Consumers are still opening and reading emails but are more careful when it comes to clicking through, according to the DMA’s Email Benchmarking Report 2017.
The report, sponsored by dotmailer, suggests emails are opened and read 14.2% of the time. Compared to 2015 however, the aggregate click through rate for 2016 dropped from 1.8% to 1.6%.
Delivery rates remained high and open rates continued to be strong in 2016, with the most opened emails coming from travel (21.1%), utilities (15.0%) and retail (14.9%) brands. The least opened categories were not-for-profit (6.0%), publishing (7.6%) and finance (9.5%).
When it came to clicks, the top performing sector was utilities, with 2.5% winning clicks, followed by travel with 2.4%. The lowest performing sectors click-wise were publishing (0.77%), not-for-profit (0.83%) and finance (0.88%), echoing the pattern observed in open rates.
For the first time, the report collected email metrics for B2B and B2C emails, revealing that B2B emails were slightly more likely to be opened (22.0% for B2B, versus 18.7% for B2C). However, B2C emails received 57% more unique clicks than their B2B counterparts (2.3% for B2C vs 1.3% for B2B).
The figures also revealed an interesting disparity between the perceptions of customers and the experiences of marketers. Despite industry open rates of 14.2% in the Consumer Email Tracker 2016, consumers reported that they opened between 28.4% and 50.08% of their emails, between double and four times the number that Email Service Providers recorded.
Jenna Tiffany, a member of the DMA Email council’s research hub and Founder & Strategy Director at Let’sTalk Strategy, said the figures had to be viewed in context.
“A large percentage of utilities emails sent are statements or bills, as a result they generate a high open and click rate as customers click to check them,” she explained. “Talking more generally, offers do still play a key part in B2C email content, which typically drives a higher open and click rates. This is especially true with more frequent purchases, unlike in B2B where the purchase cycle is longer.
“It’s also important to take into consideration when comparing B2B and B2C emails that, typically, a higher proportion of B2B emails are follow-ups or ‘FYIs’ to a conversation that’s recently taken place – such as after a telephone call – which require no action from the recipient, hence the lower click rate.”
The 2017 report had twice as many contributors as last year’s. Thanking those who volunteered their data, Marcus Gearey, Chair of the DMA Email council’s research hub and Analytics Manager at Zeta Global, said: “As the only report of its type, the more contributors we have, the more legitimate the benchmark becomes.”