DoubleClick: E-Mail Performance Edges Up in Q4

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Commercial e-mailers enjoyed moderately improved campaign performance in the fourth quarter of 2003, according to DoubleClick.


The New York online marketing technology provider reported yesterday that e-mail delivery rates in the quarter improved from 86.5 percent a year earlier to 87.3 percent. Likewise, open rates rose from 36.4 percent to 36.8 percent, and click-through rates were up from 8 percent to 8.4 percent.


DoubleClick bases its quarterly ad-serving report on the 2.6 billion e-mail messages sent using its DARTmail platform.


DoubleClick has tracked two straight quarters of stable e-mail marketing performance in the face of spam, which has made delivery through vigilant filters difficult. In the third quarter, delivery, open and click-through rates all held steady or improved from a year earlier.


Kevin Mabley, director of strategic services at DoubleClick, said the quarter's improvement could be traced to smarter marketing. "I think people doing e-mailing are doing a better job of cleaning their lists, doing a better job of providing content people want to see, and doing a better job with permission," he said.


Marketers who track sales through DARTmail reported an average of 3.2 purchases per 1,000 e-mails sent, up from 2.5 percent a year earlier. Average order size fell to $100 from $101.72, and revenue per e-mail also fell to 26 cents from 32 cents. Mabley traced the lower revenue per e-mail to higher volumes.


The report showed holiday shoppers particularly receptive to e-mail pitches. Consumer product and services e-mailers enjoyed an increase in click-through rates to 10 percent from 9.7 percent, and catalogers saw their click-through rates rise from 7.1 percent to 7.5 percent. All industry categories but consumer publishers saw click-through increases.


The Direct Marketing Association released estimates yesterday that commercial e-mail generates $32.5 billion in sales yearly. DoubleClick's e-mail business generated $11 million of revenue for the company in the fourth quarter, up 7 percent from a year earlier. It said DARTmail volume was up 7 percent from the year-ago period.


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