New Email Subscribers are More Likely to Read Commercial Email, but Also More Likely to Complain

Nov 15, 2018


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Subscriber engagement is critical to any email program, and while brands often analyze how subscribers interact with an individual campaign, it can be difficult to evaluate the subscriber relationship at a higher level. To help marketers understand how subscribers engage with an email program over time, Return Path released its first Lifecycle Benchmark report. This new research examines new subscribersinteractions with an email program during the first year of their relationship with a brand, and provides actionable advice to help marketers in their efforts to acquire, onboard, engage, and retain subscribers.

Here are a few of the reports key insights:

  • Less than half of new email subscribers use an active email address. On average, just 47% of new subscribers use an active email address for commercial email signups. Conversely, more than half of subscribers sign up for email using an address that is inactive or rarely checked. High-quality email addresses are obviously more desirable, as messages sent to these inboxes are more likely to be read and acted on. To help improve the quality of email signups, marketers need to be more active about verifying the validity of the email addresses they add to their list—an email validation service can help with this.

  • Read rate for new subscribers is well above average. The first email subscribers receive from a brand has an average read rate of 39%—well above the overall average read rate of 22%. Read rate takes a slight dip to 35%during the first 30 days of the subscriber relationship, and drops again to 32% during the first 12 months—both still above the standard for read rate. Marketers can ensure ongoing engagement by taking advantage of the many opportunities to learn about individual subscriber preferences, and then using this information to build more targeted, relevant email campaigns.

  • New subscribers are far more likely to submit spam complaints. Complaints are very common in the beginning of the subscriber relationship, with an average complaint rate of 4% on the initial message—compared to an overall average complaint rate of just 0.17%. This elevated complaint rate continues through both the first 30 days and the first 12 months (2% and 1%, respectively). Marketers can reduce the likelihood of spam complaints during this critical period by setting appropriate expectations about the frequency and content of their emails, and showcasing the value of being a subscriber.

Return Path customers can now take advantage of Lifecycle Insight reports, which provide visibility into their own subscribersexperience with their brand at various stages in the subscriber lifecycle. These reports also allow Return Path customers to compare their performance against other senders in their industry using benchmark data.


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