Email in Q1: Consumers Engage on Friday, Convert on Saturday

Consumers aren’t turning away from marketing emails, says Yes Lifecycle Marketing [download page], noting that in Q1 new subscribers featured more prominently in marketers’ databases than in the year-earlier period. But it’s not all roses: while open rates continued their ascent, click rates moved in the opposite direction once again, meaning that marketers need to up their game.

(The Yes Lifecycle Marketing data illustrating bifurcating open and click rate trends is supported by quarterly data from Epsilon that demonstrates the same pattern.)

Something worth considering (with a nod to debates over its efficacy) is email timing. There have been various studies on this topic (such as this one), and they often return different results, potentially due to different industries, samples, etc. So when one source records a consistent result, it’s worth noting.

In its latest quarterly report on email metrics, Yes Lifecycle Marketing reveals that Saturday campaigns have registered the highest conversion rates for 3 of the past 4 quarters, with Q4 201 the lone exception due to holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

An earlier Yesmail report covering Q2 2016 likewise noted that a weekend day had been tops for engagement in each quarter for the preceding 2 years. That research did caution, however, that the leading day differed among industries.

While cross-industry data can lose some value due to its lack of specificity, it’s nevertheless instructive to understand general patterns in consumer behavior. This report – which also outlines considerably above-average response rates (open, click, click-to-open) on Friday campaigns – seems to suggest that consumers are more active at the end of the week, and more likely to convert when they have time (i.e. Saturdays). The analysts recommend that brands save their better-performing campaigns for Fridays and Saturdays, making sure to include clear calls-to-action on Friday mailings.

Yes, Triggered Emails Work

Yes Lifecycle Marketing has previously released benchmarks showing how triggered emails outperform regular emails in response rates – and this past quarter was certainly no different.

Comparing the 7% of emails that were triggered with the rest of the mailings for the quarter, the report indicates that triggered emails had:

  • Almost twice the open rate (27.6% vs. 15.3%);
  • Close to 5 times the click rate (6% vs. 1.3%);
  • Almost triple the click-to-open rate (21.6% vs. 8.4%); and
  • A higher average order value ($61.54 vs. $56.34).

That’s something to keep in mind given the lower engagement rates…

While triggered emails remained just a fraction of all mailings, more brands are incorporating them into their toolbox, according to the study.

The most popular is the Welcome email (à propos given the influx of new subscribers), used by almost three-quarters (72%) of brands sampled, up from 62% the year before.

Beyond that, though, there’s much less use of triggered messages, including reactivation (23%), e-receipt/purchase confirmation (23%) and abandoned card (23%). The authors note a slight uptick in the share of brands sending e-receipts and order/shipping confirmations, but theorize that many of these are possibly sent through e-commerce platforms.

Which Industries Led the Way?

Finally, a brief look at response rates by industry shows which sectors saw the most (and least) success in Q1:

  • Open Rate: Highest for Financial Services (35.7%) and Insurance (26.7%), and lowest for B2B (11.5%);
  • Unique Click Rate: Highest for Insurance (6.5%) and Financial Services (2.8%), and lowest for Technology (0.7%); and
  • Click-to-Open Rate: Highest for Insurance (24.7%) and B2B (19.3%), and lowest for Hospitality/Travel (4.7%).

About the Data: The Yesmail report is based on data from more than 7 billion emails sent in Q1 2017 using its platform.