More Data Why Publisher Who Don't Use E-Mail Marketing Are 'Missing the Boat'

E-Mail Marketing Revenue per e-mail Q1 2004.gif

DoubleClick’s analysis of e-mail marketing opening rates, click-through rates, order size, and revenues per e-mail during the 1st Quarter of 2004 gives an excellent example of why we think that most newspapers and magazines have ‘missed the boat’ by concentrating on Website publishing and not on e-mail publishing.

DoubleClick reported that:

  • Overall delivery rates (measured as the number of email sent minus the hard and soft bounce-back rate) increased slightly to 88.8 percent an increase of 1.3 percentage points from a year ago (Q1 2003) when it was 87.5 percent.
  • Q1 2004 e-mail opening rates declined slightly to 38.2 percent from 39.2 percent during Q1 2003, as did the e-mails advertisings’ click-through rates, which fell to 8.4 percent in Q1 2004 from 8.9 percent in Q1 2003.
  • Revenues per email advertisers generated in Q1 2004 was US$0.23, which represents a decline from $0.28 in Q1 2003, but does sit within the two-year quarterly range of $0.21 to $0.29 that DoubleClick’s research has found.
  • The average order size advertisers received via e-mail marketing campaigns also declined, from $105 in Q1 2003 to $92 in Q1 2004.
  • E-mail marketer productivity, expressed as click-to-conversion rate, was stable year-over-year, at 3.3 percent in Q1 2004 compared to 3.5 percent in Q1 2003.

    Compare those results to the results that banner ads achieved for advertisers on websites. For example, DoubleClick found that the average click-through rates for all Website ads served by DoubleClick both advertisers and publishers was 0.44 percent compared to 8.4 percent for all ads sent by e-mail. E-mail advertising was 19-times more effective at generating advertising clickthroughs.

    If you publish a news or information website that generates revenues solely by selling banner ads, what would you do to achieve nearly 20-times higher results for your advertisers? Is your website being seen daily by at least 38.2 percent of its unique monthly users? Does each of those daily users generate at least $0.23 in revenues for each of your advertisers (in other words, can your ad sales staff guarantee that each advertiser will earn $230 per thousand ads purchased)? I think the answers are no — you can’t generate those results without using e-mail marketing.

    These are the reasons why the e-mail marketing operations of Belo Interactive and of Tribune Interactive each report that are routinely selling ads for $150 to $300 per thousand, far higher rates than their Website banner ads earn. It’s why Belo Interactive reports that its e-mail marketing revenues are doubling each year. It’s why New York Times Digital says that its e-mail publishing operations are one of its greatest successes.

    Nevertheless, most newspapers and most magazines eschew e-mail advertising, despite all the data and success stories otherwise. They believe that ads should be placed only on an online medium that consumers retrieve and is not routinely delivered to consumers. As if newspapers and magazines were sold only via newsstands and routinely delivered to homes & offices.

    A few even believe that the avalanche of spam that online consumers nowadays suffer has destroyed e-mail as a viable publishing or advertising medium. They cite their own anecdotal experiences at using home-grown or amateur e-mail publishing applications (such as Lyris). They ignore that all the data shows that the avalanche of spam has not in any way affected the legitimate, professional e-mail marketing signup, delivery, opening, or click-through rates.

    (By the way, DoubleClick’s analysis also showed that Travel e-mails had the highest opening rates (40.1 percent). Consumer Publisher and Consumer Products & Services e-mails had highest average click-through rates (9.6 percent and 9.5 percent respectively.)

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