance over the
past two years, while year-on-year figures show an increase in delivery
rates and a decline in open rates and click-through rates.
Email Continues to Drive Sales, Although Revenue per Email Has Declined The
Q3 Email trend report shows an increase in email click-to-purchase
conversion rates and number of orders per email delivered for Retail and
Catalog customers that track purchase activity through DARTmail. The
click-to-purchase conversion rate grew 23.5 percent or 0.8 points
year-over-year, from 3.4 percent in Q3 2003 to 4.2 percent in Q3 2004. The
average number of orders per email delivered also rose significantly (17
percent or 0.04 points) year-over-year to 0.28 percent in Q3 ‘04 from 0.24
percent in Q3 ‘03. Despite these increases, two other measures of email
productivity showed declines. Revenue per email delivered declined
year-over-year to $0.21, a 19.2 percent drop, while the median order size,
declined 6.9 percent year-over-year to $94 in Q3 2004.
These figures, combined with a decline in click rates for Retail and Catalog
mailers (discussed below), suggest that email recipient behavior is evolving
with regards to promotional email from retailers. As the email medium
matures, recipients seem less likely to always click on a promotional email,
but when they do click, they are demonstrating that they are more likely to
be “in market” for products and services and have a higher propensity to
Overall Performance Remains Steady Despite year-over-year fluctuations,
overall email performance over the past two years remains stable with
regards to bounce rates, open rates and click-through rates. The average
delivery rate (emails sent minus the combined hard and soft bounce-back
rate) grew slightly year-over-year to 89.3 percent, an increase of 1.2
percent or 1.1 points from Q3 2003 (88.2%).
The average open rate (average of 34.3%) declined 7.5 percent from Q3 2003
(37.1%), while the average click-through rate (8.2%) decreased 10.9 percent
during the same period (9.2%). Despite the year-on-year decline,
click-through rates have remained relatively stable over a period of two
years, down only 3.5 percent or 0.2 points in that time, from 8.5 percent in
Q3 2002 to 8.3 percent in Q3 2004.
Email Performance by Category Delivery rates increased from the previous
year in almost every category, especially Travel, which rose 9 percent or
7.8 points from 14.3 percent to 6.5 percent. Open rates (37.1% in the Travel
category) also dropped in almost every category, while click-through rates
(8.7%) rose marginally in Travel over the previous year (from 8.5% to 8.7%)
Business Publisher was the only category that saw an increase, albeit
marginal, in open rates (from 38.2% to 38.3%). Business Products and
Services had the highest open rates at 41.5%, while Retail and Catalog had
the lowest open rates of any of the categories at 30.8%. The biggest
declines in open rates were in Consumer Products, which fell 22.8% from
43.9% to 33.9%, followed by Financial Services, down 14% from 44.3% to
38.1%, and Business Products and Services, down 10.4% from 46.3% to 41.5%.
Consumer Publisher (up 24.3%, from 9.3%) and Travel were the only categories
to record an increase in click-through rates. The biggest declines in click
rates were in Retail and Catalog (down 36.4%, from 8.8% to 5.6%), Financial
Services (down 27.9%, from 10.6% to 7.6%) and Consumer Products (down 22.6%,
from 11.5% to 8.9%). The highest click rate was for the Consumer Publisher
category, at 11.6 percent, and the lowest was Retail and Catalog at 5.6
“Once again, this Quarter’s data reveal the incredible effectiveness of
email as a marketing tool for online merchants and underscores the maturity
and stability of email as a communications vehicle,” said Kevin Mabley,
Director of Strategic Services at DoubleClick. “As more and more marketers
adopt and abide by best practices in list hygiene and continue to pay
attention to customer preferences, we predict response rates and conversion
trends will continue to hold strong – a great message for merchants this
Methodology The DoubleClick Email Trend Report contains aggregate data from
DoubleClick’s DARTmail email delivery technology. The Q3 data are based on
billions of permission-based emails from hundreds of clients. The full
results are available to DoubleClick customers and an executive summary is
available at: www.doubleclick.net/us/knowledge
Performance metrics in this release relate to un-weighted averages across
all companies. This is done to provide a measure of average company
performance, due to the fact that very large mailers can bias the overall
and category results.
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