Knowing whether or not your emails are reaching the consumer’s inbox is one of the most basic measurements of email marketing.

Yet a new survey of 333 senior marketing executives by Return Path shows that 16% of marketers have no way of tracking email deliverability

In fact only 41% of respondents said they had the information readily available in a dashboard.

The difficulty that marketers have in measuring campaign success is reflected in the fact that 26% of marketers claimed that knowing how to optimise email marketing was the greatest challenge they faced, while 24% said that analysing campaign results was the biggest challenge.

What are your greatest challenges when developing email marketing campaigns?

When asked what prevents them from measuring their email campaigns respondents said that lack of staff (20%) and budget (19%) were the main ’pain points’.

Use of analytics

The survey found that over the next 12 months marketers plan to use analytics in greater detail, in part to improve email inbox delivery placement as well as discover new segmentation and targeting opportunities to improve relevance.

More than a third (37%) said that using analytics to optimise their communications was their top priority, while the same number (37%) said that integrating email with social channels was an important task this year.

Q. What are your five top priorities for improving your marketing programs this year?

When asked specifically about the tactics they would employ in the next 12 months to improve their email marketing, enlisting new tool and services to boost deliverability came out as the top method (35%).

This is followed by the use of predictive analytics to determine future customer trends (32%) and conducting multivariate testing (31%).

Q. Which tactics do you plan to use in the next 12 months?

The fact that multivariate testing scored so highly is no surprise when you look at the number of companies who currently perform this kind of testing.

Data included in the Econsultancy / Adestra Email Marketing Census shows that just 5% of companies currently use multivariate testing, compared to 66% that test subject lines and 44% who test the best time of day or week to send emails.

Q. What type of testing are you currently using for email marketing?

Checking on the competition

When asked about which method of email testing they would most like to be able to do, the most popular answers were for the ability to find out how well their competitors were performing.

Almost two-thirds (64%) said they would like to be able to analyse how recipients interact with competitors’ email marketing messages, while 58% said they would like to know how recipients see their competitors’ emails.

Q. Can you (or would you) use the following approaches to see and measure the influence of email campaigns? – I can’t use this, but if I could I would.

But even so, a large proportion of respondents are already carrying out competitor analysis by signing up for other brands’ newsletters (37%), participating in industry associations (36%) and using analyst or market research services (35%).

Just 12% claimed that they do not carry out any competitor analysis at all.

Q. How do you get competitive intelligence on your competitor’s email marketing program?