Marketers increased their average email volume by 39% in the first quarter, compared with the prior year, according to a study from email marketing company Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association‘s Email Experience Council (EEC).
Epsilon and the EEC also found that the average email open rate increased 4% year-over-year to 23.3% in the first quarter. Despite that, click-through rates fell slightly – 0.1% – to 5.9%, compared with Q1 2010.
“One explanation for not seeing an increase in click rates, as we do in open rates, could be that the amount of messages…that consumers are receiving causes them to be more selective in what they are clicking through on. That increases the importance of focusing on the customer experience that your program offers,” said Judy Loschen, VP of digital analytics at Epsilon, via email.
The study also found that emails categorized as marketing messages dropped 8% quarter-over-quarter to 66.7%, although marketing emails delivered a 20.3% click-to-open rate in Q1. Loschen said the two results demonstrate that brands are sending educational and editorial messages instead of only marketing messages.
“One conclusion for direct marketers from this data is that your email program should not just focus on offers and sales. It should also focus on educational value propositions from your brand to keep your customers engaged with the channel and your brand,” she said.
The organizations based the study on 7.1 billion emails sent by about 140 North American Epsilon clients.