Two-thirds of marketers (66%) state that email delivers an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ROI, with 8% of businesses achieving more than half of their sales through this channel.

The findings come from the new Econsultancy/Adestra Email Marketing Industry Census 2013, which shows that despite the ever-increasing toolkits and techniques available to marketers, email still holds its place as a channel that offers a strong ROI.

The 2013 version of this report covers new and changing trends within this key marketing channel, and its integration with other areas of marketing and key business functions.

But in spite of the strong potential for delivering a great return in investment, companies are spending too little time on optimisation of campaigns compared to design and content.

How do you rate the following channels in terms of return on investment?

  • Only 39% of in-house marketers rate the performance of their company’s campaigns as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, while 15% admit their campaigns are ‘poor’.
  • More than a quarter (27%) state that they spend no time at all internally on optimising their email campaigns, a figure that has increased from 21% in 2008.
  • And even those that do optimise aren’t spending a significant amount of time on it. Just 19% of responding companies spend more than two hours a week on optimisation, compared to 62% who dedicate the same amount of time to design and content.

The report also investigates the most common barriers to effective email marketing, with the results showing the problems experience by marketers have changed over the years.

In 2007 ‘lack of skills and training’ (42%) was the most common issue, but this year half of respondents (50%) cited the ‘quality of the email database’.

Which of the following have you experienced to be barriers to effective email marketing?

Finally, the survey highlights the value of running user tests. Of those that test regularly, 74% report having an “excellent” or “good” ROI, compared to just 37% that do not test.

This year’s Email Census is based on the findings of a survey of more than 1,300 digital marketers. Since 2007, this research has surveyed both those working directly for companies (i.e. in-house or client-side), and those supporting them on the supply-side (i.e. email service providers and agencies).