The State Of Email: Latest Email Marketing Benchmarks

The State Of Email Marketing, October 2013

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) have recently published their bi-annual ‘National Email Benchmarking Report‘, covering the state of email marketing in the UK during the second half of 2012. The report provides benchmarks for DMA members like us and our clients to measure against, as well as provoking discussion that helps move the industry forward.

The below table should provide a benchmark for your own metrics, and a summary of the report, which can be downloaded on the DMA website, follows.

Metric Q4, 2012
Average number of segments per campaign 2 – 3
Average emails per address, per month per ESP 2.27
Percentage of marketers using personalisation 77%
Percentage of marketers using data to drive content 43%
Average unique open rate 32.7%
Average unique click-through rate 8.7%
Average click to open rate 14.7%
Average delivery rate 90.3%
Average opt-out rate 1.1%
Average hard bounce rate 2.1%


Are budgets increasing? 

According to the IPA’s benchmarks, marketing budgets are looking positive, with almost a quarter of their respondents reporting an upward lift:

22% of marketers budgets got bigger

What about email? 

29% of the DMA’s respondents said that their budgets for email had been increased and 13% said that budgets decreased, marginally less than the previous half.

graphic to indent copyIn summary, companies’ budgets have grown and so they are spending more on email than the previous half.


Are marketers sending more?

Yes. The busy second half of 2012 included the Olympic and Paralympic Games, always expected to be the first ‘digital’ Games, and the US Presidential Election, which email played a significant role in so an email volume high was expected globally. Volume grew throughout the whole year, peaking at an all time high during the first half. In the second half, 25% more emails were sent than the same period in 2011, although there was a bigger jump in volume from 2010 – 2011, so it has slowed a little.

Are customers getting more?

The frequency per contact averaged at 2.27 per address per month – still not as high as it was in 2010, but on an incline.

Who’s sending?

In terms of sectors, the biggest sectors in terms of volume were retail, followed by finance, travel and publishing. Naturally, B2C marketers send more emails, but the gap closed by around 6% to 40% more in the fourth quarter of the year, which is surprising given it includes Christmas.

Retailers send more email than any other sector

Trends in sends

One of the headline findings was that the role of seasonality is in decline, whilst the number of highly targeted campaigns increases.

Behavioural triggers trump seasonality

The DMA note that US benchmarks have seen a 73% rise in volume of triggered messages sent. There is a huge decline in marketers for whom the primary driver of email volume was seasonality, dropping from 41% in 2010 to 17%. It seems that the primary driver of sends is return on investment, the number one factor for 42% of marketers. Quoting the report:

graphic to indent copy“…recognition of email’s effectiveness has been given a boost by the DMA’s National client report, which  provided the first-ever estimate of average ROI for UK email marketing.”
According to that report:

£21.48 is the average ROI per £1 spent on email

Where’s the focus?

Email service providers were asked where their clients are focusing. More than ever, they are focusing on:

  • Targeting
  • Segmentation
  • Volume, and
  • ROI

With fewer marketers concerned with budget and deliverability.

Cross-channel integration

Social media integration is more common than ever too, with 58% of marketers sharing their emails on social networks, finally social media is being used as data capture resource.


One respondent describes how they use social as a list growth resource:

graphic to indent copy“A lot of that strategy revolved around getting fans into our email database and creating that one-to-one relationship with them rather than trying to conduct that on social”


I won’t labour the point on mobile email marketing, as we’ve covered it in depth before, but as a benchmark, the DMA are reporting just over 40% of opens being mobile opens:

41% of campaigns were opened on a mobile

So what trends are you seeing in your own reports? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and as DMA members, we can feed back any comments to the DMA on your behalf. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below , or via Twitter, using @dotMailer.

How to prepare for the 2021 holiday season

Holiday marketing is a priority for brands across the globe. The months leading up to the end of the year are some of the busiest sales periods in the marketing calendar. Regardless of whether you’re an ecommerce…

What is customer-centric email marketing?

If you want to drive the marketing results you want, you need to be thinking about the experience you’re delivering. What are the benefits for the subscriber?  It’s important to remember that email is an inbound marketing…

Progressive Web Apps: future-proofing your ecommerce business

The future of ecommerce  PWA is the future of ecommerce, and if you didn’t already know that, we’ll tell you why. When looking for the best customer experience on your ecommerce site, PWA is the answer. Especially…