Insight Reporting: What is really going on with your email marketing?

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In our previous posts about our Insight Reporting we talked about how email marketing should not be measured or analysed purely on a campaign-by-campaign basis but longer term metrics should be used.

One of our existing reports – Segment and Cross-tab Reporting does this by providing the ability to drill down into segments to identify which segments are performing best, and which ones require further targeting.

We have two new reports though that take this even further.

Lifecycle Report

You will often see a downward trend in open and click rates over time. This is because when people receive your newsletter they might decide it is not for them, as there is perhaps no relevant content or you send it too often, so they make the decision to stop opening when they see it amongst so many other emails. Yes, some people will unsubscribe or hit spam, but generally that involves a lot more effort than people are willing – it is just easier to ignore.

The Lifecycle Report is designed to show how long your database stays engaged after subscribing. You can choose over how many emails you want it to measure – say the first 12 which people receive, and the report will show you an open rate for each of the first 12 emails someone receives.

Like other reports in Insight Reporting, you can filter the emails over which the report is run by ticking them, by selecting tags and a date range. A date range is mandatory, and Maxemail will only select subscribers added after the start of this range. This ensures your report is statistically reliable as only new subscribers are shown, not older subscribers from before you started to use Maxemail.

You can also apply segments to filter on which customers to report on.

What you are hoping to see is a very gradual decline in performance over time. If you have a sharp drop – or say halve the number of opens in several sends – this suggests you will suffer from list fatigue.

If you are seeing a drop, you can identify where you need to correct it. This might mean reducing frequency to new subscribers, improving the relevance by segmenting sends or adding tailored content, or perhaps introducing a welcome programme or other targeted messages at appropriate points in the lifecycle.

The report is also useful when you introduce more advanced elements into your email marketing. New subscribers don’t have any pre-conceived ideas about what is in your messages, whereas older subscribers do. Therefore, even if you do introduce content items, these older subscribers won’t realise you have changed. Looking at just the trends of new subscribers clearly highlights any impact.

Engagement Report

While the Lifecycle Report looks at open rates for each email new subscribers receive, the engagement report gives you an overall health-check on your email database. Against the emails you select, it will group recipients into one of five groups based upon how many emails they have opened.

Therefore you can quickly establish how many of your database have not opened a single email in say the last 12 months.

The report allows you to specify a minimum number of emails that someone must have been sent in the emails you have selected – this just ensures those which only received a handful of messages do not add bias in the report.

You can also select segments to apply, which allows you to look at different audiences – perhaps by the source of the data – and see the true value of each.

Our general rule of thumb is to expect 40-60% of your database to have not opened an email in the last year – anything outside of that is unusual, although you should see this in your most engaged and dis-engaged segments. Our clients who achieve better than this, and also have a higher percentage of ‘Advocates’ on their list, are the ones who run highly relevant email programmes.

The report is really aimed at raising awareness of how many never open the email. This creates the arguments behind the business case for moving to a relevant, automated and optimised email marketing programme. Management are used to seeing 15% open rates and are not inclined to change anything as a result – but show them that the majority of their database have ignored all of their emails in the last year and it shifts their perception. No longer do they over-value their customer database, and the opportunity is there to shift away from ‘batch and blast’ to a more tailored email marketing approach.

To access a list of how many emails each recipient has opened, the existing ‘Engagement Report’ in Data Export allows you to export this.

If you want help in setting up or analysing any of these reports, please do not hesitate to contact Support or your Account Manager.