Thursday, June 28, 2007
What is the Measure of an Email Campaign?
The answer is apparently a resounding "I don't know." JupiterResearch/e-Rewards, Inc. recently reported that when business-to-business and business-to-consumer email marketers were asked which of a fairly straightforward number of success metrics they use at least once a month, 50% of B2C and 56% of B2B respondents responded "none of the above"!
Click-to-conversion rate, Aggregate clickthrough rate, Aggregate open rate, Revenue per mailing, Average order size, Profit/margin per mailing, Revenue per subscriber — none were used by any more than 19% of the respondents.
Among email marketing providers there were also large inconsistencies in the meanings of delivery, open and clickthrough rates. According to the Email Experience Council, only half of email service providers measured open rates by dividing "unique opens" by total messages delivered, yet 73% of mailers defined unique opens that way. What's going on here? Why all the lack of standards? Some have attributed it to the relative newness of email as a marketing channel. RSS-as-marketing channel seems to suffer from some of the same measurement murkiness as well. Hopefully things will improve. But even if they don't I'm not sure it matters.
I recently started using VerticalReponse for some email services and I like how easy it is to build and send a campagin, but lets face it — the metrics available are pretty basic: Emails sent, opened, bounced, unsubscribed. You can see which links have been clicked too, and a few other measurements. I imagine the options are much the same with other providers. Of course, I'm a data junkie and I'd love to track more but my feeling is in business-to-business what matters most is whether the people who receive my email marketing respond and eventually convert to new business (though it might not happen right away). That may be saying the clickthrough metric is the most important since its how they get to the next stage of engagement, but with ever-shrinking budgets and cries for greater accountability, what the boss really cares about is "did I get any new business for my efforts?" Sometimes that can be answered relatively quickly, but in the B2B world more often its a long-term process requiring prospect nurturing through a variety of channels.
So are we confused with all this metrics murkiness? Yes. Will it stop us from continuing to expand the use of the email channel? No way.
Magill, Ken. "E-mail's Metrics Mess." Direct Magazine. May 2007 p.49,52
The Email Experience Council. www.emailexperience.org
JupiterResearch. "Email Marketing Measurement: Making Metrics Meaningful" March 6, 2007.