Industry benchmarks offer a great opportunity for our clients to compare their campaign performance, so I am always interested to find new research. Today I read the new 'Email Benchmarking Report' from Digital Doughnut and dotmailer.

Some of the findings offer no big surprises, such as: 

  • Email is the top channel for delivering ROI - or is it?
  • Open rates and click-through rates are the most widely used metrics, by 82% and 78% of companies respectively.
  • Subject lines (72%) are the most commonly tested aspect of email campaigns. Only around half of companies are testing design (51%), calls to action (51%) and time of day / day of week (49%).

However, a concern may be that less than a quarter of companies (24%) say they are able to quantify ROI from email marketing.  So is email the top channel to deliver ROI? Most can't tell and I feel when they do measure, email is merely the last 'marketing touchpoint' that can be measured.

So should we focus on email? Well, yes. I believe a good email programme is an essential part of the mix. It's cost-effective, can be managed internally or externally, and for top-of-the-funnel leads it is a great channel to nurture (along with digital retargeting and telephone nurture).  

It's interesting that the research also indicated email is the channel being used to generate leads (66%) and raise brand awareness (53%). With open rates at only 20-30% for users that have previously engaged, I don't believe you can rely on email to deliver a big impact in raising your brand awareness. This point leads me to wonder: Have marketers said this because their brand budgets have been reduced to focus on lead generation and cover the costs of martech?