- Acoustic released exclusive findings of its report to help marketers understand shifting consumer preferences as we approach the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic’s holiday season
- The net? Email marketing is still a critical tool today, especially when timely, personalized messages are shared
- However, industries like Insurance saw some of the highest open rates in 2021
- Acoustic’s Senior Director of Product Management shares key trends around how and why consumers engage with content
2021 has been as challenging as 2020 for many brands, given the enduring nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued uncertainty influencing consumer behavior. Email marketing has remained a consistent communications vehicle for reaching key audiences. Email marketing performance continues to directly correlate with email’s ability to provide relevant content to recipients.
In Acoustic’s newly released email and mobile marketing benchmark report, we evaluated the current state of email and mobile engagement in 2021 to help marketers understand how consumers respond to email across geographies and industries. These metrics uncover five primary insights:
- Email and mobile marketing engagement mimic trends in thriving markets
- Email marketing is significantly more popular than mobile in terms of send
- Current events, not just the pandemic, play a role in your marketing performance
- Quantity does not equal quality
- The pandemic still plays an outsized role in marketing performance
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Email and mobile marketing engagement mimic trends in thriving markets
Looking at the number of clicks by industry, insurance has been the fastest-growing in 2021, taking over the top spot in June. This correlates with the world slowly reopening and consumers becoming more interested in large-ticket items like cars, houses, and boats. The (Read more...) market has homes selling for far more than the asking price, the U.S. is going through a car shortage due to lower manufacturing and high demand, and even boat sales took off during the pandemic as consumers sought COVID-safe activities.
These larger ticket items require insurance, and marketing performance showcases that insurance has been a thriving industry as a result. When brands capitalize on emerging trends and preferences, as insurance companies have this year, they will see an uptick in engagement, too.
2. Email marketing significantly outweighs mobile
A lot of buzz has spread about marketing channels outside of email, and for good reason! They’re new, exciting, and engaging ways to reach your customers.
The number of email recipients in the first half of 2021, though, is almost triple the number of mobile push recipients, offering more opportunities for consumer engagement. A robust email marketing strategy is still a key foundation for any marketing program, combined with SMS and mobile push.
3. Current events play a vital role
In 2021, as things have returned to a more “normal” form of life, a wide variety of current events have shaped consumer responses to marketing content.
At the beginning of 2021, the government was among the highest open rate industries. President Biden’s inauguration and the completion of the 2020 U.S. election cycle brought more interest in government emails, however, that engagement has fallen over the year as one might expect. Without needing to encourage people to vote for a particular cause or candidate, political or government-driven emails will seem less relevant or timely to consumers.
One sector that saw consistently high engagement was energy and environment. There have been a number of natural disasters globally, from flooding to wildfires to earthquakes. Many crave real-time updates to understand how they and their loved ones will be affected.
4. Quantity does not equal quality
As the old adage goes, quantity does not equal quality. North America sent the most emails out of any geographic region by far this year, accounting for 60.5 percent of all emails. However, engagement in North America was just average. This region finished the first half of the year with the fourth-highest click-through rate (CTR) of the nine geographic regions measured. On the flip side, Continental Europe started the year with the highest open rate and accounts for only 8 percent of all email sends.
Similarly, by the end of June, the U.K. and Ireland flaunted the highest open rates but accounted for just 7.7 percent of all email sends. It’s clear that targeted, timely messages drive engagement, not the number of emails you send.
5. The pandemic still plays an outsized role
In January and late March/early April, continental Europe experienced its highest coronavirus infection rate per capita and during these months, the number of opens increased too. Consumers showed higher interest during pandemic surges so they could understand how brands were managing the pandemic. This same trend happened in the Asia Pacific as well: cases peaked in May, as did email open rates.
Based on these trends, personalization emerges as a crucial tactic for email marketers. This will continue throughout 2021 and beyond. If your campaigns perform under the industry average, you need to implement strategies like personalized messaging to improve your marketing engagement.
Jump on timely trends like the back-to-school season for education or holiday shopping for retail, but the messages you share must be personalized too. Do not forget to apply common sense while personalizing your communications because even the best of technology won’t be able to save your campaign otherwise. For example, offering a college student deals on children’s clothing likely won’t make sense, but a laptop or other tech deals would be a better fit. By sending fewer emails with more relevant messaging, your engagement will improve.
We tend to forget the power of email because it’s part of our personal and professional lives each day. Despite many new marketing technologies and opportunities emerging constantly, email is still dominant and when combined with timely personalization, it can empower you to beat out your competition.
Erinne Mejia is Senior Director of Product Management at Acoustic.