To truly gauge the effect of variations in frequency of marketing emails, evaluate the cumulative metrics as well as per-message statistics.
How often does your company send marketing emails? Perhaps you’ve wondered if ramping up the number of messages you send to your database may generate more purchases. But you don’t want to cross the line of bothering people to the point where they unsubscribe or become annoyed with your business.
IBM Marketing Cloud recently released the 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, which aggregates data from messages sent by nearly 750 companies representing 3,000 brands in 40 countries. It offers interesting insight on metrics like open rates, click-throughs, and mobile metrics.
Marketing emails and the frequency math effect
One key finding from this year’s study involves something called the “frequency math effect.” It first became evident for businesses in the retail and ecommerce sector during the holidays but applies across verticals.
During periods of heavy email volume, certain metrics that determine the effectiveness of marketing emails — i.e., opens and clicks per message — may drop off drastically. But this is not necessarily cause for panic. If you look over the entire sending period, you are likely to see the number of total opens and clicks go up.
Because your subscribers are receiving more emails from you, they tend to open fewer of those messages. But because you are touching your subscribers more often, engagement increases, likely dramatically. This could lead to more conversions and higher revenue.
But there’s more to consider here. List churn metrics — e.g., hard bounces, unsubscribe rates, spam complaints — are also subject to the frequency math effect.
When you are sending marketing emails more frequently, you’ll likely see a drop in your unsubscribe rates, reports of abuse, etc. But don’t celebrate too soon. Again, the cumulative number of these actions will increase.
To better gauge the impact of marketing email frequency, it’s important to look at both per-message statistics and total open, click-through, and list churn metrics for an entire period. By doing so, you’ll be able to more accurately determine whether a change in marketing email frequency has driven an overall net positive or negative impact.
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