Email rebounds but charities face challenging times

email_marketing1The industry’s Covid recovery is continuing with a new study revealing that all key metrics for email marketing improved year-on-year as the UK returned to some normality post-pandemic, although there are warning signs for the charity sector.

According to the DMA’s Email Benchmarking Report 2022, the most notable increase year-on-year was the jump in click rate to just short of 3% in 2021, which has risen from the relatively steady 2-2.5% range observed from 2015-2020.

At the other end of the email’s journey, after a slight decrease in 2020, delivery rates returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 at 98.1% on average.

There was also a year-on-year increase in open rates seen, rising to 19.7% (up from 19% in 2020). However, marketers’ ability to measure the open rates metric with confidence has been significantly altered, with Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection coming into force back in September 2021.

As such, any emails sent in the final quarter of the year will have been impacted by these changes. Therefore, the rise in click-to-open rates – increasing from 11.7% to 13.2% – may also be, in part, a result of these changes.

The email click rates for each sector have all seen notable changes over the past year. The best performing sector was retail, having seen a post-pandemic recovery to 3.5%, publishing also saw positive engagement growth year-on-year and finance a slight increase, Meanwhile, not-for-profit saw a fall from its highs of recent years – almost halving to 2.9% in 2021 – and travel and utilities also saw declines in click rate.

The decline in not-for-profit could be explained by the fall in charity donations reported by the Charities Aid Foundation. It estimates that 4.9 million fewer people gave to charity or sponsored someone at the start of this year, compared to 2019.

DMA Email Council deputy chair Guy Hanson said: “Email marketing has seen huge changes over the past few years as a result of GDPR, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the introduction of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection.

“Against such a dynamic backdrop, having a consistent answer to the question ‘What does good look like?’ is essential. Having a definitive benchmark of UK email performance, representing a broad cross-section of this country’s major senders, helps us deal with measurement challenges and makes this report an indispensable resource for every marketer using email.”

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