Who's Getting Your E-Mail Message? - eMarketer

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Who's Getting Your E-Mail Message?

Home and work users have different preferences.

By Debra Aho Williamson - Senior Analyst

August 14, 2006

For e-mail marketers looking to make the biggest impact, it makes sense to pay attention to whether users are receiving their e-mail at home or at work.

According to a Q2 2006 study of e-mail marketing preferences by eROI Inc., 79% of people who subscribe to business-to-business e-mail marketing messages receive them at a business e-mail address. Just 19% of people who receive consumer-oriented e-mail marketing messages subscribe with their business e-mail address.

Those who receive consumer-oriented messages were also much more likely to use an e-mail address created specifically for e-mail marketing: 24% did, vs. 6% of those who received B2B messages.

E-Mail Address Used for Subscribing to B2B and B2C E-Mail Marketing Messages among US Consumer and Business E-Mail Users, Q2 2006 (% of respondents)

"This may mean that this email address is not checked as often, and that it is subject to more noise (junk email) than their personal email address," eROI stated in its report. The quarterly study was conducted among 300-plus respondents who received B2B and B2C e-mail marketing messages.

Another key factor to e-mail marketing success is picking the right day to send a message. Data gathered by eROI across its client base indicate that as of the second quarter, Saturday and Sunday had the best open rates, while Saturday also had the highest click rate.

Open and Click Rates for US Marketing E-Mail, by Day of the Week, Q2 2006 (% of total each day)

However, earlier studies by eROI offer a different picture. In a study conducted in the first quarter of this year, Tuesday turned out to be the best day for open rate and Sunday the best day for click rate. Saturday, it turns out, was the worst day for open rate and less effective for click rate than several other days.

Open and Click Rates for US Marketing E-Mail, by Day of the Week, Q1 2006 (% of total each day)

In the fourth quarter of last year, Friday was the best day for both open rate and click rate, according to eROI. Again, Saturday was one of the worst days.

Open and Click Rates for US Marketing E-Mail, by Day of the Week, Q4 2005 (% of total each day)

The shift in best days is not reflective of changes in consumer usage and attitudes as much as it is of changes in strategy among eROI's client base, said Jeff Mills, a sales and strategy analyst for the company.

"We've seen a lot of uptick in more segmented B2C e-mails," he said. More clients are targeting their messages toward the end of the week, to reach consumers who are planning for their weekend activities or shopping outings.

Consumer respondents to eROI's survey said Friday was their preferred day to receive e-mail marketing messages. Among B2B respondents, Monday and Tuesday were preferred days, likely because of less clutter in the workweek.

eROI's study also shows a noticeable uptick in overall open rates over the past few quarters, something other studies have not shown. ExactTarget, for example, reported a drop in open rates from 50.4% in 2004 to 35.5% at the end of 2005.

E-Mail Open, Click-Through and Unsubscribe Rates in the US, Q1 2004-Q4 2005 (average)

The key to improving open rates is to continue to segment lists and test communications with e-mail recipients, Mills said. "Marketers are becoming more intelligent through data like this and asking customers when they want to receive communications and how often. There is a direct correlation to open rate and click rate."

For more on e-mail marketing, read eMarketer's "E-Mail and Word-of-Mouth: Connect with Your Best Customers" report.

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