Quarterly Email Benchmark Study
Q4 2012 — October, November, December
An Experian Marketing Services benchmark study
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Table of Contents
Q4 2012 Executive summary............................................................................................1
A spotlight on: Time of day/Day of week testing......................................................2
Q4 2012 Benchmarks..........................................................................................................4
Year-over-year email volume comparison..................................................................................4
Email volume variance YOY Q4 2012 versus Q4 2011...............................................................4
Email volume variance quarter to quarter..................................................................................5
Email performance analysis............................................................................................6
All industry........................................................................................................................................6
All industry quarter to quarter......................................................................................................7
Business products and services..................................................................................................7
Catalogers.........................................................................................................................................8
Consumer products and services................................................................................................9
Media & entertainment.................................................................................................................10
Multi-channel retailers..................................................................................................................10
Publishers.......................................................................................................................................12
Travel................................................................................................................................................12
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Q4 2012 Executive summary
The following report details the overall trends for the fourth quarter of 2012 as well
as the key performance indicators (KPIs) that shaped the success of Experian
Marketing Services’ client email programs over the past two years.
•Email volume rose by 5.4 percent in Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011.
•Unique open rates were up year-over-year by 12.8 percent.
•Unique click and transaction rates matched those seen in Q4 2011.
•Revenue per email increased from $0.13 to $0.14 year-over-year, an
8 percent increase.
This quarter in the “spotlight on” section we look at time of day/day of week
testing. We’ve taken a historical look at time of day and day of week results for
Q4 2012.
•The ‘best’ time and day to mail varies by industry, however, across all brands
and industries:
−−Emails deployed on Saturdays and Sundays had the highest open, unique
clicks, transaction rates and revenue per email, yet had the lowest volume
deployed compared to other days of the week.
−−For weekdays, Monday had the highest revenue per mail, but Friday had the
higher click rate.
−−Deploying emails between 8:00 PM and 11:59 PM and midnight to 4:00 AM
proved to have the highest response rates in all areas, yet also had the lowest
percent of email volume.
•To optimize results, it is essential to test the best time and day for your
individual brand.
An Experian Marketing Services Benchmark Study | Page 1
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
A spotlight on: Time of day/day of week testing
With the amount of data that is being captured, stored, processed and analyzed
in today’s world, combined with the speed that results boomerang back to the
tester, we operate in a time and place where there is no excuse to not continually
optimize your email marketing campaigns via some sort of testing procedure.
One of the simplest things to test, that marketers don’t often take the time to do,
is the best time of day and day of week to email customers. Best-in-breed email
programs should regularly evaluate their deployment times. Since the optimal time
to mail customers is not a static concept. Optimal mailing time often depends
upon your customers’ behaviors, inbox crowding and the deployment times of
other marketers.
Time of day/day of week testing
The following graphs show at an aggregate level what was historically observed as
the best day and time for an email deployment in Q4 2012.
Day of week performance
Q4 2012 – all industry
Days
Monday
Volume %
17%
16.6%
2.7%
.12%
$.17
$173
$.16
$189
Thuesday 15%
Wednesday 16%
16.8%
2.7%
.12%
16.7%
2.6%
.11%
$.13
Thursday
15%
16.5%
2.5%
.11%
$.14
Friday
17%
16.4%
2.6%
Saturday
9%
Sunday
10%
17.8%
17.8%
.13%
2.9%
2.9%
0.0%
20.0% 0.0%
4.0%
Unique opens Unique clicks
.16%
.13%
$.16
$.20
$.19
$188
$195
$179
$176
$189
0.10% .20% $.10 $.20
$0 $100 $200
Trans. rate Rev. per email Average order
Page 2 | Quarterly Benchmark Study: Q4 2012 — October, November, December
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Time of day performance
Q4 2012 – all industry
% of
% of
Volume Transactions
Range name
14%
12:00a.m.–3:59a.m. 12%
22%
4:00a.m.–7:59a.m. 20%
42%
8:00a.m.–11:59a.m. 40%
12%
12:00p.m.–3:59p.m. 15%
4:00p.m.–7:59p.m.
10%
8:00p.m.–11:59p.m. 2%
9%
2%
17.6%
16.2%
3.2%
2.5%
.20%
.15%
$.22
$.18
16.1%
17.6%
2.4%
2.8%
.13%
.13%
$.17
$.15
18.2%
21.7%
2.9%
4.2%
.15%
.34%
$.16
0.0% 30%
Unique
opens
$135
$164
$174
$188
$.48
$182
$246
0.0% 6.0% 0.0% .40% $0
$.60 $0
$300
Unique
Trans.
Rev. per
Average
clicks
rate
email
order
Source: Experian Marketing Services
Looking at these results, we see that Saturday and Sunday had higher open, click
and transaction rates, but much lower volume. For weekdays, Monday had the
highest revenue per mail, but Friday had the better click rate. Volume also plays
a role in time of day, as 8:00 PM – midnight and midnight - 4:00 AM had higher
responses than the more popular 4:00 AM to noon times. However, as every
brand’s customers behave differently, it is most likely the case that the optimal
day of week and time of day for your email deployments will show a different
pattern of performance. It is important to remember that the data from the
aggregate graph is retrospective, not a controlled study. When designing a time
of day/day of week study for your subscribers, it is imperative that the various day/
time groups be defined ahead of time and in a manner that incorporates random
sampling techniques.
An Experian Marketing Services Benchmark Study | Page 3
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Q4 2012 Benchmarks
Year-over-year email volume comparison
The following benchmarks report on the year-over-year (YOY) trends for the fourth
quarter of 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. This quarter, email volume
rose by 5.4 percent compared to Q4 2011.
Email volume variance YOY Q4 2012 versus Q4 2011
Volume variance by industry
Q4 to Q4 (2012 versus 2011)
25%
21.4%
20%
14.3%
15%
10.4%
5.7%
-15%
-20%
Travel
Publishers
Business Products
and Services
-10%
-17.0%
Multi-channel
retailers
-5%
5.4%
Media and
Entertainment
-11.1%
Consumer Products
and Services
0%
2.2%
Catalogers
5%
All industry
10%
Source: Experian Marketing Services
•As we saw in Q3, Travel had another major increase in volume as two-thirds of
travel brands increased mailings in Q4 2012.
•Publishers and Consumer Products and Services also had double digit gains in
volume in Q4 2012.
Page 4 | Quarterly Benchmark Study: Q4 2012 — October, November, December
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Email volume variance quarter to quarter
Volume variance Q4 compared to Q3
by industry – 2011 and 2012
0.40%
36%
0.35%
32%
30%
0.30%
26%
0.25%
24%
22%
23%
22%
1%
0.20%
16%
0.15%
22%
0.10%
1%
4%
2%
3%
1%
Q4 2011 to Q3 2011
Tr
av
el
Bu
si
ne
an ss
d Pro
Se d
rv uc
ic ts
Ca es
Co
ta
lo
ns
ge
um
rs
e
an r
d Pr
Se od
rv uc
ic ts
En
e
te M s
rta e
i d
M nm ia &
ul
e
ti- nt
C
Re ha
ta nn
il e
Pu ers l
bl
is
he
rs
0.00%
Al
lI
nd
us
try
0.05%
Q4 2012 to Q3 2012
Source: Experian Marketing Services
•All verticals had some gains in volume in Q4 compared to Q3 2012. Consumer
Products and Services and Multi-Channel Retailers led the way with increases
of over 30 percent in Q4 compared to Q3.
An Experian Marketing Services Benchmark Study | Page 5
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Email performance analysis
In order to enhance our understanding of what’s happening by Industry, we have
created views that look at all metrics and compare Q4 year-over-year for 2012
versus 2011. The following is a legend for each of these views:
All industry
Q4 all industry
year-over-year performance analysis
Variables
Q4: 2011 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Transaction-to-click
Transacation rate
Revenue per email
Average order
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
20.5%
14.4%
16.2%
3.6%
2.5%
5.5%
0.11%
$0.13
$160.99
3.1%
0.16%
23.6%
16.3%
14.4%
3.5%
2.5%
5.3%
0.11%
$0.14
$180.25
2.3% -27.9%
0.13%
15.3%
12.8%
-11.4%
-1.1%
1.4%
-2.7%
0.8%
8.0%
12.0%
-17.1%
-30% -25% -20% -15% -10% -5%
0%
5%
10% 15% 20%
Year-over-year variance
Positive change
Minimal change
Negative change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
•In Q4 2012 total and unique open rates were above the Q4 2011 rates, while
click rates matched those seen in 2011.
•Transaction rates were the same as Q4 2011, while revenue per mail and
average order rose nicely by 8 percent and 12 percent respectively. Fifty-five
percent (55%) of brands had statistically significant increases in revenue per
email this quarter.
•The $0.14 revenue per email achieved in Q4 2012 is 30 percent higher than the
$0.11 seen in Q3 2012.
Page 6 | Quarterly Benchmark Study: Q4 2012 — October, November, December
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
All industry quarter to quarter
Q4 compared to Q3
all industry performance analysis
Variables
Q3: 2012 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Transaction-to-click
Transacation rate
Revenue per email
Average order
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
22.5%
15.7%
15.1%
3.8%
2.7%
4.9%
0.10%
$0.11
$163.23
2.4%
0.14%
23.6%
16.3%
14.4%
3.5%
2.5%
5.3%
0.11%
$0.14
$180.25
2.3%
0.13%
4.8%
3.6%
-4.8%
-6.7%
-6.2%
9.0%
12.9%
30.1%
10.4%
-5.5%
-5.4%
-10% -5%
0%
5% 10%
15%
20% 25%
30% 35%
Year-over-year variance
Minimal change
Positive change
Negative change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
Business products and services
Q4 Business products and services
Year-over-year performance analysis
Variables
Q3: 2012 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Transaction-to-click
Transacation rate
Revenue per email
Average order
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
22.4%
13.7%
12.2%
2.8%
1.8%
11.9%
0.25%
$0.49
$297.48
6.3%
0.22%
26.4%
15.4%
12.0%
3.1%
2.0%
9.1%
-35.6%
0.16%
-39.0%
$0.30
$300.24
3.3% -47.8%
0.17%
-50%
-40%
17.8%
12.7%
-1.8%
10.0%
10.8%
-23.9%
0.9%
-20.6%
-30%
-20%
-10%
0%
10%
20%
Year-over-year variance
Positive change
Minimal change
Negative change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
An Experian Marketing Services Benchmark Study | Page 7
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
•Both open and click rates rose for Business Products and Services in Q4 2012.
Sixty percent (60%) of brands enjoyed a statistically significant increase in total
open rates.
•Luxury brands saw declines in transaction rates and revenue per email in
this vertical.
Catalogers
Q4 Catalogers year-over-year performance analysis
Variables
Q4: 2011 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Transaction-to-click
Transacation rate
Revenue per email
Average order
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
12.1%
9.5%
14.0%
1.9%
1.4%
8.4%
0.12%
$0.13
$129.33
0.9%
0.21 %
13.5%
10.7%
12.4%
1.9%
1.4%
9.5%
0.13%
$0.13
$111.76
0.3%
0.06%
11.7%
12.7%
-11.1%
-0.5%
-0.2%
14.4%
10.7%
-0.5%
-13.6%
-66.7%
-70.1%
-80%
-60%
-40%
-20%
0%
20%
Year-over-year variance
Positive change
Minimal change
Negative change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
•Open and transaction rates rose for catalogers this quarter, while click rates
matched those seen in Q4 2011. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of brands saw
statistically significant increases in unique opens, and 64 percent had significant
increases in transaction rates.
Page 8 | Quarterly Benchmark Study: Q4 2012 — October, November, December
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Consumer products and services
Q4 Consumer products and services
year-over-year performance anaylsys
Variables
Q4: 2011 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Transaction-to-click
Transacation rate
Revenue per email
Average order
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
19.6%
13.9%
15.6%
3.3%
2.3%
7.9%
0.13%
$0.09
$95.20
3.9%
0.20 %
23.2%
16.1%
13.7%
-12.5%
3.4%
2.4%
8.2%
0.13%
$0.12
$103.74
3.3%
-15.4%
-12.4%
0.17%
-20%
18.4%
15.5%
1.9%
7.6%
4.0%
-1.7%
31.1%
9.0%
-10%
0%
10%
20%
30%
Year-over-year variance
Positive change
Minimal change
Negative change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
•Unique click rates rose in Q4 2012 as over 53 percent of brands had a statistically
significant increase compared to Q4 2011.
•With a strong performance from Beauty and Grocery & Pharmacy brands,
revenue per email rose over 31 percent. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Consumer
Products and Services brands had a statistically significant increase in revenue
per email in Q4 2012.
An Experian Marketing Services Benchmark Study | Page 9
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Media & entertainment
Q4 media and entertainment
year-over-year performance analysis
Variables
Q4: 2011 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
22.7%
15.6%
18.0%
4.7%
3.3%
3.6%
0.1 %
21.9%
16.3%
16.4%
3.8%
2.7%
3.0%
0.1%
3.6%
4.3%
-8.5%
-20.3%
-18.1%
-15.9%
-11.4%
-15%
-20%
-10%
-5%
0%
5%
Year-over-year variance
Positive change
Minimal change
Negative change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
•While total and unique click rates declined year-over-year for the Media &
Entertainment vertical, they rose over 10 percent from Q3 2012 (from 3.5% to
3.8% for total clicks and from 2.5% to 2.7% for unique clicks).
Multi-channel retailers
Q4 Multi-channel retail year-over-year performance analysis
Q4: 2011 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Transaction-to-click
Transacation rate
Revenue per email
Average order
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
18.5%
13.8%
17.9%
3.8%
2.8%
3.7%
0.09%
$0.15
$188.04
1.6%
0.12 %
19.9%
15.2%
14.9%
3.2%
2.4%
3.2%
0.06%
$0.11
$190.60
1.1%
0.11%
7.8%
10.6%
-16.8%
-15.1%
-11.3%
-13.6%
-31.1%
-24.8%
1.4%
-33.5%
-13.6%
-40%
-30%
-20%
-10%
0%
Year-over-year variance
Positive change
Minimal change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
Page 10 | Quarterly Benchmark Study: Q4 2012 — October, November, December
Negative change
10%
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
•Clicks, transaction rates and revenue per email declined year-over-year for
Multichannel Retailers, but performance was actually mixed. Half of all brands
had statistically significant positive increases in click rates and 56 percent of
brands had significant increases in transaction rates.
•Revenue per email increased significantly for 54 percent of the brands, led by
luxury brands which saw a 10 percent increase in Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011.
Trend to Watch: Speed of Response
We looked at what percent of opens and clicks were received at one day
from send in 2010 through 2012 and noticed that responses to emails
are happening more and more quickly.
Percent of opens and clicks
received at one day from send
Month
March
Year
2010
2011
2012
June
2010
2011
2012
Total opens
Unique opens
Total clicks
79%
81%
74%
76%
82%
77%
77%
72%
Sept.
2010
2011
2012
73%
75
Dec.
2010
2011
2012
74%
82%
70% 75%
80%
85%
70% 75%
80%
77%
79%
82%
78%
76%
78%
82%
78%
79%
81%
75%
77%
78%
81%
76%
77%
78%
78%
80%
78%
81%
78%
81%
76%
78%
80%
74%
77%
79%
75%
Unique clicks
75%
77%
82%
83%
80%
85% 70% 75%
Percent received – Percent received –
day 1
day 1
79%
80%
85% 70% 75%
80%
85%
Percent received – Percent received –
day 1
day 1
Source: Experian Marketing Services
Across this time period, we see a 5 percent to 6 percent increase in the percent of
both open and clicks received in one day. It is likely that the immediacy of mobile
is driving this trend as these increases have occurred at the same time that mobile
usage has more than doubled.
An Experian Marketing Services Benchmark Study | Page 11
Q4 2012 Quarterly Benchmark Study
Publishers
Q4 publishers year-over-year performance analysis
Q4: 2011 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
22.0%
15.5%
17.0%
3.9%
2.7%
4.4%
0.1%
22.8%
16.2%
15.4%
3.7%
2.5%
2.2%
0.1%
4.0%
4.7%
-9.1%
-7.3%
-6.4%
-49.4%
-31.4%
-50%
-40%
-30%
-20%
-10%
0%
10%
Year-over-year variance
Positive change
Minimal change
Negative change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
•Open rates showed moderate increases, while click rates declined
compared to Q4 2011. Click rates have been declining for Publishers for
the past three quarters.
Travel
Q4 travel year-over-year performance analysis
Q4: 2011 Q4: 2012
Total open rate
Unique open rate
Click-to-open
Total click rate
Unique click rate
Bounce rate
Unsubscribe rate
29.6%
19.3%
14.3%
3.9%
2.6%
3.3%
0.2%
32.8%
20.7%
13.7%
4.4%
2.9%
2.8%
0.1%
11.0%
7.5%
-4.4%
13.2%
9.9%
-13.7%
-13.4%
-15.0%
-10.0%
-5.0%
-0.0%
5.0%
10.0%
Year-over-year variance
Positive change
Minimal change
Source: Experian Marketing Services
•In spite of a major year-over-year increase in volume, travel brands enjoyed
increases in both open and click rates. Many of our travel brands are now
reporting transactions in multiple currencies, making it difficult to report on
transaction metrics.
Page 12 | Quarterly Benchmark Study: Q4 2012 — October, November, December
15.0%
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Experian and the Experian marks used herein are service marks or
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of their respective owners.
02/2013
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