What analysing 10bn e-mails shows business leaders

JD Engelbrecht, Managing Director of Everlytic.

Johannesburg, 28 Apr 2021
Read time 3min 00sec

According to the Everlytic 2020 Email Marketing Benchmarks report, e-mail subscribers who have been opening their messages have been more engaged with the content than ever. The Everlytic Email Marketing Benchmarks report is the largest e-mail engagement study in South Africa, providing a unique categorised analysis of the billions of e-mails sent in the country.

Even though fewer people have been reading their e-mails (likely due to the economic uncertainty created by the pandemic and reduced inclination to spend on non-essential products and services), the report has highlighted the importance of providing subscribers with more value-added content than purely sales-driven information. Subscribers are looking for a richer journey than what traditional marketing campaigns can provide.

Growth ahead

The only industries that showed an increase in open rates last year were education (6% increase) and logistics (20%), which may be attributed to increased homeschooling and home deliveries via online shopping platforms.

* The above table notes the mean open percentages by industry

Surprisingly, even though hospitality, travel and tourism were impacted substantially by the pandemic, their e-mail engagement increased by 21%. This is likely due to how the lockdown left people unable to travel, but may have boosted their aspiration to do so. Additionally, the recipients may have kept engaging with those e-mails in the hopes that there were updates to travel regulations or on trips they had booked prior to the lockdown.

The report further highlighted that the pandemic impacted which devices people use to view their e-mails. Desktop use dropped substantially, with mobile and Web picking up in response. With many offices closing during lockdown and introducing a more flexible working environment, this was to be expected. In fact, every industry’s mobile views went up, while desktop views decreased.

* The graph above shows a comparison of e-mail open rates on desktop applications, mobile devices and Web-based platforms such as Gmail, yahoo, etc.

All about engagement

Marketers know that the success of e-mail campaigns comes down to the total number of engaged contacts. The ultimate return any organisation can hope for is to multiply the volume of its e-mail distribution list by the engagement rate. But to build engagement, the recipient must first open the message. It is therefore important to improve subject lines and start building brand affinity. In doing so, companies can improve open rates to improve the return on investment they are getting from their e-mail. Once opened, the relevance and compellingness of the call to action will lead to further engagement.

A smaller, engaged list could yield the same volume of engagement as a large, unengaged one. The findings of the report have shown the importance of practising e-mail list hygiene.

Amid changes in the digital marketing landscape, e-mail will evolve in functionality and should remain the go-to platform as it provides the most cost-effective way of engaging with customers on their terms.

Based on this comprehensive study, it is clear that delivering quality content to e-mail subscribers will be the cornerstone of any successful campaign. Subscribers have moved away from expecting a pure sales pitch to e-mails that deliver meaning to their lives. Generating this relevant content will significantly help to improve engagement rates.

To find out more about the statistics from your industry, click here to read the Everlytic Email Marketing 2020 Benchmarks report.

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Lesley Rencontre
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