Making the most of email trends and benchmarks

An email marketing expert weighs in on using quarterly metrics

Each quarter we compile and analyze aggregated data from billions of emails to help marketers assess performance and improve their digital messaging strategy. However, it may be challenging to understand how best to use this data, so we’d like to share our experience on how to can effectively use it for your email marketing programs.

How can you use this report?

The email trends and benchmark report has been crucial to Epsilon’s client services team. We often use it when working with stakeholders or client contacts who are not as well-versed in email metrics or jargon. The report can help them understand whether or not their email programs are performing well compared to benchmarks. I review this report to see how my clients stack up against their competitors. It also provides our team with talking points on the success of a program when presenting metrics internally or to client’s C-level executives.

This report tracks trends over time so we can respond to our clients with best practices or strategic recommendations. For example, a large CPG client started to see a decline in open rates as they mailed more frequently. With this report, they could see that they weren’t the only clients suffering from declining engagement rates. In fact, despite the decline, their results were still above benchmark averages.

Based on this information, we could complement the results with strategies to strengthen their email marketing program, such as subject line, “from” name and audience targeting testing. These metrics and recommendations have become a key part of our quarterly business reviews, and the client now expects to receive this feedback regularly.

So what’s in the report?

In addition to industry results, the report is broken down into two main categories: Business-as-usual (BAU) emails and triggered emails.

BAU email trends

The Q3 2018 BAU email trends and benchmarks analyzed performance trends by industry and message type. These metrics offer insight into how the average company performed across multiple industry categories.

Some notable stats from Q3 2018:

  • Open rates: 31.3%, consistent with year over year and prior quarter (31.2%)
  • Click-through rates: 3.3%, consistent with prior quarter (3.4%)
  • Unique open rates: 20.2% a slight increase over prior quarters (19.4%) and year over year (19.9%)
  • Unique click-through rates: 2.4%, a slight increase over prior quarter (2.3%) and year over year (2.2%)

Triggered email trends

Triggered emails are sent as the result of consumer activities, like welcome and confirmation emails. Since these messages only account for about 6% of all the emails that Epsilon sends, we tend to see more quarterly fluctuation as clients market to consumers in different ways throughout the year.

Some notable stats from Q3 2018:

  • Open rates: 63.2% higher than BAU, slight lower than year over year (67.9% over BAU)
  • Click-through rates: continue to perform well at 7.3%, more than double BAU (3.3%) at a 120.7% lift

With the right context, email marketers can use the benchmark report to demonstrate their value and make recommendations for the future. For in-depth insights, download the full Q3 2018 email trends and benchmarks report.