Overall e-mail delivery rates reached 94 percent each for the media and retail markets while financial services generated 91 percent, according to a fourth-quarter 2004 vertical benchmark analysis from e-mail marketing firm Bigfoot Interactive's work for clients.
Promotional and e-commerce efforts during the holiday season, particularly a large volume of e-mail triggered at key points in the customer lifecycle, characterized the fourth-quarter efforts versus the prior three months.
Overall delivery rates are defined as total e-mails attempted minus hard and soft failures.
Bigfoot, New York, said total promotional messaging from retailers grew nearly 50 percent, even as the average unique click-through jumped 26 percent over similar initiatives in third-quarter 2004. Fourth- and third-quarter click-through rates, respectively, were 4.8 percent and 3.8 percent.
Also, unique clicks to e-commerce sites and individual products were estimated at $375 million for the fourth quarter. This means shoppers browsed products worth that amount through e-mail.
Relevant and well-timed e-mails are acknowledged to have contributed to a 23 percent year-over-year jump in holiday e-commerce. E-commerce for the 2004 holidays was estimated at $21.6 billion.
Improved editorial initiatives produced an average unique open rate of 22 percent and an average click-through of 12 percent for media e-mails. Editorial newsletters with dynamic content performed best, Bigfoot said.
The surge in online bill payment, presentment and balance transfer pushed marketers to maintain a 96 percent rate for service messages in addition to the high delivery rate for e-mails of all types. Also, the growth in online banking is reflected in the 44 percent unique open rate for e-mails and 21 percent click-through rate for service-based e-mails and alerts.
The automotive sector saw open rates climb for service-based e-mails, from 77 percent in the third quarter to 81 percent in the fourth. Unique click-throughs for editorial messaging rose from 21 percent to 25 percent year over year. Year-end clearance and 2005 pre-launch and launch promotions generated a 20 percent unique click-through rate.
Bigfoot's analysis was based on aggregated retention e-mail campaigns from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 using its Direct Response E-Mail Application Manager. Individual campaign results are affected by factors like creative, audience, subject line and copy.
Meanwhile, Bigfoot added clients since the start of 2005. New users of its e-mail platform are companies like Cigna, Expedia, Northwest Airlines, HarperCollins, Verizon, Kaplan, GE Consumer Products, Merck, Quark, Rooms to Go, Callaway Golf Interactive, College Loan Corp. and Minnesota Life Insurance. Nonprofit acquisitions include BlueCross BlueShield, Children's Christian Fund and World Vision.
Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters