E-mail open, click rates flat, report finds: Epsilon

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Consumers are opening e-mail messages at a steady rate, but transactional or service e-mails are getting more attention, according to a third-quarter report from marketing services provider Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association.

Overall open rates were consistent at 22% in Q3, and click rates were up 0.2% to 5.4% in the quarter, according to the report, which looked at more than 5 billion e-mails sent from July through September. The average volume of e-mails sent per client increased by 10.2% year-over-year.

E-mails categorized as service or transactional messages, such as purchase confirmations, account service messages or triggered alerts, had a higher performance, with open rates at 37.3%, according to the report.

Kevin Mabley, SVP of strategic and analytic consulting at Epsilon, said transactional e-mails are a “prime opportunity to promote the brand and cross-sell products and services,” since they are “typically sent to valuable customers at the ideal time.”

Some retailers have “effectively leveraged purchase confirmations with messaging that promotes complementary products,” or offered coupons or discounts for future purchases, added Mabley, via e-mail.

Asked whether US consumers are abandoning traditional e-mail platforms in favor of social networks or other messaging services, Mabley said the opposite is true.

“Many research studies…show customers are more engaged with e-mail because of social, and vice-versa,” he said.

Shar VanBoskirk, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, agreed.

“E-mail is still one of the most widely adopted and used vehicles for marketing, and the majority of marketers that Forrester has surveyed are increasing or maintaining their spending on e-mail,” she said. “Consumers have multiple e-mail accounts and social inboxes, and they use their various inboxes for different things.”   

The report examined e-mails sent across 13 industries from roughly 150 clients, according to the report.

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