Does click-tracking reduce engagement?
An email marketing company has just released a report containing some interesting year-on-year statistics.
- Emails arriving in inboxes have grown by 9% in a single year.
- At the same time, the rate of opens has decreased by 3%. But that means that people are still opening more emails today than a year ago. 6% more, in fact.
- Unique clicks, however, which a year ago were at 2% in this survey, have gone down in real terms. People are now clicking about 1.6% of emails.
What does it mean?
- Running to catch up. Recipients seem to be working hard to keep abreast of their inboxes. They have somehow found the time to open 6% more emails than ever before, extraordinary for a channel that always looks pretty much at saturation point.
- More selectivity. More importantly, recipients are clearly being more selective about what to click. They are happy to literally glance at the growing number of offerings, but they are being more discriminating about what to explore in more detail.
- More recognition. Even if an email isn’t clicked, the rise in opens means some increase in brand visibility.
- Reluctance to be tracked and followed up? Anecdotally, more people are surely becoming aware that if they click something it will be tracked. In business-to-business environments they may well receive a phone call within the hour. It’s bound to put some people off clicking. As a result:
- More self-driven journeys. Even with complex and expensive B2B products, prospects would often rather investigate the options themselves before speaking to a sales representative. It puts more onus on having compelling self-selectable digital experiences and social conversations than ever before.
Implications for agencies
For marketing and communications agencies consulting with clients about the marketing mix of channels available, it’s surely all good news.
The email channel is alive and even still growing. But because getting recipients to click to find out more is getting harder and harder, emailshot marketing very much needs expert hands. It’s not a game for the amateur. Otherwise, in the wrong hands, those precious emails become part of that 98.4% that are never actually clicked.
And the same applies to the creation of the digital journey, the pathway that prospects want to take on their own. If prospects are truly fearful of clicking in case they are sucked into a vortex of sales pressure, they’re going to deliberately not click but might go to the website and social discussion sites anyway. Providers who deliver comprehensive and compelling answers online for the vast majority of the journey will win out.
Again, only an expert team with deep knowledge of the audience and the solutions they want can possibly engage them for long in such a scenario. Great opportunities for marketing, communications and digital agencies, then.
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Source survey, which also covers some mobile vs desktop metrics: http://www.yeslifecyclemarketing.com/resources/benchmarks/email-marketing-benchmarks-best-practices-holiday-season-planningImage by Patrick Hoesly.