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With the 2016 Econsultancy/Adestra Email Marketing Census recently published, we want to help you digest it by sharing some of the most interesting stats. Last time we discussed the time spent on different email activities. For this week we’ve chosen automation, as it’s another important facet of email marketing, being cited as the top or second most important attribute of an email service provider (ESP).

Success rates improve but slowly

When asked which email-related services they use from their ESP, both company respondents and agencies have shown an increase in the use of automated campaigns. Client-side marketers have seen an 18% uplift and agencies a fantastic 30% increase.

ESP services Agency 2016

In terms of how successful marketers perceive automation implementation to be, company respondents have seen a slight increase but have generally maintained the same levels as last year. Agency marketers, on the other side, have seen an increase of 63% (albeit from 8% to 13%) in the ‘very successful’ category. This could tie in with the fact that they use email automation more and have thus reaped better benefits from it.

Challenges to marketing automation adoption

Time, resources and data integration have remained the three main barriers to adopting marketing automation, as they have been for the past three years. At the same time, the perceived technology shortfall and lack of skills have both seen considerable decreases so at least the industry is ready for more automation.

Automation challenges company

Automation challenges agency

An interesting distinction occurred with agency marketers’ responses. While client-side marketers see lack of budget as the least important barrier to adopting automation, agency marketers place it at the top. This is followed by finding time to make it happen and lack of skills.

Use of triggers remains basic

Even for those companies that have started using automation, we can see from the range of triggers that the majority haven’t moved beyond basic ones. The top three responses for both agencies and client-side marketers are subscription or sign-up to website, automated response to website and lapsed customers. In terms of the differences between the two pools of respondents, the starkest contrasts are seen for:

Automation triggers 2016

The good news is that, as we turn to what marketers indicated as areas of interest for the future, company respondents pointed to creative uses of behavioural triggers as their number one priority. Using automation for one-to-one communication is the third one down the list, so we have high hopes those successful results rates will rise in 2016.