The 2019 benchmarks are here!

4 minute read

The 2019 email marketing Benchmark Report is here! You can download the full 64-page report free from our website, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak preview…

As with our previous Benchmark Reports, the 2019 edition analyses all the emails sent through the Sign-Up.to platform over the previous 12-month period – so, in the case of the 2019 report, that’s between 1st January and 31st December 2018. We take the individual campaign data from each organisation and collect it together into 29 different industry sectors, calculating averages of a range of performance indicators for each sector. We then combine the sectors to calculate overall performance values.

It’s been an interesting year!

The most significant influence on email marketing activity over the last 12 months has almost certainly been the effect of GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulations) which became enforceable EU member law on 25 May 2018. Although GDPR was announced by the European Union with a 2-year advanced readiness period, many businesses left it until relatively late in this period to consider how these changes would impact their email marketing and other data strategies.

From late summer 2017 and throughout the first half of 2018, we saw a dramatic increase in customer support enquiries relating to GDPR compliance. GDPR related questions regularly topped the list of customer support enquiries in both the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2018.

From the email marketing data, there were several visible effects from this period.

Although the overall send volume in 2018 remained fairly consistent with previous years, there was a marked change in terms of objective, most notably in the first half of 2018.

Based on the refined definitions of consent that GDPR introduced, many businesses undertook a re-evaluation of the permission credentials of their email audiences. This resulted in a dramatic increase in the number and frequency of opt-in confirmation campaigns in the lead up to the GDPR deadline.

Less immediately visible, was the impact on the standard performance metrics like open, click-through and unsubscribe rates. Both open rate and click-through rate showed a decrease from the previous year, both also reversing a 5 year upward trend. Meanwhile, unsubscribe rates, typically fluctuating at around 0.5%, showed a noticeable increase, also the highest rate over the previous 5-year period. While it’s difficult to attribute these changes purely to the effect of GDPR, they are significant, and even more visible when the data is viewed only over the first half of the year.

Section 14 of the report shows the noticeable effect on the pattern of sending volume throughout the year. Depending on the type of industry, we still see the typical peaks in volume at specific times of the year. However, the 2018 data also shows a marked increase in average send volumes in the first half of the year. Around 70% of the weeks in the first half of the year were above the average, with weeks 2 to 21 showing send volumes consistently above the average.

It’s anticipated that as businesses continue to come to terms with the post-GDPR environment, overall sending volumes will show a drop in 2019. The data for 2019 (to be published in our 2020 report) will determine whether a potentially smaller but potentially more highly consented audience will show increased levels of engagement.

You can download the full 64 report from our website for free. It’s available now.

Get your copy of the 2019 report here.

Protected: The 2019 UK email marketing Benchmark Report