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A Look at Email Deliverability Across Industry Verticals

Thomas Senne
Senior Director of Global Deliverability

Being a curious person by nature, I decided to do some data mining—some email deliverability data mining that is.

I was interested in looking at different industry verticals and how they perform against some key benchmarks. I wondered if there was much difference across different verticals in regards to deliverability. While I was not surprised by the findings, there were certainly some interesting conclusions to be drawn from the data.

Here is the methodology that I used to mine the numbers and the logic behind them. I looked at campaigns sent over the last 90 days across four different verticals:

  • Financial Services
  • Retail
  • Health and Wellness
  • Political Parties and Organizations

I looked at the following data points for all of the verticals:

  • The total number of campaigns monitored over the 90-day time period.
  • The percentage of campaigns that had more than 90% inbox placement.
  • The percentage of campaigns that had greater than a 30% read rate.
  • The percentage of campaigns that had a volume of 60 thousand or more.

The benchmarks that I chose were on the high end of expectations and I did that on purpose to look for high (or low) performers. I wanted to know for example, which of these verticals was sending out messages that were actually being read at a nice clip (thus the high 30% number) and had good deliverability at 90%+. I also pulled out campaigns of > 60 thousand recipients. I wanted to see if certain verticals were sending more individualized campaigns vs. batch and blast types to larger audiences.

Financial Services had the best inbox placement, by far the best read rate, and interestingly enough the most large campaigns. It seems like most of the “batch” campaigns were actually what we would look at as more transactional in nature, but they batch them together. It makes sense that emails dealing with finances are something that people pay attention to.

Retail was pretty surprising to me in a few ways. It has the lowest inbox placement, read rates, and the smallest percentage of batch and blast campaigns. I would guess that a lot of these numbers are simply due to customer fatigue. There are so many emails from retailers that it’s inevitable that a lot of our messages get lost in the shuffle.

I expected Health and Wellness to be more difficult to get to the inbox, but it performed basically on par with the Retail vertical. There were fewer reads and more batch and blast. This is one of those more challenging verticals because of the large amount of spammers that cross into this vertical.

There’s also a real chance to stand out in this vertical if that’s where your company plays. Great packaging and content in an email truly can make a real difference in bringing eyeballs to your message. I see this vertical as one I will be watching in the future. Pushing the envelope with email campaigns could really help marketers stand out in this crowd.

The last group I looked at was Political Parties and Organizations. I couldn’t resist taking a look at this one with everything that’s going on. Probably no surprise, but the PP&O group almost doubled the number of campaigns over the past 3-month span. No real surprise with the volume but we see the trail of email fatigue. It starts with the lower read rates and not fantastic inbox placement. I would expect these numbers to continue to go down over the next 6 months.

I’ll be tracking some of the industry verticals and reporting back to you from time to time. I like comparing these categories because so many marketers are looking for a reliable benchmark with which you can compare yourself to. That’s always been a difficult question, because email programs (and companies they represent) are different.

In the meantime, download and read the Email Deliverability: Guide for Modern Marketers to strengthen your current deliverability process. Check back in for more of my data mining reports soon. 

Email Deliverability: Guide for Modern Marketers

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