July 10, 2020
It’s been a helluva few months and we hope you’re safe and sound!
We’re so glad you’re enjoying our content and we truly appreciate your support.
Thanks to you, along with the rest of our readers, we decided to create the Essence of Email Quarterly – a complete overview of the Email Marketing Industry in the past quarter. In doing so, we realized a regular newsletter would be a valuable addition and the Weekly was born!
On Friday, July 17th, you’ll get the very first edition of the Essence of Email Quarterly, highlighting the key email marketing trends that marked Q2 2020. We hope you have fun diving into the most important industry news and trends.
Why email marketing is key to marketing success and what wins CTRs
The World Bank predicts that the global economy will see a 5.2% contraction in global GDP in 2020. This could mark the darkest recession since the aftermath of WWII. As 53% of CFOs face this reality, along with the fact that there’ll be a roughly 25% decrease in revenue and profits this year, it’s difficult to focus on anything else. In fact, PwC’s CFO pulse survey shows that 50% of CFOs plan to accelerate automation and figure out new ways of working.
Buckling up budgets for email marketing success
A survey conducted by ClickZ also identified that in terms of tools for marketing success, email marketing (49%) and SEO (53%) are the clear front runners in the marketing technology race.
Email marketing is a tried-and-tested tool for brands to drive customer engagement, tap into their customers’ minds, and influence customer experience through their inboxes. The results of the survey offer insights into email marketing campaigns in an industry-wide context, email marketing stats according to regions, and the most widely read types of content.
Email marketing is still the favorite on a worldwide scale
Researchers analyzed email marketing data taken from thousands of email campaigns around the world. This data included send volume, open rates, click-through rates, and click-to-open rates. They found that global email open rates increased at an average of 4.7% from February to April.
COVID-19 impacted each industry in different ways and consumer trends reflect that uncertainty.
The survey found that the top 3 industries for email sends were:
- Consumer products
Meanwhile, the least active industries were:
- Travel agencies and services
- Leisure, sports, and recreation
So, which messages performed the best?
“An important message from our CEO” types of emails had impressive open rates. Considering the fact that those emails didn’t have a particular CTA, they didn’t get too many clicks.
“How to do business with us” led to higher open rates, and even more importantly, an increase in click-through rates.
To see various stats representing the previous quarter, take a look at the full article.
And the mystery online shopper is… Google
Online shoppers abandoning checkouts is nothing new. But a certain “John Smith” is a prolific, and repeat, offender.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a story this week about a mystery shopper who has been causing havoc with eCommerce sites – and lots of them.
The culprit, “John Smith”, has been leaving items worth $1,000 in abandoned online shopping baskets over the past 12 months. One retailer claims that over a 3-day period, John Smith abandoned 17 shopping baskets.
Though heated discussions about John Smith have been taking place on eCommerce forums for some time, WSJ is the first major publication to identify the mystery shopper as Google.
Well, one of Google’s crawler bots, to be specific; the one tasked with policing advertisers that are running Google Shopping campaigns.
This behavior skews the web data that eCommerce analysts rely on to optimize their checkout process and product promotions. And some retailers have had to explain to their email-hosting providers why so many of their abandoned basket auto-emails are bouncing back as undeliverable.
Google Shopping, introduced in 2002, is a way for businesses to promote products for sale on Google in response to search queries. It’s the platform that delivers the product images and pricing that appear in search results when the search query is relevant to an advertiser’s product.
To ensure advertisers play fair, the product price must be the same in the feed submitted to Google, displayed in the advert, and on the destination product page. If it’s not the same, Google will disapprove of the product listing.
One of the jobs of the shopping bot is to crawl product pages and pull the prices so this cross-checking can take place. Google has gone one step further by getting the bot (aka John Smith) to add products to the shopping cart to check that pricing remains the same throughout.
Unfortunately, if you’re responsible for your website’s eCommerce analytics, there’s nothing you can do about it other than be aware of it. Google Ads T&Cs demand their bots have access to your site.
“Welcome back, Mr. Smith.”
A Q2 snapshot by HubSpot
HubSpot recently published an article that takes a deep dive into buyer interest, marketing and sales outreach, and sales outcomes. The authors examined how various industries, regions, and company sizes have been impacted by COVID-19, and offer suggestions for investments that could work in the current moment.
The data is based on benchmarks calculated using weekly averages from Q2 vs. post-holiday weekly averages from Q1.
When COVID-19 started shutting down economies in Q1, businesses that already had an online presence were at a clear advantage. The data shows steady and sustained growth in buyer engagement, and businesses with an online presence were ready to capture that interest.
The story takes a turn once buyers start to engage with companies. Marketers had to rise to the challenge of keeping prospects interested in the midst of a chaotic crisis. They also had to provide value to an audience of buyers who were suddenly spending all day at their computers. While email volume has risen significantly, which typically has a negative effect on open rates, the rate of opens has actually risen faster than the volume of sends. This shows that teams have been successful at providing valuable content.
When it comes to buyer engagement, email marketing played a significant role.
The stats: Global email marketing sends rose significantly during the week of March 9, and remained elevated throughout Q2. Marketers sent 21% more emails during Q2 than Q1, and email sends recently peaked at 36% above the benchmark during the week of June 15. This elevated volume is the basis for one of the report’s most surprising findings – open rates have not only remained steady, relative to the increased send volume, they have actually gone up. COVID-19 prevented businesses from operating as usual, so this ability to stay relevant is real testament to marketers’ skills.
Email open rates have hovered around 10-20% above the benchmark throughout Q2. Currently, open rates sit at 18% above pre-COVID levels. It’s clear that email marketing has been a reliable outlet for engagement during the pandemic and sales teams were left with the chance to capitalize on these opportunities.
Even as open rates reached unexpected highs, one rule of email marketing remained true – companies that sent fewer emails got more opens.
No junk (e)mail: The Spam Act bites back
Before we dive in… The Spam Act 2003 (Cth) isn’t a new piece of legislation. And, arguably, it’s been a relatively unobtrusive part of the Australian privacy and communications regulatory framework – until now.
Last week, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) gave out the largest fine in its history – AUD 1 million – against a retail supermarket giant for unlawfully spamming more than 1.2 million customers via email.
The ACMA found that the retailer was in breach of Australia’s anti-spam laws when it “sent marketing emails to consumers after they had unsubscribed from previous messages” between October 2018 and July 2019. The ACMA said that it was “inexcusable” for a large and successful organization to actively engage in this sort of non-compliance. The record-breaking fine was, in part, due to the retailer’s failure to act even after the ACMA had warned it of potential Spam Act compliance issues, and multiple customer complaints.
The big picture: The Spam Act is simple – if an organization (or someone on behalf of an organization) is sending out marketing messages or emails, it must get permission from the person who receives them first. Once an organization has someone’s permission, the message must:
- identify them as the sender;
- include their contact details; and
- make it easy for the recipient to unsubscribe.
Permission can be expressed or inferred.
The ACMA’s decision is surprisingly specific. It makes it clear that, when an individual requests communications to their email address to stop, all communications should stop. This is the case even when the email address is shared with others. It shows that companies must be vigilant when it comes to their user databases, and in particular which information belongs to which individuals. Also, the ACMA refused to accept the retailer’s defence of “technical and systems issues”.
Although the retailer has already paid the fine, it’s now subject to an enforceable three-year plan. This includes actions like selecting an independent consultant to review and audit its current Spam Act compliance procedures, report regularly to the ACMA, and train staff in relation to its communications.
This latest compliance blitz comes hot off the heels of the ACMA’s penalty issued to Optus earlier this year; a clear sign that the Spam Act’s unofficial 17-year grace period has well and truly ended.
EMAIL DESIGN INSPO
We can’t get over this GIF!
In this week’s email design inspo, we’re bringing you another one of our favorite email designs. You guessed it right — it’s Nike! Nike is known for its standout emails, but this animation is particularly impressive. The mix of fresh photographs and bright graphics keeps things interesting, while the bold hero makes a serious impact. With such a good design, you won’t need a long or particularly elaborate piece of copy.
Kudos to Nike for this fresh and summery piece of design!
EMAIL NEWS. AS IT HAPPENS.
Top stories from the email marketing world.
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