2012 association email_marketing_benchmark_report


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2012 association email_marketing_benchmark_report

  1. 1. The Informz 2012AssociationEmail MarketingBenchmark Report
  2. 2. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc.Table of ContentsIntroduction 1Email Marketing Metrics 1Key Findings 2Results 3Overall Association Metrics 3Results by Email Type 4Results by Country of Sender 6Results by Association Type 7Results by Email Client Usage 11Results by Length of Subject Line 16Results by Number of Links 17Results by Number of Recipients 18Results by Time of Day Sent 19Results by Day of Week Sent 20Average Number of Emails Sent by List Size 21Effects of Personalizing the Subject Line 22Open Duration Results 23Conclusion 24About Informz 25
  3. 3. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc.IntroductionEmail marketing has become one of the primary ways associations communicatewith members, and has proven to be both cost-efficient and highly effective.However, with the struggling economy and increasing demands on members’ time,optimizing email marketing campaigns has become more important than ever.Informz, the leading provider of email marketing solutions for the associationindustry, has performed a study on our association client base to provide emailmarketers from member-based organizations benchmarking information for theiremail programs. This study will help you to understand what metrics you shouldbe analyzing when reviewing your email marketing program, what goals youcan set based on similar organizations, and how your email marketing programis performing.This report includes a summary of email marketing metrics collected from over 700large and mid-sized associations that used the Informz email marketing platformin 2011. These associations, located in the United States, Australia, New Zealand,Canada and the United Kingdom, sent over 600 million emails in 2011, consistingof newsletters, appeals, surveys, and event-related emails.Email Marketing MetricsFour key metrics are used in this report: delivery, open, click and unsubscribe rates.Delivery Rate is the percentage of emails that were not reported back to Informzas bounced or blocked.Open Rate is the percentage of delivered emails that were reported back to Informzas having been opened. If the text version of an email is read, it is not counted.Likewise, if an HTML email is read with the images turned off, it is not counted.However, if an email is opened with images off, but a link is clicked, the email iscounted as being opened. Open rate only includes unique subscribers. Multipleopens by one subscriber only count once.Click Rate is the percentage of opened emails that were clicked by the recipient.Clicking on a link in a text email is not counted as a click. Click Rate only includesunique subscribers. Multiple clicks by one subscriber only count once.Unsubscribe Rate is the percentage of recipients who unsubscribed from aparticular mailing. 1 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  4. 4. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc.Key FindingsThe Informz Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report analyzed the resultsfrom 600 million emails sent by over 700 large and mid-sized associations.The key findings from this study are as follows:• The average email metrics for associations include a 98.28% delivery rate, 34.33% open rate, 19.49% click rate and a 0.052% unsubscribe rate.• As with the 2011 results, this year’s study found that the day of the week sent had little effect on the open and click results.• Emails sent in the morning resulted in the highest open rates at 39.2% while mid-afternoon reported the highest click rates at 21.0%.• For the third year, desktop email software usage continued to decline, while mobile email usage increased to 17%.• In this study, iPhone was the leader in the mobile device category at 12% while iPad reported at 4% and Android at 3%.• Shorter subject lines continued to outperform their longer counterparts. Fewer than 10 characters achieved the best open rate at 58%.• 49% of emails sent were read by recipients (opened for longer than 10 seconds) while 35% of emails were opened for less than 3 seconds.• Survey-related emails had the highest combined open and click rates with 36.60% average opens and 33.39% clicks. Appeal-related emails had the lowest click rate of the emails studied at 14.63% 2 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  5. 5. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Results Overall Association Metrics The following chart displays the average delivery, open, click, and unsubscribe rate from 600 million emails sent by over 700 associations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. Overall Association Metrics10080604020 0 98.28% 34.33% 19.49% 0.052% Delivery Open Click Unsubscribe 3 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  6. 6. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Results by Email Type For the purpose of this study, the subject line of emails were analyzed to determine the email purpose and then segmented by category. The categories of emails are Newsletter, Event, Appeal, and Survey. It was found that the delivery rate did not vary with the purpose of the email, so only open and click rate results are displayed. Open Metrics Based on Email Type Click 36.60% Survey 33.39% 39.37% Event 17.25% 31.44% Appeal 14.63% 27.64%Newsletter 22.11% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Notes: Event-related emails received the highest open rate but resulted in the second lowest click-thru rates. This disparity between opens and clicks signifies the importance of sending multiple emails during a campaign to promote an event. One possibility is that people receive event notifications but do not immediately take action to register for the event. Therefore, it is recommended to send several follow-up emails to remind people of registration deadlines and event updates to encourage them to take action. Appeal emails received similar results and should allow for multiple touch points to achieve conversion. Newsletters and surveys both had more even open and click results that can be attributed to the relevancy of the content to the recipients of these types of mailings. 4 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  7. 7. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Unsubscribe Rate Based on Email Type0.060%0.050%0.040%0.030%0.020%0.010%0.000% 0.054% 0.042% 0.032% 0.025% Appeal Newsletter Event Survey Notes: It is of no surprise that appeal emails resulted in the highest unsubscribe rate. As noted in the previous study, appeals also resulted in the lowest click rate. This proves the increased need to focus on segmenting and targeting requests based on what will resonate best with an audience. Utilize the data collected on past donation history, events attended, and interest areas to segment the group based on what they are most likely to donate. 5 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  8. 8. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Results by Country of Sender Based on the physical location of the association, email marketing results were split into USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for analysis. Other countries were omitted because there were less than 30 clients located in those countries. Delivery rate did not vary between countries, so it has been omitted from the chart. Open Metrics by Country Click 30.97% Australia 19.35% 32.85% Canada 23.93% 24.72% New Zealand 25.37% 37.08%United Kingdom 24.18% 35.24% USA 18.22% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 6 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  9. 9. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Notes: Memberships stretch throughout the world, making it difficult to deliver a message at the right time for everyone. Utilize demographic data to split groups by location and assign specific send times to each one to ensure it is delivered during the recipient’s workday. For Informz clients, try using the Informz Send Time Optimization tool, a feature that automatically sends an email to a recipient when they are most likely to open based on their past behavior. This removes the guesswork from determining the best time to send your email! Results by Association Type Business and Industry Associations 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Banking 98.90% Farming 98.12%Manufacturing 97.34% Delivery Tourism 96.70% Retail 97.74% Publishing 98.86% Medical 97.97% Education 97.88% Other 97.91% Banking 29.18% Farming 35.32%Manufacturing 23.58% Tourism 23.18% Open Retail 22.38% Publishing 33.14% Medical 32.86% Education 32.23% Other 31.38% Banking 21.41% Farming 27.06%Manufacturing 17.32% Tourism 16.19% Click Retail 10.88% Publishing 19.74% Medical 15.70% Education 26.69% Other 21.05% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 7 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  10. 10. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Professional & Trade Associations ~ Group 1 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Legal 98.24% Delivery Medical 99.07% Accounting 98.43% Architecture 98.39% Engineering 98.22%Human Resources 98.51% Insurance 98.83% Legal 36.65% Medical 57.60% Open Accounting 29.07% Architecture 31.48% Engineering 21.83%Human Resources 30.77% Insurance 31.08% Legal 23.61% Medical 11.88% Click Accounting 19.78% Architecture 18.97% Engineering 20.65%Human Resources 23.86% Insurance 17.67% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 8 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  11. 11. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Professional & Trade Associations ~ Group 2 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Management 98.09% Delivery Real Estate 98.28% Marketing 98.58% Media 97.92%Government 98.16% Education 97.86% Other 98.48%Management 49.36% Real Estate 38.67% Open Marketing 28.47% Media 28.88%Government 35.80% Education 32.22% Other 36.80%Management 14.66% Real Estate 23.29% Click Marketing 20.47% Media 13.51%Government 29.89% Education 26.76% Other 16.65% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 9 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  12. 12. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Other Organization Types 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Labor Unions 96.76% Fraternity/Sorority 97.17% Delivery Public Health & Wellness Education 96.28% Convention & Visitor’s Bureau 94.98% College~Admission 97.00% College~ 96.02%Alumni/Development Labor Unions 41.48% Fraternity/Sorority 41.53% Public Health & Open Wellness Education 25.59% Convention & Visitor’s Bureau 33.69% College~Admission 29.82% College~ 27.05%Alumni/Development Labor Unions 30.47% Fraternity/Sorority 14.77% Public Health & Click Wellness Education 17.56% Convention & Visitor’s Bureau 17.02% College~Admission 16.65% College~ 14.93%Alumni/Development 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Notes: To improve your own results, consider the profession your members are in. Are they away from a computer from 8am–3pm like education professionals; or are they constantly on the go like professionals in the medical industry? Tailor your emails so they are delivered at a time, or in a way, that works best for your members. The results of the study show that medical industry associations had the highest open rate but the lowest click-thru rate. This speaks to a need to make the content be brief, to the point, and relevant. 10 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  13. 13. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Government associations had a consistent open and click rate, the highest among the industries studied. Timing is key with this group: many professionals have “busy times” based on local elections, congressional schedules, etc. Understanding your membership and maintaining good data can help you to customize the email experience for your members and in turn, deliver better results. Results by Email Client Usage Informz is able to determine the email client or program used to view any email that is recorded as being opened by Informz. The first chart shows the relationship between desktop software (Outlook, Lotus Notes), web-based (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) and mobile email clients (iPhone, iPad, Android). It should be noted that emails opened in a web browser on a mobile device are considered mobile and not web-based. In addition, mobile devices that do not display HTML are not reported here. Opens by Type of Email Client Desktop Software80% Web Based Email70% Mobile Device60% Uncertain50%40%30%20%10%0% 67% 21% 6% 6% 61% 20% 13% 6% 57% 19% 17% 7% December 2009 December 2010 December 2011 11 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  14. 14. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Once again, mobile readership increased as web-based email and desktop software continued to decrease. Understanding what technology your members are using to read your emails on is essential to ensure it renders correctly. It is also important to consider the ever-growing tablet market, as tablet sales are expected to increase 62 percent in 2012. To optimize for mobile, look at the length of the subject line, width of the email, number of images, and the location of links. All of these small details go a long way in communicating a message to subscribers. Open and Click Comparison Open Based on Email Client Type Click 51%Desktop Only 15% 46% Mobile Only 5% 58% Both 13% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Notes: This study examines the average open and click rate based on the email client type that the subscriber uses. The results show that each desktop subscriber opens 51% of the emails sent to them and clicks on 15%. The results show that subscribers that only use mobile devices open an average of 46% of the emails that they receive but only click on 5%. Those that use both email client types, have a higher open rate (58%), but a lower click through rate than desktop only. Understanding that your audience may be using multiple technologies for the same email is crucial in the design and layout of the email. Mobile-only users resulted in a low click rate. This could be because many designs are not conducive to mobile readers, making it harder for them to read without zooming in or click on the correct link. The first step to help this is to include a link to the web version of the email and let the mobile readers know it is for them. Also, try spacing out the links so that it makes it easier to click on the small screens of mobile phones. Make changes to your email design and layout to create a combination design that will work best on either mobile devices or PCs. 12 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  15. 15. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Outlook and iPhone/iPad Usage Outlook60% iPhone/iPad50%40%30%20%10% 0% 57% 6% 51% 9% 47% 16% December 2009 December 2010 December 2011 Outlook remains the email client leader in this study. However, similar to the mobile devices results of 2010, the usage of the iPhone and iPad has more than doubled since 2009. It is important to learn what your members are using and then design for those email clients. Each client renders differently, and this can affect how your message appears and could affect your email engagement. Outlook 2000/2003 Desktop Email Client Usage Outlook 2007 Apple Mail40% Outlook 201030% Lotus Notes20% Thunderbird10%0% 31% 17% 8% 2% 2% 1% 24% 15% 7% 7% 1% 0% December 2010 December 2011 Note: The percentages are based on total opens across all types of email clients. The results show that all desktop clients, with the exception of Outlook 2010, experienced a declined from 2010 to 2011. 13 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  16. 16. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Web-Based Email Client Usage Yahoo Hotmail10% 9% GMail 8% 7% AOL 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% 5% 4% 4% 3% 7% 4% 3% 3% December 2010 December 2011 Mobile Email Client Usage iPhone12% iPad11%10% 9% Android 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% 10% 2% 1% 12% 4% 3% December 2010 December 2011 14 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  17. 17. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Email Client Usage by Country of the Recipient 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Desktop Software Australia 75% Canada 70% China 73% France 77% Germany 76% Japan 81% Mexico 60%New Zealand 84%United States 56% Australia 14% Mobile Device Canada 14% China 11% France 11% Germany 11% Japan 9% Mexico 16%New Zealand 8%United States 20% Australia 3% Canada 6% China 6% Uncertain France 7% Germany 8% Japan 6% Mexico 6%New Zealand 3%United States 7% Australia 7% Canada 11% Web Based Email China 11% France 5% Germany 5% Japan 4% Mexico 18%New Zealand 5%United States 17% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 15 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  18. 18. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Results by Length of Subject Line Open Rate Based on Subject Line Length 60% 58% 50% 42% 40% 36% 35% 35% 34%Open Percentage 31% 30% 28% 20% 10% 0% <10 10–19 20–29 30–39 40–49 50–59 60–69 >69 Subject Line Length Notes: There is never a second chance to make a first impression. An email’s subject line is one of the first things subscribers see to determine if the email is worth opening and they usually make that decision in less than three seconds. If your subject line is too long (more than 50 characters on a PC or more than 30 characters on mobile) it will be truncated and could deliver a different meaning than you intended. In most emails, shorter subject lines resulted in higher open rates. In the end, take time to consider your subject line and be mindful of the length. The subject line is also great for ongoing A/B testing to determine what works best for your audience. 16 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  19. 19. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Results by Number of Links 40% Click Rate Based on Number of Links 31% 30% 29%Open Percentage 26% 21% 20% 20% 19% 19% 14% 11% 10% 0% 1 2 3–4 5–7 8–15 16–30 31–50 51–70 >70 Number of Links Notes: As found in the 2011 Benchmark Report, the more links in an email, the higher the click-thru rate. Providing readers with multiple opportunities to click to reach the same location is good. However, providing readers with too many different links (such as a join now, register now, download program, etc.) will distract them from the main call to action. Keep the message simple and straightforward, while offering a way readers can click-thru in multiple areas. Testing the placement of links is a great way to gain insight into how your readers read your email. 17 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  20. 20. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Results by Number of Recipients Open Metrics Based on Number of Recipients Click 60% 57.55% 50% 40%Open Percentage 35.73% 30% 29.20% 31.25% 27.51% 24.50% 24.00% 22.64% 20.64% 20% 19.38% 18.11% 17.21% 15.70% 15.56% 14.80%14.46% 13.84% 12.97%12.10%13.62% 10% 0% <50 50–100 100–250 250–500 500–1k 1k–5k 5k–50k 50k-100k 100k–250k >250k Number of Recipients Notes: Deliverability was omitted from the results, as there was no change among the categories. However, the results show that email engagement decreases as the list size increases. For lists that were under 500 recipients, open and click rates were the highest because the targeting and relevancy are also at their highest. Relevant content is key to improving conversions and keeping subscribers happy. The number one reason members unsubscribe is that they receive too many emails that are not valuable. Segment your list based on data you know, demographics, transactional or behavioral data, and then target your message accordingly. 18 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  21. 21. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Results by Time of Day Sent Open Metrics Based on Time of Day Sent Click 39.2% Morning 16.5% 33.9% Mid-Day 19.7% 32.1%Late Afternoon 21.0% 32.0% Night 18.6% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Open and Click Rate Notes: Emails sent in the morning hours resulted in a slightly higher average open rate. This is a great time to send newsletters and other quick reads as individuals prepare for their day. The late afternoon, once again this year, saw higher click rates. Relevancy is a combination of creating the right content reaching the right person at the right time. Analyze when your subscribers are most active and then customize the send time to achieve optimal results. 19 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  22. 22. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Results by Day of Week Sent One of the most common questions asked by email marketers is, “when is the best day to send my email?” This study analyzes the mailing results by day of the week, Monday–Friday. Open Metrics Based on Day of the Week Click 33.85% Monday 18.52% 32.77% Tuesday 18.96% 33.97%Wednesday 19.85% 32.96% Thursday 19.72% 35.19% Friday 19.24% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Open and Click Rate Notes: As with last year, email delivery rates did not change based on the day of the week sent. The results also show that there is very little change in open or click rate based on the day of the week. Based on the results of this study and others in this report, it can be concluded that factors such as the relevancy of the content and the targeting of the email have a greater impact on results than the day of the week. 20 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  23. 23. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Average Number of Emails Sent by List Size This study analyzes the average number of emails sent per month by the total number of subscribers. This can be a good tool to compare the number of emails your association sends to those with a similar number of email subscribers. 9 Average Number of Emails Sent 8.5951 per Subscriber per Month 8 7.3706 7 6.8841 6.2764 6 5.9184 5.634 5.4167 5.4722 5 4.9976Number of Emails Sent 4 3 2 1 0 <2.5k 2.5k–5k 5k–25k 25k–50k 50k–100k 100k–250k 250k–500k 500k–1000k >1000k List Size 21 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  24. 24. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Notes: In addition to what day or time is better, we are often asked how many emails is too many. This is a tough question to answer due to the variables that come into play (type and relevancy of content, layout, purpose.) The smaller the list size, the more emails are being sent per month per subscriber. Associations with medium-sized lists send less per subscriber than the small or larger groups. Taking the time to segment your audience to deliver highly relevant content will help decrease the number of emails that are sent over the month to each subscriber. If you deliver a weekly newsletter, consider targeting stories within the newsletter for each audience. This will not cut back on the number of emails you send to the subscriber, but will make sure the ones you do send are more relevant, leading to higher engagement. Effects of Personalizing the Subject Line Open Rates Based on Personalized Subject Line Personalization Not Personalized 96%Delivery Rate 98% 31% Open Rate 36% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Notes: Personalizing the subject line resulted in lower open and delivery rates. This could be attributed to reasons such as being considered a non-trustworthy tactic or incorrect profile data being maintained. Instead of utilizing personalization in the subject line, try including it in the body of the email. Use A/B split testing on the subject line to determine the types of subject lines that are most effective with your audience. 22 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  25. 25. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc. Open Duration Results Average Open Duration 49%50%40% 35%30%20% 16%10%0% Read Skim Open (Greater than (3–10 (Less than 10 seconds) seconds) 3 seconds) Notes: Open duration is measured to determine if the recipient really read the email or if they opened and quickly closed it. At Informz, we separate the open duration into three levels: Open – the recipient looked at the email for less than 3 seconds Skim – 3–10 seconds Read – greater than 10 seconds. This report shows that of the emails studied 49% of email opens were reads, 35% skims and 16% opens. Understanding if a subscriber opened and clicked an email provides us with basic engagement results. Digging a little deeper to see if the subscriber spent time reading the message is key to understanding how relevant your content was. Relevancy is the most important factor in deciding if a reader is going to keep or delete the email. Relevancy applies to more than just text: utilize tactics such as video to entice readers to open, read, and click to view the video. Using new and innovative messaging techniques will help you see more readers in the “read” group than in the “open” group. 23 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  26. 26. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc.ConclusionThe purpose of this study was to provide industry-specific metrics to associationemail marketers, enabling them to have a better understanding as to:• what metrics to analyze when reviewing email marketing programs• what goals to set based on similar organizations• how their email marketing program is performingIt is important to remember that the results from this study should onlyprovide a general baseline to compare your current statistics. When consideringanalysis of your own email marketing program it is best to use these resultsin combination with your organization’s past email marketing campaign results,taking into consideration your specific audience and their needs. 24 © Informz, Inc., 2012
  27. 27. 2012 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Informz, Inc.About InformzSince 1997, Informz has been dedicated to serving the association and nonprofitindustries by offering powerful online marketing tools built to meet the uniquechallenges faced by these organizations.Email is a ScienceWeb-based technologies from Informz enable personalized, highly targetedcommunications coupled with real-time reporting features designed to reach theinbox and drive results. Sending the right message to the right people at theright time is achieved through email relevancy and your organization’s ability toleverage its database. Your successful marketing and communications dependson reaching the inbox and engaging subscribers. Simply stated, targeted emailcommunications improve your response rates, and better response rates increaseyour message’s impact.The Informz DifferenceIn addition to on-demand product support, you deserve one-on-one, up-to-dateemail marketing guidance relevant to your unique needs, built upon strongrelationships and reliable collaboration. In order to maximize your success,your exclusive eMarketing Advisor is always ready to assist throughout thedevelopment, publishing, and measurement of your email campaigns. Devotedto your professional success, Informz combines state-of-the-art technology withour trusted eMarketing Advisors to bring you products and services that alignwith your marketing goals.Through dynamic targeting, intelligent deliverability, precision reporting,seamless integration, and expert Advisors, Informz truly is “the way to knowemail marketing.” “Informz has been a great email marketing tool; providing great analytics, great customer service and an easy to use product. Informz is now our core email marketing solution — from emails and newsletter to surveys and alerts; it has become essential in our business.” ~Chris Ma, Australian Veterinary Association 25 © Informz, Inc., 2012