Direct mail playing major role in online shopping boom

online shopping1The rise of online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic has been well-documented but direct mail’s role in that has been less well known, until now that is, with new figures revealing mailshots are driving more and more consumers online to visit brand websites.

According to Jicmail’s Q3 results – gathered from a panel of 1,000 households – 8.7% of all advertising mail (including direct mail, door drops and business mail) drove traffic to advertiser websites during the period, up from 6.5% a year ago and representing a 33% increase year on year.

Furthermore, 5.8% of ad mail has driven people online generally to find out more information about advertising content: up from 4.1% a year ago and representing a 41% increase year on year.

According to a recent Royal Mail survey, consumers engaged with 96% of all mail during the first lockdown, with 88% reporting they had paid as much or more attention to door-drops than before ever before, interacting with each item 4.5 times on average.

While these Jicmail figures show mail interaction rates have not reached the same record-breaking levels, the average mailshot is still interacted with 4.43 times a month, while door-drops are interacted with 3.03 times.

Mail content which contained some form of local information drove the highest engagement in Q3, while the lifespan of direct mail containing entertainment or activity content grew 18% year on year; with invitations to specific events up 13% year on year and appointment related information increasing 11%.

Meanwhile, mail sharing in households continues to improve year on year, with the average piece of direct mail seen by 1.15 people per household and the average door drop by 1.06 people.

Business mail continues to record the highest lifespan – the time a mail item is in the home before being thrown or filed – of all mail types at a level of 9.5 days on average, followed by 8.4 days for direct mail and 6.4 days for door drops.

When it comes to sector analysis, finance and retail advertisers have played a big part in sustaining direct mail interaction rates, recording healthy mail volumes and year on year increases in frequency of interaction with their mail.

For door drops it is retail, supermarkets and restaurant/takeaway advertisers which have driven growth in consumer mail engagement.

Meanwhile, it is the largest advertisers which have benefited from improvements in their “share of the doormat” in Q3 2020, with eight of the top ten direct mail advertisers and seven of the top ten door-drop advertisers seeing their mail share of voice improve this quarter, resulting in greater visibility on consumer doormats.

The NHS has seen one of the largest shifts in share of the doormat, as it delivers essential Covid related messages to the population. As a consequence, appointment related mail content has seen a +14% growth in average interaction rates in Q3.

Jicmail director of data leadership and learning Ian Gibbs said: “It’s no secret that marketing budgets have come under more scrutiny than ever during the pandemic-driven economic downturn. At the same time, the nation’s thirst for online shopping has continued to grow unabated.

“This makes the measurement of digital effects and the correct attribution of digital traffic to offline channels, such as advertising mail, all the more important as marketers look for an accurate read on advertising efficiency and effectiveness.”

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