Email Inbox and Attention
Here are some statistics from Netcore’s Email Benchmark Report 2020 which analysed over 50 billion emails sent by brands to consumers:
- 77% of the users prefer email as the channel to reach out to them
- 38% of users don’t check their promotional emails anymore
- Gmail dominates the email volume globally with a whopping 72% of the total volume share; Yahoo had 15% and Microsoft Outlook 8%
- The average Open Rate is 12%. The average Click Rate is 0.5%.
- Media and Publishing brands deployed the best campaigns which received the highest engagement with 75% open rate
- The optimum subject line length which has received the highest open rates is between 30-40 characters and 7-8 words
- With 36 campaigns, Deals/E-coupons brands have the highest monthly frequency of campaigns sent
Email is the best channel for brand communications and 88% emails (7 out of 8) are not opened. And despite all this, email is seen to have the best RoI across all channels
So the big takeaway is: the email inbox is one of the most powerful marketing platforms. Hundreds of billions of emails make their way to inboxes each month, all competing for our attention. And yet, most emails are ignored by the recipients. Imagine the multiplier impact if more emails could be read by their recipients.
This was my thinking behind microns – short, informational and identified emails that can be consumed in 15-30 seconds. This itself should take open rates higher. What more could be done to make microns even better – towards a 100% open rate? That is where the idea of a loyalty program comes in. And as I studied both email and loyalty, it became clear that these two worlds had never intersected.
I started thinking about a few questions. What if brands could incentivise their customers to open and click on emails? (Of course, this could be easily abused but that can be addressed by monitoring the time taken for actions after opening an email, or what happens after the click. And incentives could be offered on a differential basis to the best customers versus the others.) Why has a multi-brand email loyalty program never been created? (This could be because no single email service provider has a large enough market share to get the critical mass for making such a program successful.) Would consumers respond to such a program or just ignore it? (The only way to know would be to actually do it and find out!) Is paying for attention a good thing? (Of course, it is – all advertising is about paying for attention. The difference is that brands pay intermediaries rather than their consumers.)
The point about disintermediating the attention intermediaries (Google, Facebook, media platforms, publishers) looked especially interesting and needed further thinking. If one were to craft a multi-brand email rewards program, what would it look like?
Previously I wrote in the micron-verse series: “Our objective with microns is to eliminate waste (unopened emails). Gamifying the process wherein every micron is opened and each action earns points which can then be encashed for rewards is a way to incentivise the right customer behaviour (from a brand’s perspective). Additional points can be given for ‘streaks’ – consistently opening brand mails daily without a break.”