A shift in strategy post-GDPR has led to an increase in customer engagement with email marketing campaigns, according to a new study.

The 2019 Marketing Benchmark Report details the latest trends in email and mobile marketing based off of 2018 data. It’s the first report to be released by Acoustic, the company born out of the sale of IBM’s marketing assets.

Source: Acoustic, 2019 Marketing Benchmark Report

According to the report, email open rates and click-through rates have increased steadily — by 19 per cent  and 14 per cent respectively — since 2014, signaling that privacy regulations are pushing brands to have an increased focus on list hygiene and higher-quality subscribers, in turn improving campaign targeting and increasing success rates.

“Marketers were initially skeptical of privacy and data regulations like GDPR in the UK and CASL in Canada since they restrict how brands may gain access to and use customer data,” said Loren McDonald, program director of market research, Acoustic.

“But our data shows that these regulations are actually improving results by driving change within marketing organisations, many of which are becoming more focused on consumer trust and the customer experience. In addition to improving permission and data management practices, brands are increasingly using AI to personalise emails, dissect and analyse big data, and detect when campaigns aren’t performing well.”

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Mobile Engagement Declines: The percentage of consumers opening emails on mobile devices declined to approximately 44 per cent in 2018 from 49 per cent in 2017. During the same time period, the percentage of email recipients opening webmail increased to 40 per cent from 33 per cent, and the percentage of consumers opening emails on desktop declined to nearly 16 per cent from 18 per cent.
  • US Click-Through Rates Jump: All major regions experienced increases in click-through rates between 2018 and 2017, but the US saw an impressive 20 per cent year-over-year increase to 3.6 per cent from 3 per cent. A greater focus on content optimisation for mobile devices is a probable contributing factor to this growth.
  • Transactional Messages are Top Performers: Transactional emails that are triggered by a customer’s behaviour, like order confirmations and shipping notices, have average (mean) open rates of nearly 44 per cent — 20 percentage points higher than non-transactional emails such as promotional offers or newsletters.
  • Mobile App Inbox Messages Outperform Push Notifications: Consumers open simple mobile push notifications about 5 per cent of the time while mobile app inbox messages see average (mean) open rates of more than 22 per cent. Push notifications have relatively low open rates because their content — such as a flight delay, package shipping status, or breaking news — often doesn’t require further action from the recipient.

The figures are based on email and mobile marketing messages deployed during 2018 by clients using Acoustic’s marketing solutions.

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