Automation May Be Best Way to Fight Email Fatigue, New Report Says

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A new Email Marketing Benchmark Report from Informz says that marketing automation offers a way to take a more targeted approach to email campaigns. While the report focuses on association audiences, there are important analytics that can be gleaned for publishers as well.

“The uptick in engagement when using marketing automation can be directly attributed to perfecting the timing and relevancy of their messages,” said Joe Tyler, CEO and president of Informz, in a statement with the report. “Automated campaigns are the perfect vehicle for delivering content at precise times based on members’ behaviors, exactly when they’re looking for it, therefore eliminating concerns about email fatigue.”

They offer two examples:
  • A marketing automation campaign targeting website visitors and abandoned event registrations increased event registration by 25% and drove $19,000 in revenue.
  • A marketing automation campaign targeting members with low engagement scores saw an immediate positive impact on behavior: 60 days later, members maintained a higher engagement score.
Whether an association or a publisher, there exists a push-and-pull between should emails be centralized or should different departments send their own.

“Traditionally many associations adopted a centralized communication strategy,” the report said. “In a centralized communication strategy, emails are created, reviewed, and published through a single department. Funneling all communications through a single department gives visibility to email volume and cadence. Today many associations have adopted a decentralized team structure, giving greater autonomy to departments to authorize and send their own email communications.

“Regardless of organizational team structure, nearly 90% of associations say they are concerned about sending too many mass emails. Specifically, organizations are concerned about email cadence and impact to constituents.

Here are other takeaways from the report.

Shorter subject lines may be more effective. Emails with subject line lengths greater than 40 characters accounted for 50% of the volume, yet had open rates lower than the 35.6% benchmark. Subject lines with less than 10 characters had the highest open rate at 44% but accounted for less than 1% of the volume. (We all tend to be long-winded.) In fact the open rate decreases pretty much as the subject line length goes up.

Providing a few links can increase engagement. Emails containing between 3-7 links had click rates greater than the 2016 benchmark average.

Mobile readers engaged with emails longer than desktop readers. More than two-thirds of mobile readers spend longer than 10 seconds reading emails compared to 59.8% of desktop readers.

Email sent midday have the highest click rate.

iPhones account for 28.1% of email opens, while Outlook remains the second most popular client with 26.9% of email opens.

For the second consecutive year, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday had the highest email volume, accounting for 64% of emails sent, although Friday actually had the highest open rate by a very slight margin. Still, that goes against common thinking.

86% of the email volume came from senders in the United States. The United Kingdom accounted for the largest year-over-year increase in email volume at 47%. Canada’s had the second largest increase in volume at 21% and had a moderate increase of 4% in open rates. Australia and New Zealand had positive open and click rates slightly higher than last year.

76.6% of email opens occur just once, with mobile-only having the highest percentage at 34.3%. That goes along with the theory that people may use mobile to decide which emails to keep or not, going back later on desktop to ones they keep.

Mobile dominated in 2016 and was the most popular email client type with an open rate of 41.1%. Desktop email client usage dropped to 33.1% while Web email clients had the largest increase in usage, rising over 2%.

Download the full report here.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…