E-Mail Click-Throughs Edge Up, DoubleClick Says

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E-mail click-through rates rose to 8.5 percent in the third quarter from 7.5 percent in the prior quarter, according to a study released by online advertising company DoubleClick Inc.


The increase comes even as e-mail open rates dropped marginally to 37.3 percent in the third quarter from 37.6 percent in the second, New York-based DoubleClick's 2002 e-mail marketing trend report said.


"Marketers are getting smarter about how they're utilizing the medium by focusing on list segmentation, testing offers and developing creative," said Susan Sachatello, chief marketing officer at DoubleClick.


The survey found that business products continued to have the highest open rates, with 47.4 percent. Travel was next with 42.5 percent, and consumer products had a 41.9 percent rate.


DoubleClick's report came the same day IT service provider Trans Cosmos USA Inc. offered to buy 62 percent of DoubleClick Japan Inc. Trans Cosmos USA is a subsidiary of Bellevue, WA-based Trans Cosmos Inc. The sale is to close on or after Dec. 25. Publicly held, DoubleClick Japan will continue using DoubleClick's DART technology.


In other news relating to the DoubleClick report, bounceback rates were a notch lower at 13.3 percent in the third quarter from 13.6 percent in the second. A bounceback is a message received saying the sender's e-mail has not been delivered. Non-delivery may be for reasons like a full in-box, address changes, new size limits on in-boxes or e-mail address blocks.


Retailer and cataloger bounceback rates dropped quarter over quarter from 14.6 percent to 11.9 percent. But business products and services had the highest bounceback rates in the third quarter, 16.5 percent. This was an improvement from 19 percent in the second quarter.


Sachatello said business products and services involved e-mails selling paper or stationery, and departing executives typically did not carry those relationships with them. For business publishing, executives often ensure to renew their e-mail subscriptions when they move companies.


"We think it depends on how important that content is to your business life," she said.


In terms of click-through rates for third quarter versus second quarter, business products and services rose from 7.5 percent to 7.8 percent, consumer products and services increased from 9.4 percent to 10 percent and consumer publishing went from 9.1 percent to 11.3 percent.


Similarly, retail and catalog click-throughs rose to 6.9 percent in the third quarter from 6.1 percent in the prior period, and business publishing was 6.9 percent, up from 5.2 percent.


Only travel slipped to an 8.3 percent click-through rate in the third quarter, from 8.4 percent in the prior three months.


HTML e-mails accounted for 43.6 percent of e-mails sent in the third quarter via DoubleClick's DARTmail e-mail delivery technology. This was up from 42.6 percent in the second quarter. Text e-mails lost popularity, accounting for only 17.3 percent in the third quarter, down from 21 percent in the preceding three months.


DoubleClick claimed HTML also outperformed text e-mail, garnering an 11.3 percent click-through rate as opposed to 6 percent for text.


Tuesday remains the best day to send e-mail, with almost 24 percent of all e-mails dropped that day. Travel marketers sent 42.2 percent on a Tuesday, and consumer products and services marketers sent 18.6 percent.


Wednesday is the next most popular day. Retailers and catalogers send 29.3 percent of their volume on that day. Thursday is lucky for consumer products and services marketers, who send 30.2 percent of their messages on that day.


A separate study of 1,000 online consumers released earlier by DoubleClick said 66 percent of recipients aim to use e-mail to help with holiday shopping.


Another DoubleClick survey recently conducted by Beyond Interactive and Greenfield Online showed consumers received an average of 254 e-mails a week this year, up from 159 last year.


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