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Email Engagement Report - Q3 2022

INTRO

Every quarter, we collect email deliverability and engagement statistics from Omeda clients into a single report so you’re always up to date on email marketing trends and best practices. We’re analyzing data from more than 1.68 billion emails sent through our platform during Q3 2022, focusing mainly on open rates, click and click-through rates. In this report, we're going to:

  • Check in on open rates: Last quarter, we saw signs that open rates were stabilizing following the rollout of MPP. Did that continue in Q3?
  • Look at performance data by deployment type — promotions, newsletters, surveys, etc.
  • Review opens by device to see where your opens, clicks and conversions are coming from

Let's get started:

OVERALL COMPARISON

Benchmark Calculator has been updated with Q3 data. See how your metrics compare!

FORMULA REFERENCE

Delivery Rate = Delivery / Sent

Total Open Rate = Total Opens / Delivered

Unique Open Rate = Unique Opens / Delivered

Total Click Rate = Total Clicks / Delivered

Unique Click Rate = Unique Clicks / Delivered

Total CTR = Total Clicks / Total Opens

Unique CTR = Unique Clicks / Unique Opens

Unsubscribe Rate = Unsubscribes / Delivered

Complaint Rate = Complaints / Delivered

What's going on with open rates?

For the last year, unique open rates have been inflated — and unreliable — in response to the rollout of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) (learn more about that here). With that has come a proportional decline in click through rates. All of this has left marketers questioning how to evaluate their email marketing success and measure their campaigns over time.

However, there was a real return to consistency this quarter: We saw unique open rates rise by only 1.1% percent in Q3 2022, compared to 6.58% in Q2 2022 and 36.6% in Q1 2022.

That’s most likely because, a year into MPP, a critical mass of Apple users have already opted into the privacy protections. This makes sense: the drastic rise in open rates was driven by the mass influx of Apple users into MPP. As fewer new users opt into MPP over time, they will have less of an effect on overall open rates.

As the increase in open rates have leveled off, so has the proportional decline in click through rates. Unique CTR actually rose 1.1% in Q3 2022, reversing a yearlong decline.

The graph below illustrates how metrics are trending for overall deployments from Q3 2021 through Q3 2022. Note that Apple MPP was released in late Q3 2021.

eer qoq

So what can we take away from these findings?

  • It’s going to get easier to compare performance between campaigns: You may not be able to evaluate your current campaigns against emails sent this time last year. Open rates will always be somewhat inflated relative to pre-MPP times, but now that open rates are beginning to normalize, you can reliably compare the performance of two emails sent from April 2022 or later.
  • It’s also going to become easier to evaluate email content performance: Click through rates and open rates will always have a direct relationship, because the click through rate is calculated as a percentage of opens. That means click through rates are also trending toward a new norm. Like open rates, it’ll soon be easier to compare click-through rates across campaigns — and identify what kinds of messaging, design and calls to action resonate most with your audience.
  • Expect to see declining open rates in less popular deployment types: If the average open rate for all emails stops increasing, we’d expect the open rates in less popular email categories to decrease. This quarter, we saw this in multiple categories that typically get less engagement during the summer months, including surveys & research and events.

PERFORMANCE BY DEPLOYMENT TYPE

  New this quarter: You can interact with the chart to see the individual metrics by deployment type.

Performance in most categories is consistent from last quarter, but we've seen movement in a few categories. More on that below:

Events

(includes events, live conferences, virtual events and webinars)

There was a 2.64% decrease in open rates and a 4.68% decline in click-through rates for event-related emails. We can attribute some of the drop-off to seasonal trends, as well as normalizing open rates (as discussed earlier in this report).

Surveys and Research

(includes reader service, research and surveys)

We saw a 9.55% drop-off in open rates and a 4.68% decrease in click-through rates for surveys and research, which is especially notable given the overall increase in both metrics. Again, this is likely due to seasonal trends and stabilizing open rates.

OPENS BY DEVICE

In addition to our deployment data, we also looked at opens by device this quarter. This measures the number of opens that came from each of the most common devices from April 2021 to September 2022, including Gmail, Outlook and Apple.

We also tracked the number of opens that are "unreliable" due to inflation caused by MPP. As you'll see, the share of possible MPP opens relative to the total rises significantly after September 2021, when MPP was rolled out.

More people are opting into MPP

Opens from Apple Mail, which consists solely of MPP opt-outs, decreased by 21% between April and October 2022, which suggests that more Apple users opted into MPP in the past six months. This is another sign that open and click metrics are likely to stay relatively stable in the future.

Gmail is losing share of total opens - or is it?

Opens from Gmail made up 11.68% of total opens in September 2022, a 6.1% decrease from April 2022. At the same time, Mozilla 5.0’s share of opens rose by 4.3% — and it was the only device source to increase its share of total opens.

That brought up some interesting questions: Does this mean that more iPhone users feel comfortable using Apple Mail following the release of MPP? Does this mean that more people are getting iPhones, and using the Mail app sometimes as a result? Did people just really, really hate the new Gmail icon?

It’s hard to say, especially because it’s possible to hybridize the two services: Someone can use the Gmail app on their desktop for most of their email needs, then add their Gmail address to their Apple Mail app to use when they’re on the go. On our platform, opens would be attributed to different devices in each of these cases:

  • If someone opens an email on Gmail on their desktop, it’s recorded as an open on Gmail.
  • If they open an email on the Gmail mobile app, it’s also recorded as a Gmail open.
  • But if they open it on the Apple Mail app, it’s counted as either an Apple Mail or Mozilla 5.0 open (i.e., it’s attributed to an Apple device, not Gmail).

So it’s possible that the “dip” in Gmail opens isn’t indicative of a new preference for Apple’s email services, but an ongoing trend toward sending and answering emails on the go.

There’s no satisfying conclusion just yet, but it’s always worth paying attention to what devices your opens are coming from — and optimizing your subject lines, design and code for the most common sources.

In a post-MPP world, how can I differentiate between a reliable and an unreliable open?

Generally, open rates are still decent metrics in terms of deliverability, but, on their own, they are not reliable for measuring the quality of engagement with your emails.

If you still want to track open engagement, consider excluding opens from Mozilla 5.0 devices, since these are most associated with MPP and open rate inflation. However, other metrics — like click and visit data — will give you a more well-rounded, reliable understanding of true engagement.

CONCLUSION (TL;DR)

Even as open and click-through rates start to normalize, email marketing analysis and attribution remains complicated. So as always, we recommend optimizing for clicks. Because it is unaffected by open rate, click rate is the most consistent and reliable marker of email marketing success in a post-MPP world. (And since Omeda automatically removes click bots from reports, you can always trust that your click rates are accurate.) Looking for some quick ways to boost your click rate? Start by:

  • A/B testing your subject line and message content
  • experimenting with different graphics and calls to action
  • creating specific, behavior-based audience segments
  • removing disengaged subscribers from your list or running re-engagement campaigns to win them back

And as always, we’re here to help. As you look ahead to 2023, consult our blog for advice on email marketing strategy, analysis and execution. Or sign up for our biweekly newsletter to get our team’s latest and greatest insights.

For more information about how Omeda's award-winning platform can help you navigate your email marketing automation strategy, reach out to your Client Success Manager or sales@omeda.com.