Report Email Performance with Context, Not Just Pretty Slides

June 29, 2018 Shelley Kessler

Every marketer wants to perform well, but sometimes they are unsure how they are doing. They create dashboards and powerpoints and spreadsheets documenting their performance – and this is great when the results are what they expect – but what happens when results take an unexpected turn? That’s where benchmarks come in.

We have published quarterly email benchmark reports for quite a few years. We manage email and cross-channel marketing programs for some of the largest and best brands in the world. And we compile, anonymize, analyze, and publish their performance data for the benefit of all marketers.

These benchmarks are meant to be used as tools. Email performance does not exist in isolation. A benchmark allows you to compare your performance to your peers. Knowing how your emails compare to all senders, as well as to your own industry vertical, helps you add some context to your performance and future planning. It should guide the questions you should be asking about what works and what to do next.

These are not snapshot measurements to be viewed in isolation, but trend measurements. That’s why we compare them to both the same quarter the previous year and the previous quarter to discover both yearly trends and ongoing trends.

Some highlights from the report about Q1 email performance:

  • The unique open rate for all industries was 16.9%. This represents a 5.8% decline compared to the unique open rate of 18% in the first quarter of 2017.
  • The unique click rate for all industries in Q1 was 1.7%. This was unchanged from the same quarter last year.
  • The click to open rate was 9.6% for all industries. This increased 8% from 8.9% in the first quarter of 2017.
  • The transaction rate was 0.05% in the first quarter and was the same last year
  • Revenue per email was $0.07 in Q1 of 2018, which is a 7% increase from $0.06 this same quarter in 2017.

The report also reviews the changing volume of email by quarter, the growth of mobile platforms with regard to opens and clicks, plus provides benchmarks for selected industry verticals: business products and services, consumer products and services, media and entertainment, multi-channel retailers, publishers, and travel.

Compare your own performance against your industry to know how you are doing against your peers in the same business as you. These metrics will also let you see how your industry is doing compared to all email marketers as a whole.

For example, if your open rates have dropped and the all-industry average is also down, then it may be more of a reflection of market health than a change in your specific program. Also compare a falling open rate to your specific industry vertical to understand how that industry performed. If your metrics dropped in sharper contrast to the benchmarks, consider testing things like subject lines, sender, and day and time of your email sends.

Download the 2018 Q1 Email & Mobile Benchmark Report today to compare your Q1 email performance to the industry and to improve your understanding of your metrics with more context.

About the Author

Shelley Kessler

Shelley Kessler is Senior Manager, Reporting and Analytics at Cheetah Digital. She reports on multi-channel trends through benchmarks, white papers, blogs, and seasonal performance analysis reviews, and consults on specific client projects. Prior to joining Cheetah Digital, she was Senior Marketing Analyst at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, where she provided program analysis, segmentation and recommendations for email and direct marketing campaigns for eight worldwide brands.

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