Charities and utilities shine despite dip in email opens

covid_2Charities and utilities have emerged as the top performing sectors in a new email marketing study, with both seeing increased click-through rates during the pandemic.

The Email Benchmarking Report 2021 from the DMA, in association with Validity, shows click rates for not-for-profits went up to 6.9% – the highest recorded value since the study began in 2016.

According to the report’s authors. this increase from last year’s figure (3%) could be explained by consumers feeling the need to contribute and make someone else’s life better – especially charities connected with the medical and social support systems, who have registered a high level of engagement.

The utilities sector has also seen positive growth – from 2.4% in 2019 to 3.4% this year. The study says this is possibly a reflection of customers seeking out better deals while working from home.

In terms of open rates, the not-for-profits also saw the highest returns this year, with 26.1%; up 5% on last year. The utilities and financial services sectors also registered better open rates than last year (26.6% and 21.0% respectively).

But while 2020 saw email volumes at their highest compared to previous years, up 17% year-on-year, the average delivery rate decreased slightly (to 97.9%), as did click and click-to-open rates (2.3% and 10.7% respectively), breaking the long-term growth trend seen over the past five years.

Open rates also saw a slight reduction for the second year (19.2% compared to the 20% we registered in 2019), but this remains above figures from 2017 and prior.

DMA Email Council deputy chair Guy Hanson, who is also vice president of customer engagement at Validity International, said: “We should celebrate email professionals’ resilience in the context of an extraordinary year. Correctly used, email metrics form part of a virtuous circle of improvement.

“Over the past year, we have seen responsible businesses gauging their subscribers’ changing digital body language, and then adapting their strategies to deliver continued relevance and value.”

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