Metrics Don't Exist in a Vacuum. Compare Yours to Industry Benchmarks.

September 7, 2018 Jeffrey L. Cohen

Marketers start every day with a list of tasks to be completed. There are some things on the list that don’t get completed and get pushed until tomorrow. One of the things on the list that can’t move is reviewing that email that has to go out promoting the latest sale.

The sale is happening this weekend. So, the email is happening.

Sometimes with such an ongoing volume of email it is the reporting that doesn’t always happen in a timely manner. These metrics you are collecting can feel like they exist in a vacuum. Yes, the point of reporting is to determine how your emails performed. But the real point of reporting is to discover how to improve and do better next time. That can be a real challenge when planning for the next email begins this afternoon. Before the last one even went out the door.

This is where our quarterly benchmarks come in. Every quarter we aggregate metrics from our North American clients, so you can compare your performance to the overall industry. We also publish benchmarks for several vertical industries. Both of these sets of numbers can help you understand the performance of your email program.

And just as a reminder, a benchmark is not an absolute number. It is a measure of performance. And performance constantly changes. That’s why we publish this data every quarter. They are also not meant to be snapshot measurements, but trend measurements. That’s why we compare them to both the same quarter the previous year and the previous quarter.

Q2 2018 performance metric benchmarks

Here are some of the most relevant metrics from the second quarter of 2018.

Download the Q2 2018 Email & Mobile Benchmark Report to see additional metrics for all industries, as well as details for selected vertical industries.

Q2 2018 email volume variance

Email volume in the second quarter of this year was barely lower than the second quarter of last year. It was down by 0.7% – which is effectively the same – for all industries. It was completely flat for multi-channel retailers and slightly down for our travel clients by 1.9%. The biggest change compared to second quarter last year was in business products and services, which had a 17.6% increase in email volume.

Why look at email volume as a benchmark? Understanding volume helps put all the metrics that follow into context. Large increases in volume due to increased frequency of mailings, or significant changes in list size, will usually see a decrease in performance rates, even as opens, clicks, and transactions may increase in number. The increases are rarely linear, so that a 50% increase in volume, for example, is unlikely to bring about a 50% increase in opens or sales. Conversely, smaller, targeted mailings typically have higher rates, but may not have the breadth alone to bring in the higher volume of sales needed by a brand.

Get more detail on all of these metrics, plus understand the changing mobile landscape for email, download the Q2 2018 Email and Mobile Benchmark Report today.

About the Author

Jeffrey L. Cohen

Jeffrey L. Cohen is the director of content strategy at Cheetah Digital, where he creates entertaining and educational thought leadership content to grow the brand. He’s an award-winning marketer, strategist, and author (The B2B Social Media Book) with a 25-plus year marketing career.

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