Return Path’s Weekly Roundup

Posted by Tom Sather on

It should be of no surprise that email played a huge role in the success of Obama’s presidential win. Obama’s Director of Analytics shares his experience in running Obama’s website during the 2007 campaign. Their key goal was to convert every web site visitor into an email subscriber. They tested the call-to-action button and the splash page, and found the combination of a family picture and a “learn more” call-to-action generated the most sign-ups. This disproved their hypothesis that a video on the splash page would be the best (in fact, the video generated the worst response rate). The winning combo improved sign-ups by 40.6% which resulted in 2.8 million more subscribers, 288,000 more campaign volunteers, and an additional $60 million more in donations. They learned that every site visitor is an opportunity, and that one should always test, test, and test.

Read the article here: http://blog.optimizely.com/how-obama-raised-60-million-by-running-an-exp


ExactTarget released the executive summary of their Social and Email research. Some key items in the report:

• 58% of consumers start their day with email, and only 11% with Facebook.
• 56% of consumers aged 15-24 are twice as likely to subscribe to email of a brand as opposed to becoming a fan on Facebook.
• Social media fans have a higher retention rate than email.
• Most importantly, consumers view email, Facebook, and Twitter as collaborators, not competitors.

Marketers will need to spend time in 2011 on integrating all their digital marketing strategies rather than treating them all as separate entities.

Read the executive summary here: http://www.exacttarget.com/Resources/sff_exec.pdf


Marketing Sherpa released a case study showing how marketing automation helped grow a small business owner’s lists, boost registrations by 2096%, and grow their class attendance by 664%. They also experienced a 41% open rate and a 26% click-through rate. They did this through using offline capture of email addresses at conferences and SEO, and then automating the welcome email, event invitations, and registrations. Previously, this was all done manually! How many of you plan to implement marketing automation in 2011?

Read more here: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=31778


eCircle released part 1 of their European Social Media and Email Marketing study. Some interesting items of note:

• Only 8% of email newsletters have a SWYN button, Twitter users share more content,
• Email still has the highest reach,
• Outside of personal communications email is primarily used for making transactions and social network notifications, and
• 95% of respondents are checking email at least daily with 25% of them doing so on a mobile device.

Based on the info in this study, marketers should do the following:

1. Include SWYN links. Not only have past studies shown that it increases click-through rates on newsletters, it also increases sharing amongst subscribers’ networks.
2. If you’re going to include any SWYN links, do so with Twitter as those users share more, and also Facebook as it has the highest reach.
3. Email is mostly important for transactional messages, so marketers may need to focus on how to drive revenue from these as opposed to newsletters and marketing campaigns.
4. Mobile usage is growing so it’s imperative to make sure your messages can properly render across all mobile devices.

You can read the full report here: http://www.ecircle.com/en/resource-centre/studies/social-media-2010.html?WT.mc_id=ecircle_lp_en_socialstudypart1


Gmail released some interesting stats on Priority Inbox. They state that “looking at median time in conversation view, we noticed that typical Priority Inbox users spend 43% more time reading important mail compared to unimportant, and 15% less time reading email overall as compared to Gmail users who don’t use Priority Inbox.” They’re also starting to give feedback as to why mail was marked as important, like in the example shown that says “Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.” Note that they don’t say how many people have actually adopted Priority Inbox, so it’s hard to say how widespread this impact is being had for marketers. Even if Priority Inbox turns out to be something not widely used, the goal for every marketer is to get delivered the Priority Inbox as that’s a measure of engagement and relevancy. I would love to hear how other marketers have been dealing this.

Read the article here: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/priority-inbox-update-time-savings-new.html


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About Tom Sather

Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.

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