Email deteriorates as a marketing and sales channel

New quarterly EQ report from Monetate shows year-on-year decline in email referral traffic, revenue generation, customer conversion and website visits

Email continues to deteriorate as a marketing and sales vehicle and declined in terms of traffic and revenue generation over the past year.

According to the latest Ecommerce Quarterly report from Monetate, EQ3:2013: More bad news for email?, email referrer traffic represented 2.92 per cent of all website traffic during the quarter to 30 September, down from 4.03 per cent 12 months ago.

The report found revenue to leading ecommerce websites from email also dropped 17.7 per cent over the same period, representing 2.53 per cent of total revenue share by traffic source. In contrast, search made up 31.16 per cent, and social 0.8 per cent.

Search also outperformed email in terms of average order value by traffic source at $129.10 versus $100.48, respectively. Same-store visits from email were down nearly 20 per cent year-on-year, while the number of sessions from emails that included purchases fell 25.18 per cent.

Social meanwhile, chalked up an average order value of $81.44, but dropped 0.7 per cent year-on-year in terms of revenue share (0.29 per cent to 0.22 per cent in Q3,2013).

Latest conversion rates are another indication of email’s decline. Email represented 2.95 per cent of total conversion rates for the sites EQ reported on in Q3, down from 3.17 per cent in the same quarter last year. This is despite the fact that retailers sent 22.8 per cent more emails between Q2, 2012 and Q2, 2013, a recent Experian Marketing Services Quarterly Email Benchmark Study claimed.

“It’s clear that consumers are signalling a demand for greater relevancy and consistency from their inbox, and marketers who don’t heed this warning could find themselves fighting a serious uphill battle to retain some of their most loyal customers,” the EQ report authors stated.

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Email’s decreasing popularity as an advertising channel was reflected in the [[artnid: 532070| IAB Online Advertising Expenditure Report]], produced by PwC, which found email display advertising continues to trend downwards. Expenditure fell to a record quarterly low of $2.1 million in the three months to 30 September, a 63 per cent drop year-on-year.

What was also evident in the EQ report was mobile’s rising importance. Over the past year, tablet-based website visits have leapt from 8.45 per cent to 14.65 per cent, while smartphone website visits increase from 8.32 per cent to 10.06 per cent during the same period.

The EQ report is based on analysing a random sample of more than 600 million online shopping experiences using what the company calls ‘same store’ data across each calendar quarter.

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