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I’m often saying marketers are bombarded by too many statistics and metrics in the digital age and have a challenge to make sense of them all. But there is a new tracking measurement on the email marketing block which I think we should all be sitting up and taking notice of.
Standard email metrics are all about delivery, opens and clicks; but the next generation of email metrics take opens a step further - measuring how long someone is reading the email to help quantify engagement.
Opens are a great measure for email marketers, as well as number of times opened, but now we have the tools to judge whether someone opened and actually read the email or whether they glanced and then deleted.
These metrics are quite simply fascinating. Not only that, they are useful and can help you change your tactics to increase marketing performance. I was introduced to them by our own “email guru” Guy Hanson. They won’t be new to everyone but they were to me – and they’re certainly worth looking at.
This ‘email reading’ tracking data has powerful potential as it can indicate those who are engaged in a service or offer and can then be linked with other data, such as web analytics or transactional data, to inform marketing.
For example, those who actually read emails rather than just glancing at them are great targets for a follow-up communication if they don’t enquire or purchase immediately.
Looking to increase their edge in the highly competitive travel marketing sector, tailor-made package holiday specialists Travelbag recently used these metrics as part of a multichannel marketing review. Among other channel combinations, they were looking at whether sending a follow-up email to a direct mail shot increased the response rate.
We tested it for them (using a deal for Hong Kong) and it certainly did. The read percentage was substantially higher in an email which was a follow-up from a mail shot versus an isolated email: a fantastic uplift of over 25% in reader attentiveness! And when broken down by type of email client (using hand held, web browsers or desktops), the email follow-up drove engagement up by a phenomenal 79% among desktop users.
This, as well as testing other channel combinations, proved to Travelbag that reinforcing messages using multiple channels is very effective in increasing engagement and cemented their drive to increase relevancy and more fully integrate their campaigns – all underpinned, of course, by the clever use of customer data.
These metrics can also be used to test creatives. If one creative is viewed for longer it can be considered to have more cut-through and therefore be used over and above another. And it can be used to analyse entire databases over time to segment ‘engaged’ and ‘not engaged’. The data is there to be used, organisations just need to embrace it.
What I like about this new email metric is that it’s data, but not for the sake of it. It’s about being clever and targeted. This is the kind of marketing that excites us and precisely the reason we have all fallen in love with digital and the information it can give us.