Email marketing open rates in the UK were high in 2016, but clickthrough rates for those mailings fell, according to the latest annual email benchmarking report from trade group the Direct Marketing Association UK (DMA UK). And the reason behind the change might be a lack of compelling content.
The study found that 14.2% of UK marketing emails were opened last year, a rate that was essentially unchanged from 2015. But engagement metrics—clickthrough and click-to-open rates—were down by low double digits compared with 2015.
For 2016, clickthrough rates fell to 1.6%, a drop from 1.8% in 2015. In addition, click-to-open rates declined to 11.0% in 2016 from 2015’s figure of 13.3%.
Lower engagement could reflect a greater preponderance of uncompelling email messages. A separate DMA UK study of consumer attitudes toward marketing emails from November 2016 found that 65% of UK consumers will click on an email when it’s interesting to them, up from 58% in 2015. That indicates UK internet users aren’t averse to clicking through emails to get to brand pages.
Some business sectors appear to be more interesting to email readers than others. DMA UK found that missives from travel marketers and utilities were both the most opened and the most widely clicked. On the other end, publisher, nonprofit and finance emails ranked lowest for both measures.
“To add context, a large percentage of utilities emails sent are statements or bills, [and] as a result they generate a high open and click rate as customers click to check them,” said Jenna Tiffany, a member of the DMA email council’s research hub. “Talking more generally, offers do still play a key part in B2C [business-to-consumer] email content, which typically drives higher open and click rates. This is especially true with more frequent purchases, unlike in B2B [business-to-business] where the purchase cycle is longer.”