(July 21, 2021) The click rates of charity email increased significantly in 2020, according to the UK Data and Direct Marketing Association’s Email Benchmarking Report 2021 released on July 20.
UK DMA monitors direct marketing responses across the Finance, Retail, Publishing, Travel, Not-for-Profit and Utilities sectors.
While this year's metrics appear to show a year-on-year decline, the report reveals that the best performing sector in terms of Open Rates was the Not-for-Profit showing an Open rate of 26.1% compared to 19.2% sector inclusive average. The increase of five percentage points over the 2019 Open Rate of 21.1% was attributed to the many people willing to help charities playing a key role during the pandemic. The volume of email sent by the sector was essentially the same as in 2019.
Click-to-open rates, one of the best and most accurate email metrics, was also highest among charity email. The Not-for-Profit sector was found to have a Click-to-Open rate of 19.3% up from 16.6% in 2020. By comparison, other sectors had the following Click-to-Open rates.
- Finance: 10.0%, down from 11.5% in 2019
- Retail: 11.0%, down from 11.6% in 2019
- Publishing: 13.1%, down slightly from 13.4% in 2019
- Travel: 12.4%, up slightly from 12.0% in 2019
- Utilities: 13.9%, up from 11.9% in 2019
The higher Click-to-Open rate was felt to reflect people’s feelings about the pandemic, when many believed they needed to contribute to make someone else’s life better – especially charities connected with the medical and social support systems have registered a high level of engagement.
The report’s overall findings include:
- The average delivery rate decreased slightly (to 97.9%), as did click and click-to-open rates (2.3% and 10.7% respectively), momentarily breaking the long-term positive trend over the last five years of figures
- Open rates also saw a slight reduction for the second year (19.2% compared to the 20.0% we registered in 2019), but this remains above figures from 2017 and years prior
- Two key negative metrics have also seen a decrease in the year: opt- out rates (25%) and spam complaints (29%)
But the study warns these metrics do not tell the whole story.
“Delivery rates, open rates and click rates all sit in the top drawer of the email optimisation toolbox. Using only these metrics to measure and diagnose programme performance is like fine-tuning a high-performance engine with a screwdriver and pliers,” notes Wayne Parslow, Executive Vice President, Validity International, a data and email management firm.
“The metrics in this report provide the foundation for analysing programme performance, plus serving as a fulcrum for better decision making – balancing the quest for enhanced performance with achievement of the programme’s objectives,” says Guy Hanson, Deputy Chair of DMA Email Council.
Data for the research was provided voluntarily by email marketing service providers (ESPs), including DMA Members and non-members. The sample covers over 158 billion emails sent from January 2020 to December 2020 by nine different ESPs, representing a wide range of clients across various industries at disparate volumes. About 10 per cent of these, or more than 152 million messages, were sent by not-for-profit organisations. The data was collected, collated and analysed by the DMA Insight department.
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