Since Return Path’s re-launch on 18th September as an Email Intelligence business, we have been talking a lot about our Inbox Insight solution, which provides real-life intelligence on a range of important subscriber engagement metrics. These metrics include:
The behaviours that these metrics represent can be positive as well as negative – for example, marking emails that have gone to the junk folder as “Not Spam” or deleting emails only after they have first been read. There is a clearly established correlation between these behaviours, the levels of spam filtering that ISPs apply, and the Read Rates that email campaigns generate.
However, I would guess a number of readers might still be getting their heads around how to use this data most effectively. To provide some practical commentary around this, I have collated 30-days of engagement data for 7 of the major UK players in the high-volume, ultra-competitive Daily Deals sector.
I’m not going to consider the most commonly asked questions in any great depth, other than to say that:
The bigger news for me is the way in which subscriber behaviour varies in response to the commercial elements being promoted – in particular, the effect of including prices and discounts as part of the offer.
However, subscribers are clearly suckers for a discount, presumably because this helps them to “visualise” the potential saving that is available, even if the absolute amount is not material. Read Rates for campaigns that include a discount as part of the offer are almost 30% higher than those that don’t.
These positive behavioural metrics are reflected in the way that ISPs treat these emails as well. Spam Filtering levels for subject lines that lead with a price or discount value are almost 50% less than those that don’t.
It is absolutely clear that there is an inverse relationship between Read Rate and the Size of Discount being promised. Smaller (more realistic) discounts generate higher average Read Rates than is the case for larger (less realistic) discounts. At the same time, ISP Spam Filtering rates are directly related to Size of Discount, with filtering rates of almost 50% being experienced by promotions promising discounts of 75% or more.
Apart from issues with subscriber trust, there are also some practical commercial considerations. If extravagant discounts act to disincentivise subscriber engagement, then marketers risk throwing good money after bad. The ability to accurately measure these metrics means that guesswork is replaced by hard facts when it comes to assessing the effectiveness of these offers, and understanding the optimum level of giveaway that maximises the resultant conversion to sale.
Want to find out what those hard facts look like for your email program? Visit our website or speak to your Return Path account manager to learn more.