Q3 Email Open Rates Rise 8% Y-O-Y

epsilon-email-open-rates-and-click-through-rates-2009-2011-dec11.gifEmail open rates rose to 23.8% in Q3 2011, representing 7.8% growth from 22% in Q3 2010 and 7.1% growth from 22.2% in Q2 2011, according to [download page] a December 2011 report from Epsilon and the Email Experience Council. Data from “Q3 2011 Email Trends and Benchmarks” indicates that click-through rates rose to 5.5% from 5.2% in Q2, but remain in line with rates seen in Q3 2010 (5.4%).

Non-bounce rates remained strong at 96.5%, while average volume per client increased by 14.9% from Q3 2010.

Consumer Products CPG Boasts Best Click Rate

epsilon-q3-categories.jpgAmong the categories examined, consumer products CPG (8.1%) had the best click rate, joining the financial services general (6.9%), financial services CC/banks (6.1%), and consumer services general (4.8%) categories in posting an increase of at least 5% compared to Q3 2010. The retail general (6.6%), travel/hospitality travel services (4.5%), and retail apparel (3.8%) categories all experienced year-over-year decreases of at least 5%.

The highest open rates were in the financial services CC/banks (38.6%), financial services general (32.5%), and retail general (27.8%) categories, while the best click to open rates (CTOR) were experienced by the consumer products CPG (43%), consumer publishing/media general (36.9%), and consumer services telecom (31.1%) categories.

Mobile Platforms Catching Up

Meanwhile, mobile platforms appear to be gaining ground when it comes to email viewership, earning 23% of views from April 2011 through September 2011, representing a 34% increase compared to the previous 6-month period, according to [download page] a December 2011 report from ReturnPath. Webmail (44%) and desktop (33%) remained more popular platforms for reading email, but decreased by 11% and more than 9% respectively.

According to a report released in November 2011 by Knotice, the share of all email opens occurring on mobile devices reached 20.24% in the first half of 2011, representing 51% growth from 13.36% in Q4 2010. iPhones accounted for 12.78% of all email opens in H1, up from 8.74% in Q4 2010, while iPads nearly doubled their share, up from 2% to 3.92% during the same time period.

ReturnPath also found growing use of iPads: email views on the device jumped by 12% between March, when the iPad 2 launched, and April, and then grew 73% between April and September.

Day of Week Affects Email Usage

ReturnPath’s research indicates a big dip in desktop email usage over the weekend, with a corresponding rise in mobile and webmail use. However, contrary to the prior 6-month period, which found a jump in webmail use on Sunday and a dip in mobile, the latest data found mobile and webmail use to be largely consistent on both Saturday and Sunday.

Other Findings

  • According to ReturnPath’s report, Outlook accounted for 63% of desktop email opens, more than double Apple Mail’s share (31%).
  • Webmail views were highest among the finance (49%), shopping (48%), and travel industries (45%), while desktop views were highest among the software (48%) and automotive (47%) industries. Mobile views were largely consistent among industries, with the highest rates seen in the entertainment (27%), social networking (27%), and publishing (26%) industries.

About the Data: The Epsilon study was compiled from 5.7 billion emails sent by Epsilon in Q3 2011, across multiple industries and approximately 140 participating clients. The ReturnPath study used data from more than 200 different clients and examined more than 400 million data points. For email views by industry, the report looked at a subset of the 200 clients that fit into the categories reported.