It never ceases to amaze me when new email marketers are surprised to find not all of their carefully crafted emails get opened. “But I only sent my email to my best and most loyal customers. How come they didn’t all read it straight away?” Perhaps a reasonable question in theory but what about practice? Just what level of open-rate and click-through rate should be expected. This is an impossible question to answer without more information as there are so many variables but I found a case study of a campaign by mobile giant O2 which makes interesting reading and gives insight into the levels of email response seen by a big national/international brand. The project involved inviting people to attend an England Rugby International via a dedicated 3D broadcast to one of 40 ‘Mini-Twickenhams’ set up around the UK: Here are how the results reported:We drove a quarter of a million visitors to O2 blueroom, with the emails seeing a 27% open rate (that’s 50% above O2’s average), and a 22% CTR (150% above average). We produced a 250% increase in registration for O2 Priority experiences, with those customers spending an extra £4.10 each month. The PR coverage we generated created more than £2.4 million of equivalent media spend. And the campaign paid back immediately with £250,000-worth of tickets sold to O2 customers.
The numbers in the second paragraph are perhaps not too relevant to the average SME – though they validate the programme as a major email campaign! The opening line shows interesting stats. That there were 250,000 visitors to the O2 blueroom website shows this is a statistically valid result. They also laud a 27% open rate as 50% higher than average which tells us O2’s expectation would be an open rate of 18%. Similarly the normal O2 expectation on click through rate (CTR) is around 9% (this is 9% of opened emails, not sent emails) So we can use an Open Rate of 18% and CTR of 9% as benchmarks. If they are good enough for O2 then they are good enough for us – but now we need to try to beat them! Back to my new email marketer: maybe a 53% open rate isn’t too bad after all…. Enjoy.