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Triggered email messages have repeatedly been shown to garner response rates higher than business-as-usual emails. But that doesn’t mean that you should expect all your Welcome campaigns to be read – or to even reach the inbox. A new study from Return Path [download page] finds that it’s a different type of message that’s most likely to be read.

Indeed, it’s the Post-Purchase campaign that leads in many of the metrics tracked by Return Path for its study.

To arrive at its conclusions, Return Path analyzed more than 600,000 commercial email messages sent to more than 1 million Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and AOL users by more than 3,000 commercial senders, between July 22 and November 29, 2017.

The results demonstrate that Post-Purchase campaigns attained the highest Inbox Placement Rate, of 98%. (Previous data from Return Path suggests that the average inbox placement rate is about 77% in the US.) Interestingly, while one might assume that Welcome campaigns have high Inbox Placement Rates, they actually fared worst of the 10 campaign types analyzed, with a rate of just 84%.

The disparity between Post-Purchase and Welcome messages was again on show when examining Spam Placement Rates. Post-Purchase campaigns again emerged on top with a Spam Placement Rate of just 2%, while Welcome emails lagged the rest with a 16% rate.

Return Path attributes Welcome emails’ challenges to their being the first email-based contact in a new subscriber relationship. These emails’ deliverability difficulties extend to Complaint Rates, where their average of 0.62% was almost double the next-largest (0.35%, for Newsletters).

Welcome messages did have the second-highest “This is Not Spam” Rate (5.77%), but that may be a function of their having had a high Spam Placement Rate to begin with.

Campaign Highlights

The following list highlights some of the findings from the analysis.

  • Abandoned Cart messages fared quite well in deliverability with a high Inbox Placement Rate (95%) accompanying a low Spam Placement Rate (5%) and Complaint rate (0.12%). However, response rates were more middle-of-the-pack: a 20% Read Rate and a relatively high 12% Deleted Before Reading Rate.
  • Feedback campaigns (such as surveys) fared rather poorly in deliverability, with one of the lowest Inbox Placement Rates (87%) coupled with a high Spam Placement Rate (13%) and a relatively high Complaint Rate (0.3%). Response rates also lagged, with a low Read Rate (13%) and high Deleted Before Reading Rate (11%). Maybe a $5 incentive in the subject line would help?
  • Much like Feedback campaigns, Newsletters were on the lower end of the Inbox Placement Rates (89%) to go with relatively high Spam Placement (11%) and Complaint (0.35%) rates. Newsletters also struggle to get traction with subscribers relative to some triggered campaigns, with just an 18% Read Rate, the lowest of the campaign types.
  • Post Purchase campaigns not only had the best deliverability, but also led all campaigns in response rates. Their average Read Rate of 44% was far-and-away the highest, while their Deleted Before Reading Rate of 7% was also the lowest of all those analyzed.

The full study – which contains examples of each campaign type – can be downloaded here.

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