The National Email Benchmarking Report Q4 2004, Wriiten By the Direct Marketing Association
This executive summary focuses on the results of the third National Email Benchmarking Survey conducted for Q4 2004. By incorporating the results of the two previous surveys we are able to show developing industry trends from April to December 2004.
The methodology for this research can be explained in four easy points:
1. Plan – looking at the focus area, definitions and key measures
2. Collect data – both qualitative and quantitative
3. Analyse – using a study team to establish benchmarks
4. Adapt data – reporting back to the industry
Some of the key findings from the research include:
• The number of emails sent increased each month through Q4
• Delivery improved this quarter, but non delivery rates caused by certain obstacles increased as well.
• Average mailing volumes increased for B2B and B2C, for acquisition and retention, but for some much more dramatically than others.
• In Q4, the largest industry sector for B2C emails was retail and for B2B was media publishing, a change from the previous quarter.
• Less Email Service Providers are sending only acquisition or retention mailings, and an increasing number are sending both.
HTML email delivery is a complex topic. Email addresses give some clues as to whether a recipient could receive an HTML email but may be misleading as to whether they actually did receive one. Using multi-part messages will give a reasonably good idea of how many people can render HTML as the open tag and click-through rates on HTML links will identify them. However if a user accesses their email through, for example, a mobile email device, the HTML code may not render properly. So, somebody with a Hotmail email address (that should be able to read HTML) may choose to read emails on a device that can’t read HTML (like a Blackberry). Also, more and more email clients are disabling the “open tag” that records if an email has been opened or previewed.
The problem is compounded in the B2B arena where Lotus Notes, an email client with HTML capability, often has problems rendering standard HTML code. Furthermore, use of cascading style sheets and scripting may confuse some email clients and the HTML message may not render itself properly. Most email clients now have some HTML functionality and we should see this trend continue into 2005, although we need to be aware of recipients being able to alter their settings and manage their registration profiles to accept text only versions.
Indeed, some clients do not wish to risk a poorly-built HTML email and may prefer to mail text formats for their more consistent rendering.
Online crime is a threat to all organisations with a web presence. Email marketing has a number of threats to contend with but the most severe of these is phishing. A nefarious spammer will ask people to validate their personal data through the insecure email medium and harvest this data. A number of email authentication programmes introduced in 2005 should restrict the success of these ventures but ESPs and clients need to be wary of these online crimes.
Ordering copies of the full National Email Benchmarking Survey Q4 2004
Members can view the full report for free
• Log on to the DMA website at www.dma.org.uk/research
• Enter your log in details
Non DMA members
The report costs £195+VAT per quarter (£395+VAT for all four issues) and access can be gained by contacting Victoria Bytel on
If you have any enquiries relating to the National Email Benchmarking Survey, please contact the DMA on 020 7291 3300.