Archive for the ‘Email Marketing Research’ Category

Financial Email Marketing Benchmark Report

Posted by Dave McCue on May 10th, 2013

2012 Email Benchmark StudyBanks and Credit Unions who incorporate email into their client communications are seeing high engagement rates and low unsubscribe rates.

These and other findings from Harland Clarke Digital, compiled through an analysis of email campaigns sent by over 100 banks and credit unions during 2012, indicate the increasing acceptance of digital communication between financial institutions and their customers. While many banks and credit unions have avoided digital channels, this research indicates positive trends for those who have utilized the email channel. This research is available now from Harland Clarke Digital — click here to download your copy.

Among the findings:

  • The wealth of information available about account holders and members is ideally suited for the segmentation and targeting capabilities of email, but the collection of email addresses continues to be a challenge for many financial institutions (below 30% for banks)
  • Unsubscribe rates for financial email campaigns averaged less than 0.3% in 2012
  • Notifications, surveys and new account onboarding messages saw the highest engagement rates among email campaign types during 2012.

Also includes research around campaign frequency, deployment size, and more…

Download the full research study here


Are you going “all in” with your email testing strategies?

Posted by Rob Ropars on August 26th, 2011

Going All InWe’ve all heard that if you’re in marketing, in particular email marketing, you should constantly be testing to maximize results.  The most common test mentioned is the ubiquitous “A/B” split test, meaning a 50/50 list split to test one variable against another (graphics, copy, offer, layout, list, time of day, day of week, etc.).

But is an A/B test all you can or should do?  If you have only a few thousand or fewer emails to work with, an A/B test may be all you can do to ensure statistically reliable results.  However, if your list is too small, an A/B test might not make any sense.  For example, if you only have a few hundred email addresses, splitting and conducting one test will literally tell you nothing (statistically) other than directionally relevant information.  Instead you may need to try to replicate the test over time, to aggregate the results and to analyze your collective data over a longer period.

The first consideration is to quantify how many email addresses you need to test to ensure you have a representative sample and more importantly, to ensure the results are reliable.  There is a lot of math and science behind this topic, and fortunately a lot of math/science/statistics sites have free online tools such as this one.

You must set up the test(s) correctly (with sufficient sample sizes and assumed response rates) on the front end to ensure that results on the back end are reliable, meaning with a confidence level that you’re comfortable with (we recommend a 95% confidence level if it’s possible).  Again, there are resources online to assist such as this one.  The key is to avoid the common mistake of merely looking at results and assuming winners/losers based on seemingly different response rates.

Before testing, you have to identify the goal or the question you’re trying to answer. We recommend that you actually write these down and then, as briefly and concisely as possible, describe the various yardsticks you will use to determine your winner. As form follows function, the goals/objectives of the test coupled with the means to measure results should help drive copy, graphics, and/or layout to ensure the messages are properly structured and focused on whatever question you’re trying to answer..

Let’s say your goal is a higher click rate and after an A/B test you find “A” has a 2.7% CTR and “B” has 2.85%.  It is a common mistake to use subtraction and declare that “B” was the winner or that “B” was only 0.15% higher and that could lead you down the path of thinking it wasn’t a significant result (i.e. a virtual “tie”).  Or maybe you routinely just pick the higher percentage as the winner and run with that.  Using proper percent increase/decrease calculations, we find that this is actually a  5.56% increase from “A” to “B.”

That however may or may not be statistically significant, but as you can see it’s a much larger increase than originally assumed.  In order to determine if the results are statistically significant, use one of the calculators, plug in each version’s list size and the click percentage (or open percentage, or conversion rate, etc. depending on the key metric you’re analyzing) and it will instantly tell you whether this difference is enough to be reliable (with a 95% confidence level).

In this example, let’s pretend I sent “A” and “B” to a random 2,000 people each.  The calculations indicate that this would not be enough of a difference to be statistically reliable.  In fact, the “B” cell’s click rate would have to have been at least 3.81% in order for the difference to be reliably significant.  However, if you didn’t analyze the results properly you wouldn’t know this.

The other way to ensure you’re maximizing your results is to avoid doing a full scale A/B test. If your database for an email marketing campaign is large enough (again calculate minimum sample size), you can do a different kind of split test. First, split your list 10%/90% (ensuring it’s random). Then split the 10% group in half so you have two small splits and the remaining 90%.

Deploy your test to the 10% splits, give as much time as possible for activity to occur (twenty-four hours if possible), analyze the results and then deploy the winner to the remaining 90%. That way you’ve done your best to maximize the campaign’s results without going “all in” on a typical full file A/B split.

As with gambling, learn the rules, do the math, analyze the data and place your bets.  Do it right, and the odds will swing in your favor.


How Will Your Email Work On An iPad?

Posted by Rob Ropars on May 4th, 2010

ipad blackI’m sure you’ve heard that Apple recently released their latest game-changer; the iPad to great fanfare.

As an email marketer, you may be wondering how your emails will render on the iPad.  Will your HTML emails appear as intended?  If the iPad lacks multitasking support, how will hyperlinks work?

The iPad comes with Apple’s own Mail program and Safari browser set up by default, however, it also supports a large number of email clients/technology including MobileMe, Gmail, MS Exchange, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and AOL as well as most IMAP and POP email systems.  Users will be able to add and save their preferred email client to their device.

It appears that most email marketers should see no issue with their emails rendering on the iPad.  When a user clicks a hyperlink in an email, the iPad will save their place, and then trigger Safari to open and display the destination page.  Standard click-through and image (i.e. “open”) tracking functions should occur as normal.

Working with a certified Apple Reseller (many thanks to Chris McMullen at Computer Stores Northwest), we tested a SubscriberMail campaign from his online store account ( to several of his addresses.  He was able to view the emails just as if he was on regular laptop/computer, images rendered and links were actionable.  I was able to verify in SubscriberMail’s Email Platform using the real-time reporting interface that both “open” (loading images) and clicks were recorded as expected.
Read more