Ups and Downs for Second Quarter E-Mail Report

E-mail marketing saw a decline in bounce-back rates, but click-to-purchase conversion rates, and orders per e-mail delivered also slipped in the second quarter of 2005 compared with the same quarter last year, according to DoubleClick’s Q2 2005 E-mail Trend Report. Open rates declined 23.6% from Q2 2004, marking a fifth consecutive quarter of falling rates.

Bounce rates declined 25%, to 7.9%, from the Q2 2004 rate, which marked a new all-time low. Click-through rates fell slightly from 7.7% to 7.2% in Q2 2004, but remained above the historical low rate. The click-to-open ratio increased to 32% from 26.5%, demonstrating that content helps drive click response once an e-mail has been opened, and show consumers respond to e-mail when they are cyclically “in the market” for particular content of offers for which they have subscribed.

Open rates fell to 27.5% from 36% in Q2 2004 because of ISP and e-mail technology changes, file aging, and evolving consumer behavior. The technology changes reflect the increased adoption of image blocking by several ISPs and in Outlook, either in bulk folders or by default. DoubleClick also found that new addresses tend to outperform older addresses, leading to a natural downward pressure on open rates as new addresses become a smaller percentage of a marketers overall file. Consumers are also increasingly selective about which e-mails they open because of the increasing volume of messages they receive.

For retail and catalog marketers that track purchase activity through DARTmail, conversion data also remained strong in Q2 2005. The click-to-purchase conversion rate rose 27.8% to 4.6% in Q2 2005, while orders per e-mail delivered rose 18.2% to 0.26% vs. 0.22% a year ago. Despite a 14% decline in average order size (from $93 in Q2 2004 to $80 this quarter), revenue generated per e-mail remained stable at $0.20.

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