Are Insurance Marketers Sending Too Many Emails?

December 10, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Digital | Email | Financial Services | Uncategorized

Email is said to have one of the highest ROIs of the various digital marketing channels available to marketers. Yet research shows that marketers should tread carefully: email overload has a negative effect on consumers, cited as their top reason for unsubscribing from a list. In a market as leads-driven as insurance, getting email frequency right is especially important. Data provided by Eloqua for a new MarketingCharts report [download page] on personal lines insurance marketing provides benchmark email metrics and identifies trends over the course of this year. The data suggests that insurers might be sending too many emails.

Email providers rarely segment their data to the specific level of the insurance category, instead sticking with “finance” or “financial services.” The data provided by Eloqua is specifically related to large insurers with a personal lines element to their businesses. Though the sample size is relatively small, these figures are intended to give a ballpark idea of what some insurers are seeing, along with emerging trends from this year.

Email Effectiveness Metrics Steady

Insurers tracked as part of this study have seen relatively steady open rates throughout the year, ranging from a low of 15.3% in January to a high of 20% in April, for an average of 17%. There has been significantly more variance in click-through rates (CTR) throughout the year, from a low of 0.8% to a high of 7.8%, although the CTR from May through October (latest data available) more closely hews to the 2.7% average.

Finally, click-to-open rates, a good way to look at conversion of interest to action, have seen significant peaks and valleys, averaging out at 11.8%.

Deliverability Metrics Show Mixed Results

The data on the deliverability side is more mixed. On the one hand, the average bounce rate has been on a steady, if bumpy, decline, throughout the year. On the other hand, though, the unsubscribe rate underwent a steady increase from January through September (from 3.3% to 5.5%), before finally dropping in October.

The data suggests that email volume might be to blame for that increase in unsubscribes. The insurers tracked by Eloqua sent a steadily increasing number of emails during the year, from an average of roughly 82,000 in January all the way to an average of 249,000 in October, a more than 300% growth.

Database growth could, of course, play a role, but the results indicate that such a role is minor. Despite the increasing unsubscribe rates, insurers grew their email databases through the year, ranging from 1.2%-4.6% month-over-month growth. Insurers, then, however they attained them, had some success in developing their lists. Yet the increased volume of emails outpaced the database growth, implying an increase in the frequency of emails. That may be one reason for the rising unsubscribe rate throughout the year, one that might signal that insurers take a second look at their email strategies.

About the MarketingCharts Report:

The 85-page report on personal lines insurance marketing from MarketingCharts contains 43 charts and graphs, and is an exhaustive analysis of primary and secondary research, including a host of new statistics provided exclusively by several research sources. The report delves into topics and benchmarks including:

  • Customer loyalty and satisfaction, and drivers for each;
  • Online and traditional media spending and efficacy;
  • The importance of the online presence and new media touchpoints;
  • Lead generation techniques, and lead scoring; and
  • The role of the independent agent in a market upended by the internet.

The full report can be purchased here.


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