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Email Conversions Best in Two Years: Epsilon

03/22/11

By Ken Magill

In a development that may signal marketers are getting smarter about interacting with customers after the click, Epsilon is reporting that average email conversion rates were up significantly in the fourth quarter of 2010 over the previous quarter and over the previous year.

The Christmas-shopping season no doubt had something to do with the improvement, as well.

In any case, in a study of 7.4 billion emails sent by Epsilon across multiple industries for around 150 clients, conversion rates increased 11.3% in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to the previous quarter and 16.1% over 2009, the marketing services provider reported.

What’s more, Q4 2010’s 2.9 percent average conversion rate was the highest the number has been in two years, according to Epsilon.

Moreover, median order sizes increased 19.8 percent in Q4 2010 compared to the previous quarter, according to Epsilon.

The increase in median order size and orders delivered per email led to a 16.1 percent increase in revenue in Q4 2010 over the previous quarter, according to Epsilon.

Meanwhile, email average open rates [an “open” is recorded when the receiving machine calls for graphics from the sender] remained relatively unchanged at 22.1 percent, Epsilon reported.

Of the industry sectors Epsilon tracks, travel and hospitality achieved the highest average open rate, coming in at 28.4%.

Banks achieved the second highest average open rate, coming in at 27.9 percent. General financial services came in at No. 3, achieving an average 26.9 percent open rate, according to Epsilon.

Retail apparel had the lowest average open rate in Q4 2010, coming in at 13.1 percent. Publishing had the second lowest average open rate: 14.1 percent, according to Epsilon.

Publishing’s low open rate isn’t remotely surprising. The industry takes a tonnage-oriented email marketing approach because advertisers demand volume. As a result, publishers are among the least likely industries to clean their files of inactive names.

Meanwhile, average click rates were 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, down from 5.9 percent in the same quarter of 2009, according to Epsilon.

The consumer-products sector achieved the highest average click rate: 10.3 percent, according to Epsilon.

Retail apparel and general products and services tied for the lowest average click rates at 3.8 percent, Epsilon reported.

While travel and hospitality came in strong in terms of opens, the sector’s average click rate was 4.2 percent, according to Epsilon.

And while publishing’s open rate was low, its click-to-open rate—the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link after opening the message [that is, turning the graphics on]—was the highest in the study: 34.6 percent, according to Epsilon.

Access the full report here.

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