Yes Lifecycle Marketing have launched their annual benchmark report of email marketing – they analysed 30 billion emails sent in 2017 to measure the performance, open rates, subject lines, engagement and design. This report can be used to focus on concrete and achievable goals for all email marketers in 2018.
The key finding? Email volume was up 18% year on year.
New subscriber email trends
Businesses and brands are sending more and more emails, but new email subscriptions have steadily declined throughout the year.
“Throughout 2017, the share of new subscribers in marketers’ databases consistently declined, falling to its lowest point in Q4 when new subscribers accounted for just 3.5% of marketers’ mailable audience,” Yes Lifecycle Marketing.
In addition, 20% of a brands’ mailable audiences (those that has opted-in to receive emails) didn’t open an email in more than a year — representing a 22.5% year-on-year jump in inactive subscribers. However, open rates per subscriber did grow — with unique opens up 8.4 % year over year. These figures show that email engagement is not keeping up with email volume.
Mobile email marketing
Mobile email conversion rates have caught up to desktop conversions, with both at an average of 3.3% for the year. But has email adoption on mobile hit a peak? Mobile email marketing events (open rates and clicks) surpassed those of desktop events over 5 years ago but in
“With mobile open[s] and clicks making up 53 % of all email events over the last two years, email adoption on mobile has plateaued.” Yes Lifecycle Marketing.
Orders on mobile represented 46% of all email-driven orders — a 33 % increase year over year whilst email orders on desktops dropped 18%.
However, whilst the % of orders on mobiles increased, the average order value (AOV) for mobile orders still remains 40 % less than for desktop orders, with AOV on mobile at £41 compared to desktop’s £69 AOV – this mobile-to-desktop AOV ratio has not changed during the past three years.
Responsive design impact on email marketing
The report found that businesses that always send responsive email messaging— the design format that automatically adapts an email to the screen size – perform better on both desktop and mobile. For the brands that only used responsive design, their CTO (click-to-open) rate was 13.2% for mobile and 13.1% for desktop. Businesses that failed to use responsive design saw a smaller 9.7% CTO rate for both desktop emails and mobile emails.
Interestingly, the businesses that used responsive design inconsistently – only some of the time – performed the worst.
Email subject lines
The report took a good look at subject lines and performance analytics based on the offers listed in the subject line of an email. It found 23% of all the emails included an offer in the subject line, with 54% using a “% off” message.
Loyalty offers generated the percentages across the board for open rates, unique click rates, CTOs and conversion rates — this makes sense as this audience already have a relationship with the brand. Subject lines that include offers — “Free Shipping” or “ £ off” — generate four x the conversion rate of emails that do not have subject lines around offers, but they earn much less engagement overall with only a 2% conversion rate.
“The true bar for both engagement and conversion is set by standard emails that do not contain any offers in the subject line,” writes Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “Those emails drive considerably higher engagement than messages with offers, in fact, they generate 35 % higher open rate, 50% higher CTO, and 2x the unique click rate.”
So, there are many things to focus on when planning your next email marketing campaign, however it’s good to know that email remains the tried-and-true revenue driver generating more than 50 times its return on investment.