Low Click-Through Rates A Top Challenge For Email Marketers

May 14, 2015

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Customer Engagement | Data-driven | Digital | Email | Mobile Phone | Personalization | Social Media | Tablet | Video

Ascend2-Most-Challenging-Obstacles-Email-Marketing-Success-May2015Low click-through rates present the biggest obstacle to email marketing success, finds Ascend2 and its Research Partners in a global survey [download page] of 303 marketing, sales and business professionals, roughly two-thirds of whom are B2B-focused. Interestingly, mobile device use emerges as the least challenging obstacle, although it may be a contributor to respondents’ click-through rate challenges.

That’s because mobile devices tend to have lower click rates than desktops, according to research released late last year by MailChimp. Similarly, quarterly studies from Yesmail consistently show that email click-to-open rates are considerably lower on mobile devices than on desktops. User experience may be to blame, as one survey found more than one-quarter of respondents complaining that when they click through mobile emails it’s too hard to see the full website on their mobile phone.

Curiously, the Ascend2 survey showed that despite low click-through rates being a top challenge, respondents were more likely to say that click-through rates are increasing (39%) than decreasing (27%). One might expect that click-through rates to be decreasing as more emails are opened on mobile devices (with mobiles having already some time ago gained majority share of opens). That suggests that the focus on click-through rates as a challenge is more a reflection of respondents’ priorities, with increasing engagement showing up as the most important objective of their email marketing strategies.

The study also examined what respondents consider to be the most effective methods for increasing click-through rates. The top method in that regard is a meaningful call-to-action offer, cited by 65% of respondents, followed by list segmentation for targeting (47%) and message personalization (42%). (More on segmentation here and on personalization here.) Surprisingly, a mobile-friendly design is not seen as an effective method by many respondents.


List segmentation for targeting, meanwhile, is the most difficult method to execute, cited by 41%, followed by meaningful CTAs (35%). As such, the methods perceived as most effective are also seen as the most difficult, which may be a reason why respondents see click-through rates as their most challenging obstacle.

For more on email marketing, see the MarketingCharts report Why Consumers Open Brand Emails.

About the Data: A majority (58%) of survey respondents come from companies with fewer than 50 employees, while 15% are from companies with more than 500 employees. Some 68% are primarily B2B-focused.


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