2 Page 2/27 Introduction The 25 sectors identified here have been self-selected by the senders. For details of the calculation methods and additional information, please see the appendices at the end of this document. Please feel free to share this document with your colleagues and to post excerpts and links - all we ask it that you include a link to when you do. You can find the online version of this report, and all of our previous annual reports on our website. / -marketing-benchmarks/ Welcome to the 2015 Sign-Up.to benchmark report. When you re running a business in the UK, it can be difficult to find meaningful data to measure your marketing against. Reports on big businesses and US firms just aren t that useful for most UK organisations. That s why we created our UK marketing benchmark. For our 2015 report we analysed over 1 billion s sent through the Sign-Up.to platform between 1st January and 31st December These campaigns are from a range of smallmedium sized UK organisations and public sector departments, sent to fully opted-in lists (never to 3rd party or purchased lists).
3 Section 1 Highlights Page 3/ Summary The graphic below shows a summary of the 5 key metrics of the Benchmark Report % Open rate 3.13% Click-through rate 0.55% Unsubscribe rate 10.79% Click-to-open rate 2.68% Unsubscribe-to-open rate The open, click-through and unsubscribe rates provide an absolute percentage measure of these actions for all campaigns, averaged across each tracked sector. Since the click-to-opens and unsubscribe-to-opens rates relate click and unsubscribe actions to the opened s only they are generally considered as a better way to measure the relative performance of your campaigns.
4 Section 2 Open and click-through rates Page 4/27 Summary Open and click-through rates by sector Open rate 24.45% Average/Mean 24.22% Median 36.89% Maximum 17.14% Minimum 19.75% Range Click-through rate 3.13% Average/Mean 2.36% Median 11.03% Maximum 1.67% Minimum 9.37% Range The sector rankings for Open and Click-through rates are shown on the following pages.
5 Section 2 Open and click-through rates Page 5/27 Open rate highlights What s changed? 17 sectors saw an increase in open rate from 2014 The largest increases were in Legal, Events and Online Services 12 sectors moved up in rank position from 2014 The biggest upward movers were Legal, HR/Recruitment and Events 8 sectors saw a decrease in open rate from 2014 The largest decreases were in ecommerce, Fashion and B2B Services 11 sectors moved down in rank position from 2014 The biggest downward movers were Restaurants, ecommerce, B2B Services See more detail on what s changed for each sector in Section 8. Click-through rate highlights 7 sectors saw an increase in click-through rate from 2014 The largest increases were in Industrial, Online Services and Legal 9 sectors moved up in rank position from 2014 The biggest upward movers were Industrial, IT and Legal 18 sectors saw a decrease in click-through rate from 2014 The largest decreases were in ecommerce, Property and Fashion 12 sectors moved down in rank position from 2014 The biggest downward movers were ecommerce, B2B Sales and Restaurants
6 Section 3 Opens / Open rate Page 6/27 Summary Opens by sector 24.45% Average/Mean 24.22% Median 36.89% Maximum 17.14% Minimum 19.75% Range Open rate is is the number of recipients who opened (that is, viewed) your divided by the total delivered. The result is expressed as a percentage.
7 Section 3 Opens / Open rate Page 7/27 Understanding opens Actions to take Opens are tracked through the rendering of an included image pixel. Since images are routinely downloaded (especially on mobile devices) it can be a difficult metric to interpret. There s also no guarantee that an opened has been read, that s why although it s a very common performance metric we wouldn t generally consider open rate as a true measure of campaign engagement. It s commonly quoted that average open rate performance is typically in the range of 10-15%, with high performers achieving 15-20%. The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) document a quarterly range of 19.5% to 21.6% with a 2014 UK average of 22.9%. The Sign-Up.to data over the same period shows a spread of averages across the UK sectors of 17.14% to 36.89% with an overall average across all sectors of 24.45%. Overall volume, delivery rate and changes to image display are all contributory factors to open rate, as is the rapid rise in consumption of on moble devices. You should also bear in mind the nature of your relationship and purpose of your message - not surprisingly retention focussed campaigns typically out perform those with an acquisition objective. As with all metrics, opens also show a strong seasonal variation with Q4 typically seeing up to double the rates seen in other quarters. Although it s not the end of the story, increasing your open rate is the first step to improving your overall campaign engagement. Here are some key actions to take. Ensure your delivery credentials are in top shape - undelivered s can t be opened! Check your data for clean permission and frequency of use. Both influence open rates. Subject line is critical. This is the window to your content so take time to get it right and, if you re not sure, try running a split -test. Be consistent with your from name. Familiarity (along with a history of valuable content) will boost your opens. Ultimately, think of your audience. Is your message relevant, timely and valuable?
8 Section 4 Clicks / Click-through rate Page 8/27 Summary Clicks / Click-through by sector 3.13% Average/Mean 2.36% Median 11.03% Maximum 1.67% Minimum 9.37% Range Click-through rate is defined as the number of unique clicks divided by the total delivered. The result is expressed as a percentage. You may also see this referred to as the click-to-deliver rate.
9 Section 4 Clicks / Click-through rate Page 9/27 Understanding clicks Actions to take Assuming a successful open, a click is recorded when a subscriber goes on to click one or more links in the campaign. It could be text or an image, anything with an embedded link reference. We record unique clicks (multiple clicks within a campaign are not recounted) as we feel this gives a more realistic measure of engagement. Getting your readers to click through to additional content is a common objective. Once they ve opened your , here are a few actions to take to improve your click-through rate. Since it requires both a successful open and a conscious completion action by the recipient clickthrough rate is generally a better measure of campaign engagement than open rate. It helps you to differentiate the motivation for opening your campaign and for subsequent interaction with your content. However, for a more in-depth assessment you should always review your click-through results in relation to your click-to-open rate and ultimately to any specific goal-based objectives. Like open rates, click-through rates show significant variability across the tracked industry sectors, ranging from 1.67% for the General Sales & Marketing category to 11.03% for the Public Sector. The average across all tracked sectors is 3.13% a value which is also echoed by the DMA. Transactional campaigns typically out-perform more information orientated content, but as with open rates, whatever the sector or the objective of the message, targeting and relevance are the key factors in generating click-through interest. Don t include too many links. Just a few actions will make it easier for your readers to engage and for you to interpret. If you have a call to action, make it clear what it is, and make it easy to fulfil, especially when considering your mobile device readers. If you are unsure, try a call to action split-test to see what works best. Ultimately, whether or not click-throughs are your primary objective, relevance is the key to engagement. Are you addressing your reader s needs and expectations?
10 Section 5 Campaign engagement - click-to-opens Page 10/27 Summary Clicks-to-opens by sector 10.79% Average/Mean 9.35% Median 28.19% Maximum 6.56% Minimum 21.63% Range Click-to-open is the proportion of opened s that had a link clicked. It is defined as the number of unique clicks divided by the number of opens. The result is expressed as a percentage.
11 Section 5 Campaign engagement - click-to-opens Page 11/27 Understanding campaign engagement Goals and engagement Click-to-open rates give a deeper insight into campaign performance because they look at actions performed after a campaign has been opened. This puts the focus of the metric on the performance of the actual content - its design and relevance to the recipients and the strength of your call to action, and removes factors which influenced the recpient to open the - factors like subject line and sender details. It s important to remember that different types of campaigns will have different objectives. Not all campaigns contain click-through links and driving a click-through may not always be the primary objective. Many campaigns also contain multiple links - that s why we record unique instead of total clicks per open when calculating click-to-open rates. 3 sectors saw an increase in click-to-open rate from 2014 The largest increases were in Industrial, Publishing and Online Services 12 sectors moved up in rank position from 2014 The biggest upward movers were Industrial, Publishing and General B2C Marketing 11 sectors saw a decrease in click-to-open rate from 2014 The largest decreases were in ecommerce, Property and Travel 11 sectors moved down in rank position from 2014 The biggest downward movers werecommerce, Property, Travel Click-to-open rate gives a basic but effective measure of campaign engagement. There are many factors which influence onward navigation from your initial message (see again Section 3), but ultimately this comes down to the quality of your content and the strength of your next step. Good as it is, click-to-open is still a fairly basic performance metric. For further insight there are a number of more advanced goal-based options which delve more deeply into campaign effectiveness, for example the download of additional content or for ecommerce applications the completion of an online purchase. Goal-based metrics can be tracked as a one-off completion or monitored to provide behavioural insight over an extended period of time. You can find more information in Section 7.
12 Section 6 Unsubscribe rate Page 12/27 Summary Unsubscribes by sector 0.55% Average/Mean 0.52% Median 1.22% Maximum 0.14% Minimum 1.08% Range The unsubscribe metric measures those who specifically request an opt-out by clicking your embedded unsubscribe option. It doesn t generally include those who reply or otherwise contact you to manually unsubscribe.
13 Section 6 Unsubscribe rate Page 13/27 Understanding unsubscribes Actions to take Unsubscribes aren t something that you usually want to see when you re managing your marketing, but they can actually be good for you, so don t be afraid of making it easy for people to opt-out. Unsubscribe is a clear indication that all is not right so it s worthwhile taking some steps to understand and improve in this area. We all unsubscribe from outgrown interest or unwanted s at some point. Providing a visible and effective unsubscribe option is a legal requirement of any campaign - put it at the bottom of every where people expect to find it. Making it easy to unsubscribe is not only an essential part of the permission process, it will also avoid driving unhappy subscribers to marking your messages as spam. Unlike low open rates, which although are not good are not necessarily bad, high unsubscribe rates are an active indication of dissatisfaction. High one-off unsubscribes might just indicate a campaign that s somehow missed its target, but where high or growing unsubscribes is a trend it is likely to indicate more serious problems with your data, content or both. Understand if a rise in unsubscribes is a one-off or a growing trend. This will help you identify and address the cause. Check your data. Do you have permission and have you used this data in the way anticipated by your readers? Are you being relevant. Your reader cares enough to open your message, so unsubscribe is a clear indication that you are not addressing their needs or wishes. Ultimately, if unsubscribe is the desired action make it quick and easy to do and make sure your do not contact list is updated.
14 Section 7 Subscriber loyalty - unsubscribes-to-opens Page 14/27 Summary Unsubscribes-to-opens by sector 2.68% Average/Mean 2.64% Median 5.37% Maximum 0.48% Minimum 4.89% Range The unsubscribe-to-opens metric provides a more insightful measure of dissatisfaction because it measures opt-out in relation to campaign opens. It is defined as the number of unsubscribes divided by the number of unique opens. The result is expressed as a percentage.
15 Section 7 Subscriber loyalty - unsubscribes-to-opens Page 15/27 Understanding subscriber loyalty Loyalty and engagement Never forget that when you send an it s going to a real person, and real people s needs and interests change. Your newsletter might have been relevant to their job or hobby before, but they ve moved on now and it s just not right for them any more. Unsubscribes and unsubscribes-to-opens are both useful measures of active disengagement. However, although it s a clear negative action unsubscribe still provides valuable information, especially if you investigate the causes and capture the reason at the point of exit. Looking in more detail, effective filtering means that the majority of true spam never reaches most people s inboxes, so around 75% of unsubscribes are actually to genuine communications. However this still leaves a proportion of graymail, that is messages that were once welcome but have since become irrelevant or redundant, but which are never unsubscribed. Unsubscribing is a clear indication that all is not well. However it only provides a last resort view on how engaged (or in this case disengaged) your subscribers are. Understanding and more accurately quantifying levels of campaign engagement is an advanced metric which we d highly recommend. You can find more information on engagement in Section 10. To understand the true nature of how your subscribers are receiving and interacting with your campaigns you ll need to analyse your engagement credentials in more detail.
17 Section 8 What s changed? Page 17/27 Summary Click-through rate by sector Key increases Industrial - Online Services - Legal - IT - Publsihing Key reductions ecommerce - Property - Fashion - B2B Sales - Travel
18 Section 8 What s changed? Page 18/27 Summary Clicks-to-opens rate by sector Key increases Industrial - Publishing - Online Services - General B2C Marketing - B2B Services Key reductions ecommerce - Property - Travel - Public sector - Health
19 Section 8 What s changed? Page 19/27 Summary Unsubscribes-to-opens rate by sector Key increases Online services - ecommerce - Legal - Sales / Marketing - General B2C Marketing Key reductions IT - B2B Sales - Charity - Industrial - Publishing
20 Section 9 Other analysis metrics Page 20/27 Beyond standard metrics Open rate, click-through rate and unsubscribes and their derived measures, that is click-to-opens and unsubscribes-toopens are the most readily available and commonly used metrics. However there are a number of additonal metrics that are also worth reviewing. Sent: this is the number of messages that you attempted to deliver. It may be less than the raw size of your starting list since suspended and do-not-contact subscribers will be automatically removed from the final sent total. Bounced: related to the delivered metric, this is how many messages were rejected by the receiving mail servers. When a message is bounced an error code is supplied by the rejecting server. These codes can yield useful information about the cause of the bounce and tell you if youʼre being intentionally blocked (and what to do about it). Hard bounce a permanent, fatal error, for example the mailbox for that user no longer exists. Investigate! Soft bounce usually a temporary error, for example when the recipientʼs mailbox is full. Delivered: this is the number of messages accepted for delivery. These messages got through the first phase of ISP filters (which look at the reputation of the sending domain and other technical characteristics) but this doesnʼt guarantee that the message got to the inbox, as further spam filter checks will be applied furher down the line. All being well, you should be in the high 90 s in terms of delivery percent. Total clicks: this is a broader measure of the click activity in your s as it counts each link click by each recipient. This can be a useful measure of engagement if you have a lot of links in your for example an newsletter. Individual link clicks: this is extremely useful for identifying which calls to action work best or which product or articles most appeal to specific recipients.
21 Section 9 Other analysis metrics Page 21/27 Shared: encouraging sharing of your campaigns through social media channels like Twitter and Facebook can be an important addition to your strategy. Tracking pass-along actions like forward and Twitter views lets you see how well your campaigns resonate with your audience and lets you identify the people who spread your messages further. Goals: Goal Tracking enables you to more accurately measure the success of your campaign by analysing specific online objectives for example getting a recipient to make a purchase from your ecommerce store, or download a whitepaper. Unlike the other statistics discussed here Goal Tracking requires that you have access to the pages of the destination website and have added the appropriate tracking codes in place before you send your campaign. Further reading For a full discussion of these and other common metrics please refer to our Complete Guide to Analytics. It s free to download at the link below. Activity over time: the first hours after your campaign is sent will usually yield the most useful statistics. Tracking not just how but when your subscribers interact with your messages can help you choose the optimum day and time to send your future campaigns.
22 Section 10 Advanced metrics Page 22/27 Device opens Device opens on mobile Knowing the most common device types (and operating systems) being used by your subscribers provides valuable information for optimising your design and delivery processes. Figures from the DMA show that opens on mobile devices have risen from 27% in 2011 to over 50% in Current device open data from the Sign-Up.to platform shows the proportion of total opens on desktop and mobile to be 46.07% and 53.93% respectively, with the Events, Online Services and Property sectors showing the highest levels of mobile consumption. Our Device Open Report documents the device type and operating system of all campaign opens over a 6 month period. It s a personalised analysis report which is available as a service to Sign-Up.to customers. Contact us for details.
23 Section 10 Advanced metrics Page 23/27 Device opens on desktop Engagement Traditional performance statistics like opens and clicks give useful campaign-based feedback, but to get anything more than a basic engagement metric you ll need to measure a number of different interaction factors and over a prolonged period of time. Our engagement algorithm automatically measures the quality of customer behaviour based on the frequency, quantity and depth (that is quality) of their campaign interaction, and scores their engagement from 1* (that is disengaged) to 5* (highly engaged) Our Engagement Report documents the nature of engagement over time and provides useful profiling information for targettng re-engagement and VIP/loyalty campaigns. It s another personalised analysis report which is available as a service to Sign-Up.to customers. Contact us for further information.
24 7 Appendix 1 Terms and definitions Page 24/27 Basic metrics Derived metrics Unless otherwise specified, all of the figures we use are based on unique user actions - for example we only count the same recipient opening a campaign once. If they open that campaign again we don t count that as another open. For some of the reports we use derived rates as these are a better way to compare some aspects of campaign performance. These are: Bounced: messages returned by the receiving mail server as undeliverable Delivered: messages accepted for delivery by the receiving mail server (total sent - bounced) Open rate: the proportion of delivered s that were opened (measured by an image load or link click); i.e. number opened / delivered Clicks or Click-through rate: the proportion of delivered s that had a link clicked; i.e. unique clicks / delivered Unsubscribe rate: the proportion of delivered s that result in an unsubscription; i.e. unsubscribes / delivered Clicks-to-opens rate: the proportion of opened s that had a link clicked; i.e. unique clicks / opens Unsubscribes-to-opens rate: the proportion of opened s that result in an unsubscription; i.e. unsubscribes / opens We use these x-to-opens figures as ways to compare the performance of the actual campaign content because these look at what happens after the first objective of someone actually opening the campaign has been achieved. All rates are expressed as a percentage.
26 Page 26/27 About Sign-Up.to Professional marketing software and services Sign-Up.to is an integrated marketing platform which enables businesses to easily and effectively communicate with their customers via , SMS and social media. We specialise in providing software and professional services to businesses of all sizes, from ambitious start-ups to established enterprises, from commercial operations to public sector organisations in fact any business looking to get a great return on their marketing effort and investment. We built Sign-Up.to because we saw the need for an easy to use, powerful Permission Marketing tool that came with the most important feature of all - great customer service. By combining advanced features with the highest quality of support we can help you build your brand audience, increase your level of customer engagement and ultimately grow your revenue. Sign-Up.to is available as a fully supported self-service platform and also as a Managed Professional Service. Try Sign-Up.to for free at:
27 Contact Sign-Up.to By telephone +44 (0) By Website Sign-Up.to Lynton House Station Approach Woking GU22 7PY United Kingdomwww.sign-up.to/blog 2015 Sign-Up Technologies Ltd. (a member of HEG) Current revision: January 2015
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