Mail puts Covid to the sword with rise in effectiveness

mail 2The humble mailshot is continuing to laugh in the face of the prophets of doom, despite suffering a huge drop in volumes during the early weeks of the Covid pandemic, with effectiveness recording double-digit year on year growth across nearly all stages of the customer journey.

According to Jicmail’s Q1 results – gathered from a panel of 1,000 households – 9% of mail (direct mail, door-drops and business mail combined) prompted a visit to an advertiser website in the first quarter, representing a 32% growth in effectiveness year on year.

Some 7.5% of mail prompted a brand discussion (+15% year on year), and 5.3% prompted consumers to look up their account details (+10% year on year).

Despite Lockdown 3.0, advertisers have remained more optimistic than they were at the start of the pandemic. Mail volumes on the Jicmail panel grew by 3% year on year, primarily driven by a strong performance from direct mail (+9% year on year) and business mail (+7% year on year).

The continued Covid vaccination programme and mail from the Office of National Statistics related to the Census have seen public sector mail drive volume growth. However, mail from telecoms and mail order companies have also played their part in sustaining volumes.

With commercial effectiveness growth rates outstripping the growth in frequency of interaction with mail, each mail impression is now working harder than ever at driving a commercial response.

Frequency of interaction with mail (Jicmail’s measure of mail exposure) and item reach (an indicator of the extent to which mail is shared in the home) have declined marginally during Q1 2021, although with two-year growth rates still strong, evidence of long-term changes in mail behaviour remains.

Further analysis by Jicmail on the effectiveness of mail over the course of two periods of national lockdown has shown that, as would be expected, mail drove fewer people in store while only essential shops remained open.

With consumers choosing to shop online, mail has proven itself to be just as effective at driving digital traffic during these periods. However, while mail’s ability to drive consumers into physical stores rebounded significantly in between the spring and winter lockdowns, digital effects also remained.

This, the report insists, is evidence that mail is reflecting the shifting omnichannel way in which consumers now interact with brands.

Jicmail engagement director Mark Cross said: “All eyes are on the shifting patterns of media consumption as we emerge from the pandemic, and with these Q1 results we see again how mail is increasing ‘full funnel’ effects, such as driving online visits or brand discussions.

“They present a great opportunity for advertisers to test out these latest shifts for mail and help establish the new normal for their businesses.”

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