DoubleClick Email Solutions today released its Q2 2005 EMEA Email Trend Report which underscored the importance of email as a legitimate component of the marketing mix. The report is compiled from aggregate data derived between April and June 2005 from the more than 1.5 billion emails sent using DoubleClick’s DARTmail platform in Europe the Middle East and Africa between Q2 2004 and Q2 2005.

Positive performance indicators saw non-bounce rates (emails sent minus the bounce-backs) continue to improve; click-through rates have increased and spam complaints decreased in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year. These results support the report’s key contention that email remains an integral and effective communications channel. Though other metrics did show open rates falling in EMEA, this is largely as a result of changes to technology and consumer behaviour as well as file aging, which together alter how marketers can use the open rates as a valid method of measuring a campaign’s effectiveness.

A White Paper, “Analysis of Open Rate Trend Data”, which examines the issues surrounding the decline in open rates in more detail, is available to European recipients of DoubleClick’s Email Trend Report.

Commenting on the findings of the Trend Report and accompanying analysis, John Nugent, Managing Director for DoubleClick Email Solutions EMEA, said: “We have seen open rates decline over the past few quarters due in part to email applications being configured to block images and graphics by default. Further analysis has shown that there is no one particular factor that is driving this trend. The insight we have derived from this additional analysis means we can help marketers to improve their targeting to enhance open rates and boost their overall marketing results.”

DoubleClick’s EMEA Email Trend Report compares results for the EMEA region to those achieved in North America. It then further highlights the results achieved in three countries – the UK, France, and Germany – and also breaks down the data by industry sector – Services, Media, Product and Business-to-Business (B2B).

Q2 2005 Overall Performance
• The average EMEA non-bounce rate grew 1.6% year on year to 90.9% from 89.5% in Q2 2004; this was a slight decline from the 91.0% recorded in the first quarter of 2005. North American non-bounce rates grew to an all-time high of 92.1%.

• The average EMEA open rate (32.0%) declined 20% from Q2 2004 (40.0%) and this is inline with the steady decline recorded over the past five quarters. Despite this drop, EMEA marketers again achieved higher open rates than their North American counterparts (32.0% versus 27.5%) and the decline was smaller (20% versus 23.6%).

• The average EMEA click-through rate was 9.7% in the second quarter of 2005 and showed no change year on year but showed a decrease of 3% from Q1 2005 (10.0%). North America continued to achieve lower click-through rates, indicative of less interaction with email, than the EMEA region (7.2% versus 9.7%).

• HTML at 62.0% remains the most popular email format though showed a small decline quarter on quarter and is down 2.7% from Q2 2005. Multi-Part email – those that are composed of both an HTML part and a text part – remains in second place and increased by 35.3% over a year ago (23.0% versus 17.0%) with Text showing a small increase over the previous quarter but declining 22.3% year on year from 19.3% to 15.0%.

• Year on year, the number of spam complaints (based on AOL delivered ‘report spam’ complaints) decreased in EMEA by 31.2%, from 0.93% to 0.64%. However, the number of complaints did peak in Q4 2004 (0.88%), largely due to companies sending out more emails in the build up to the Christmas period.

Improving Email Performance
Non-bounce rates have improved year-on-year across EMEA and are also up in each of the three countries where individual data is available. The rate remains best in Germany (94.6%), followed by France (92.7%) and the UK, arguably the most developed market for email marketing of the three, at 88.6%.

In Q2 2005, open rates continued to decline in all three countries measured with Germany reporting the largest decline 23.5% down year-on-year from 37.0% to 28.3% - its largest single quarterly decline. Despite a 21% decrease France still reported the highest open rates (38.4%) followed by the UK (31.8%) and then Germany (28.3%).

Further analysis of the decline in EMEA open rates by DoubleClick’s Strategic Services team have identified three major factors affecting these — ISP technology changes, file aging, and evolving consumer behaviour — each of which can be addressed relatively easily. ISP technology changes can be counteracted by marketers asking subscribers to add their address to their contact list and instructing them on how to turn images back on by default in their browser. Marketers can tackle file maturity by analysing older customers and looking for opportunities to reactivate them, especially if they are active in other marketing channels. Finally, email marketers need to focus on adjusting their tactics as consumers are becoming more selective in what email they respond to or risk further deterioration in both open and click rates.

About DoubleClick E-mail Solutions
DoubleClick E-mail Solutions delivers the most complete and flexible email products and services to more than 400 companies globally. Many of the world’s most sophisticated marketing organizations across all industries leverage our world-class technology, constant innovation and unrivalled insight into e-mail marketing to achieve superior results. DoubleClick E-mail Solutions is a recognized leader in the industry, offering our flagship DARTmail service and UnityMail software. E-mail Solutions clients benefit from DoubleClick’s comprehensive product and service solutions that enable them to successfully profit from their e-mail marketing investments.

DoubleClick E-mail Solutions is an operating unit of DoubleClick Inc. that together with DoubleClick Digital Advertising Solutions provides agencies, marketers and publishers the ability to successfully profit from their digital marketing investments. DoubleClick has global headquarters in New York City and maintains 21 offices around the world to serve its more than 2000 clients.

Published on: 12:00AM on 11th November 2005