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New PPA & Adestra survey finds major opportunities through email marketing technology

Findings from the new UK Publishing Email Benchmarking Survey Autumn 2011, in association with the PPA, show UK publishers can improve email marketing response rates and ROI by concentrating their efforts on automation, social media and mobile.

This is the first time that such a survey has been conducted for the publishing industry. It has found some interesting statistics gathered from publishing experts across the sectors, core activities and differing organisation sizes.

Email marketing is a critical communications tool for publishers, a key weapon for retention and acquisition activity. In today’s competitive, challenging climate digital marketing is all about the data. This means acquiring it from various channels, integrating it with other business functions, using it, cleaning it, i.e. maximising it.

Henry Hyder-Smith, Adestra’s Managing Director comments: “Starting simply and building up to more complicated campaigns to utilise the power of your email marketing platform will pay serious dividends in the end – work with your ESP to focus on meeting your objectives”.

“We’re delighted this first report highlights such clear opportunities.  If UK publishers focus on improving automation, social media integration and developing a mobile strategy they will see improved engagement, response rates and ROI.”

Lack of Automation
Automation by publishers is low. Only 20% use subscription renewals and 33% use content automation. For a regular process that is key to generating revenue, you would expect automation to be at the forefront of publishers minds in order to maximise renewals and remove the manual element. Similarly, for content, it can be generated automatically to improve relevance and click through rates.

Introducing automated campaigns and automated content can really help publishers to deliver relevant content to their data, to drive engagement and also give the recipients what they want. There are many technologies available that can do this, and the end result is not only increased ROI, but also less time spent on email marketing.

Low Social Media Integration
The emphasis on social media is clear – as 51% are encouraging sharing on social networks and a further 26% are planning to implement this. However, surprisingly, 42% see email and social media as two separate channels entirely.  This could all change in the coming year as marketers are finding the two channels work together synergistically and can deliver that badly needed data.

What does the rise in mobile email mean for publishers? Well not a lot it seems”¦over half (52%) are doing nothing to change their approach to email marketing given the growth of mobile. Only 15% have a mobile strategy that includes email. Simple steps can improve results, such as making email templates Smartphone-compatible by keeping it to one column.

Marius Cloete, PPA’s Research Director says “Despite its status as a mature digital marketing channel, the medium of e-mail marketing is becoming increasingly sophisticated and more integrated in companies efforts to engage and market to their existing and potential customer base. This benchmarking survey run in conjunction with Adestra is a crucial element in enhancing the PPA’s understanding of how publishers are harnessing this tool in a rapidly changing environment. ”

With the next instalment of the survey due April 2012, this means for the first time trend data will be available for direct comparison period-on-period. This gives publishers a much more accurate picture of what is happening in the email marketing sector and identifies which emerging trends to exploit.  The survey included respondents across the publishing industry and was conducted in October 2011.