Mobile Marketing ROI Has Come A Long Way in the Past Decade, But Email’s Still Tops

Email marketing continues to provide the best ROI of any digital channel, closely followed by SEO, according to Adestra and Econsultancy in their latest Email Marketing Industry Census [download page]. The survey of almost 700 in-house marketers – the majority of whom are UK-based – found close to three-quarters (73%) reporting that email offers a good or excellent return on investment, with SEO (72%) also highly regarded.

Following email and SEO are content marketing (63%) and paid search (60%), from which a majority also see strong returns. Mobile marketing (46%) and social media (44%) are a little further back: these newer media are proving slightly more challenging for a broad array of marketers. Indeed, CMOs in the US aren’t yet seeing strong contributions to the bottom line from either.

Still, respondents to the Econsultancy and Adestra study do seem to be making some strides with mobile marketing. In comparing results from this year’s study with the same survey conducted in 2008, the report demonstrates that there’s been a large increase in the share of company respondents finding healthy ROI from mobile, up from 18% to 46% over that decade-long period.

By contrast, there seems to have been a slight shift away from affiliate marketing over that time-frame, with only 45% reporting “good” or “excellent” ROI this year, down from 56% in 2008.

More spending in email over the last few years seems to have paid off with even greater returns. In 2012, for example, 14% of respondents’ marketing budgets went towards email, which produced 18% share of sales. By 2016, email’s 15% in the budget allotment contributed to a more substantial 23% increase in sales.

The most common practices used in company marketers’ email efforts include basic segmentation (80%), optimizing email for mobile devices (73%), and regular list cleansing (57%). These figures haven’t changed much in the last year. Lead scoring (18%) and dynamic social feeds (15%) are the least utilized practices.

According to the report, the largest proportion of the time spent with email campaigns is on design and content, followed by strategy and planning.

About the Data: This report was based on a survey of 1,200 marketers conducted between February and March of 2017, two-thirds of whom are client-side (part of an in-house team). Some 61% of respondents are based in the UK, with 12% in North America and 11% in Europe (non-UK). Roughly half (49%) are focused on B2C marketing, while one-third are focused on B2B and the remaining 18% both B2B and B2C equally. The retail industry was the most heavily represented.