Twilio (NYSE: TWLO), the leading cloud communications platform, today announced the results of the fourth annual Twilio SendGrid Email Benchmark and Engagement Study conducted to analyze the email sending patterns of brands and the engagement preferences of consumer recipients. The study includes recommendations for how senders can improve their email programs by carefully considering the critical elements that impact a recipient’s decision to open a message and click on the embedded links.
The study analyzed sending and engagement data from more than 80,000 global Twilio SendGrid customers who send more than 60 billion emails each month. Twilio SendGrid also performed entirely new research for this year’s study, which included both a qualitative ethnographic study of 40 participants from the United States and the United Kingdom, and a quantitative online survey of 1,600 participants from the US and the UK.
- 97% of survey participants consider email and 85% consider text messages to be the most essential channels for communication between brands and consumers. 84% of survey participants check their email at least once a day and the majority of participants check messages numerous times throughout the day.
- Brands increased the number of email messages sent per month in 2019, however email recipient open and click rates dropped, reversing a trend that was developing in prior studies. The average monthly send rate increased from a median 7 emails per month in 2018, to 8.3 in 2019, while aggregate open rates dropped from 18% to 14.5% and aggregate click rates dropped from 2% to 1.6%, respectively.
- The recipient’s familiarity with the brand of the sender is the most influential factor for opening an email and 81% of participants shared that this influences their decision to click on the links within an email. Messages sent to recipients that are unaware of a brand, or who have never interacted with it in the past, are likely to be ignored.
- Message content and relevance are the second most influential factors for email engagement. Recipients favor a clear descriptive subject line that aligns with the content inside the email, and prefer personalized, curated recommendations and offers based on products from their purchase history, rather than on items they might have only been browsing on a company’s website.
- The vast majority of participants, 85% across the US and the UK, indicated they want images in their emails.
- In 2019, the number of clicks on mobile vs. desktop devices increased from 55.6% to 61.9%. However, recipients in our ethnography study noted that they frequently switch between mobile and non-mobile devices, and even prefer to look at some messages on desktop over mobile because it provides a better shopping experience.
“As reflected in Twilio’s research published earlier this year, despite the prevalence and proliferation of new social channels, email and text messages remain the essential channels for brands to engage and connect with their customers,” said Len Shneyder, vice president of Industry Relations for Twilio SendGrid. “The expanded 2019 Email Engagement Study paints a more complete picture of how and why recipients engage with the email they receive, providing the insight brands need to properly resource, scale and refine their email campaigns in order to retain, engage and grow their businesses.”
Based on the report’s findings about effective email campaigns that drive engagement and growth, Twilio SendGrid recommends that brands:
- Provide ways for recipients to either adjust how often they receive emails, or how often they receive certain types of emails. If a higher frequency cannot be avoided, consider sending shorter emails that only require a scroll or two to read on mobile or desktop devices; longer emails are acceptable, but these should be sent out less frequently.
- Ensure that the brand is consistently positioned and represented across campaigns to reinforce familiarity in the inbox and in the mind of the recipient. Make sure email is properly authenticated so that messages aren’t going to spam and recipients see that messages are coming from the brand’s domain.
- Get to know customers and ensure the content they receive is relevant to them. Tailor offers that reflect their past purchases, or anticipate their future needs based on what they have bought before. Consider sending customers a quick survey to learn more about their interests and to help increase the relevance and contextuality of emails.
- Be clear and concise in subject headers, but descriptive enough to convey the main content of the email. Use urgency, but do so sparingly and only when action is required within the next 24-48 hours.
- Use images to add a splash of color to emails, particularly if this results in using less text. You should use 1-3 images at most, so your email doesn’t look too cluttered or busy.
- Consumers will check email on almost any device they own. Test your messages ahead of time and ensure they load properly across all inbox providers, browsers, and devices.
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