Here at Prefix, our pMailer Email Marketing Software
clients often raise benchmarking queries in order to compare their email open/read statistics to industry standards. We naturally went on a little research mission to shed some light on this hot topic. We compiled statistics from a number of sources, all of which were either reputable industry players or from some of the largest email marketing companies servicing the industry. With over 25 million emails per month going through the pMailer servers, we pulled data from our customers and compared them with these institutions to try and get some sense of email marketing data for South Africa.
“Is my read rate good or bad?” Without a doubt this is the most popular question asked by clients when they begin using pMailer. The simple and honest answer: “it depends”, and there are a number of reasons for this:
When sending newsletters to fanatically loyal readerships for example, unique open rates of 60% to 80% are not unheard of. Although this is not the norm, they're not the stuff of legend either.
Email marketers sending email promoting products and services to larger, less loyal audiences, can expect open/read rates of anything between 4-24%. Many of the American email marketing companies report average read rates from 26-37% which is by industry standards impressive. To be noted these providers often practice stricter bounce protocols, removing an addresses after a single bounce. Others do not for example guarantee delivery to AOL subscribers, which may increase their read rate percentages. Many suppliers report far lower email open/read rates as their tracking systems can be blocked. So the point that I am trying to make it that it really does “depend” on your industry, list cleanliness, subscriber interest and in some cases internet connectivity all effecting read/open rates statistics.
From a local perspective, pMailer's six-month average read rate over all its clients and industries came to 20.98%. To be noted, we only report reads that we can 100% confirm (so we make no inferences - a feature coming with the release of with our new version!). Our highest read rate recorded for the six month period we looked at was 57.5%, from an influential, industry specific association using pMailer.
Closing off, classic marketing channels have no real means to effectively calculate the ROI on their campaigns and now that this is possible many companies seem somewhat thrown back by their results. We believe that if your campaigns aren't producing as you would like them to, adapt, experiment and learn about email marketing
. Your statistics will help you improve your understanding of your relative industry and in turn your ability to market to them more effectively will improve.
Sources: Jacques Hechter, Prefix, Internal pMailer Statistics Analysis (R&D), August 2009,
Frederic Lardinois, ReadWriteWeb, Online Retailers Plan to Focus on Search, Email Marketing & Social Media During Recession, http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/slow_economy_is_a_boon_for_e-commerce.php, May 5, 2009, August 28 2009