Q4 2016 North America email trends and benchmarks reveal steady click rates despite increased email volume

Click rates remained steady at 3.1 percent, in line with Q3 2016 (3.1 percent), despite a meaningful increase in email volume from Q3 2016 into the holiday season

Epsilon , a global leader in creating connections between people and brands, released the Q4 2016 Email Trends and Benchmarks report. 

The report, which measures emails sent by Epsilon clients in North America, shows that click rates remained steady at 3.1 percent, in line with Q3 2016 (3.1 percent), despite a meaningful increase in email volume from Q3 2016 into the holiday season.

“The increased email volume in Q4 2016 caused open rates to decline slightly but had little effect on click rates, showing that marketers were able to effectively engage email subscribers with relevant content and personalized marketing offers,” shared Judy Loschen, senior VP, Digital Solutions at Epsilon. 

“With the continued increase in consumer exposure to marketing messages, more than ever marketers need to know their customers and reach them in the channels where they interact – whether through email, digital media or offline – to build emotional connections. Achieving this starts with rich data and powerful technology platforms to activate those insights in real-time.”

Business as usual methodology and email trends
The quarterly business as usual (BAU) analysis was compiled from 12.8 billion emails sent by approximately 150 Epsilon clients in Q4 (October – December) 2016 across multiple industries.

Key findings from the Q4 2016 report include:
* The Q4 2016 open rate of 32.1% was below Q3 2016 (34.1 percent), but higher than last year Q4 2015 (30.6 percent).
* Click rates at 3.1 percent were in line with Q3 2016 (3.1 percent) and similar year-over-year (3.2 percent).
* Non-bounce rates stayed steady at 97 percent from Q3 2016 (97.1 percent) and were in line with Q4 2015 (97.1 percent).

Triggered message methodology and email trends  
Triggered message benchmarks were analyzed from approximately 3.8 billion emails sent by Epsilon clients from October 2014 to December 2016 across multiple industries. Results track campaigns deployed as a result of a consumer action such as Welcome, Abandon Shopping Cart, Thank you or Confirmation.
Key findings from Q4 2016 triggered message research include:

* Triggered messages accounted for 5.4 percent of total email volume in Q4 2016, well above Q3 2016 (3.7 percent) and higher than Q4 2015 (3.5 percent).
* Triggered open rates were 50.4 percent higher than BAU in Q4 2016, lower than the Q4 2015 lift of 76.7 percent over BAU.
* Triggered click rates continued to outperform BAU, reporting 106.3 percent higher, but notably lower than Q4 2015, when triggered click rates showed a 226.6 percent lift over BAU.

Email activity segment evaluation trends
The Email Activity Segment Evaluation (EASE), which looks at behavioral segments and the overall performance of an average email file across industry categories, were compiled from more than 464 million non-bounced and opted-in email addresses that were contacted from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 across multiple industries and approximately 145 clients.

The EASE analysis identified file-level trends including:

* Approximately 18 percent of mature subscribers (those addresses that have been on a marketer’s file for more than three months in an average list) have opened an email or clicked on a link within an email in the last three months.
* In Q4 2016, 10 percent of subscribers in an average email file are new (added to a marketer’s file in the past three months) representing a decrease from 11 percent in Q4 2015.
* 69 percent of new subscribers in an average list have no opens or clicks.
* The Publishing/Media industry had the highest amount of engaged subscribers in Q4 2016 while Travel/Hospitality did the best job of on-boarding new customers in the same period.

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