3 Stats that Will Make You Re-Think Your Email Marketing Strategy

I’ve got some interesting statistics here that could lead you to reshape your marketing priorities. Econsultancy recently published their 10th Annual Email Marketing Industry Census, and things are looking positive. The report is probably longer than you want to read (over 80 pages of insights), so we’ve listed three key points for you take away with you.

1. Email Brings the Highest ROI

Platforms such as Facebook may have huge, growing user bases, but email marketing topped this list with 27 percent of marketers reporting excellent ROI and 46 reporting good ROI from their campaigns. Together, that makes up a sizeable majority of happy marketers.

Twenty-two percent reported average results and just 5 percent were unhappy with their campaigns. All in all, that’s 95 percent satisfied in their campaign performance.

This figure gains weight in comparison to paid search campaigns; only 59 percent of marketers were happy with the outcome of their marketing efforts. Online display performed even worse, with only 34 percent satisfied with results.

2.  Marketers still invest the least of their budget on email

For years, email marketing has proved to be among the most useful weapons in an online marketer’s arsenal. However, most marketers still do not make effective use of it. This year, average marketing budget allocated for email is just 15 percent, even though email makes up 23 percent of sales.

Email marketing budget

The average marketer spends just 15 percent of their marketing budget on email.

The could be several reasons for this underuse of email marketing. One reason could be an increased focus on social media marketing to target the millennial market.  Another reason might be the relative time is takes to compose a marketing email when compared to a post on a social network. It can easily take 6-8 hours to set up an email campaign.

The time taken to put together a marketing email is becoming a less-important factor, thanks to the intuitive email marketing platforms that are available today.

3.  Marketers focussing on automation and personalization

When surveyed marketers were asked where they would be focussing their efforts within email marketing, the top five answers were what you might expect: automation, analytics, planning, personalization and segmentation. Of these areas, personalization and segmentation saw the largest year-on-year jump; both up five percent. Up from 22 percent last year, 34 percent of marketers said automation will take most of their focus, while 22 percent named personalization as their key area of focus, an increase from 17 percent in 2015.

Email Personalization

Personalization emails leads to increased open rates.

There’s no denying email campaigns have had huge success implementing automation, personalization and testing. Automation improves productivity and keeps the process free of errors, personalization helps to increase open rates, and A/B testing improves your campaign’s overall performance. Take care of these core ingredients and you can expect a successful campaign.

How does your email marketing campaign compare?

Over 1000 marketers contributed to the trends identified in the census report. How does your email campaign compare to these figures? Are you focussing on the same key areas? If you think you’re not doing enough in this area, you might want to consider increasing your email budget to allow for more time spent on personalization, automation and testing. Focus on each of them and you’ll achieve better results.

Is Email Marketing Dead Among Younger Demographics?

If you read through various studies on the same marketing topic, you will almost certainly find some inconsistencies in the results, but those differences are often nuanced. As an example, look at the wealth of information researching the adoption of ad-blocking software. The estimated percentage the new tech has penetrated varies between surveys, but there is one clear underlying trend: use of such technologies is on the rise.

Another example of contradictory results came in late March, when two studies on email and youth demographics were released at around the same time, both reporting contradicting results.

TechCrunch reported that email is losing its value among 13- to 24-year-olds, who instead opt to communicate via messaging apps. The study pointed to time spent on such apps by younger demographics, in contrast to the 45+ age bracket, as evidence of email’s decline in popularity.


On the other side of the argument, Internet Retailer referred to research by email tech company Adestra which found that 68% of teens prefer to be contacted by email, as opposed to 7% for both text and push notifications.

It’s difficult to arrive at a conclusion based on the two aforementioned studies. In order to analyze how the younger generations actually feel about email, we hear from two industry experts: Marie Homne, senior marketing strategist at Yesmail, and Dan Buckstaff, VP of marketing at Jetlore.

email marketing mobile

Email is still alive and healthy among the young

“Email can almost be considered a person’s ‘passport’ to the virtual world,” Buckstaff explained, citing email addresses as an indispensable key within the digital environment.

Email marketing can be an effective tool for reaching Gen Z directly, Buckstaff said, given that email addresses are needed to create social accounts. However, he admits email marketing among Gen Z is a little hit or miss.

Millennials, meanwhile, use email “heavily” throughout many aspects of their lives, including work communication, financial management and alerts, travel information, social media notifications and promotional emails.

With smartphone use continuing to grow – almost two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone – the key to the future of email marketing to younger demographics lies with mobile.

“Yesmail’s Q4 2015 Email Marketing Compass found that half of consumers who receive marketing emails open these emails exclusively on a mobile device,” Homne said. “We’re approaching the tipping point in mobile commerce and Gen Z and Millennials are leading this shift. Due to its immediacy on smartphones, email is an effective technique in reaching millennials because we all know they have it with them constantly.”

To optimize the performance of emails received on mobile devices, it’s necessary to implement responsive email design. Improving the appearance of emails in such a way leads to 24% more clicks, and a 55% higher click-to-open rate.

Email marketing

The plethora of mobile messaging apps are all welcome additions to the marketing communications arena, but each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and should be approached with caution. Email still provides one of the best solutions in terms of functionality, boasting numerous options for custom design and prominent calls-to-action.

“We can no longer think of one mode of messaging within a silo,” she said. “Instead consider, how can one build upon another? And for these younger generations for whom the mobile device is a complex ecosystem, the more we can blur the lines among the apps, the more seamless you’ll appear.”

Employ a mobile-first email strategy

What is clear is that email is very much an effective method for communicating with younger demographics. However, it is essential that marketers take a mobile-first approach if they are to get through to the younger generations.

Think about how your campaigns will come across on the small screen, making sure to consider clean, simple designs, clear calls-to-action, and easily tappable buttons.

“Email has adjusted and adapted to the mobile presence and remains a flexible channel.  It can stand on its own, or support other channels – digital and print – very well,” she said. “Email remains a strong and viable channel through which we interact with all generations. Wherever the consumer goes with their mobile device, email will be right there with them.”

The Best and Worst Performing Words in Email Subject Lines

With more marketing emails being sent than ever before, it’s essential that yours stand out from the crowd. There are effective ways to make recipients more likely to open and read your emails. For example, a recent report from Adestra demonstrated that using the words “thank you” in the subject line increases the likelihood of that email being opened.

The report pooled results from over 3 billion emails, which made up 125,000 global campaigns across four industries (conferences/events, retail/B2C, media/publishing and B2B). The 300 most popular words from the email subject lines were recorded, as well as the most popular characters and two-word phrases, and the researchers compared how each performed compared to the others.

As noted by the report, the results of the study provide only a “broad interpretation of the causal effects of individual words”. That means that the conclusion of the study will not necessarily apply to all brands.

Recipients like to be thanked

As a general rule, emails including the words “thank you” in their subject line were found to have the highest engagement levels, over 62% on average. This high value is partly a result of automated emails sent out following online purchases, such as email receipts sent by brands to customers.

Multiple topics grab attention

Another rule that became apparent was that email subject lines including multiple topics had a higher-than-average engagement rate, at around 47%. An example of a multi-topic subject line would be “End of summer sale | Win a holiday | Connect on social media”

Urgency stimulates action

Timeliness also works particularly well in email subject lines. The study showed that words such as “bulletin”, “breaking”, and “order today” all boosted engagement rates.


Email Marketing Subject Lines - Best-Performing Words


On the other end of the spectrum, mundane words that make reading the email feel like hard work have the opposite effect on engagement rates.

The study found that the most poorly performing words included “journal”, “forecast”, “training”, “whitepaper” and “learn”.


Email Marketing Subject Lines - Worst Performing Words


You can read the full report here for more detailed results by category, and the specific engagement metrics (CTR, open rate, unsubscribe rate etc.) of individual words.