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Email: changes in customer engagement

Published on 02 Jun 2020

Who could have anticipated that the first quarter of 2020 would see the normal way of doing business disappearing almost overnight? With the sudden and unprecedented restrictions of movement imposed by governments across the world, companies were forced to adjust their communication or risk losing touch with their customers.

A large number of companies turned to email as the channel of choice to reach out to customers with information about their business continuity plans.

The result was a deluge of emails from brands wanting to make contact with customers and reassure them that new, digital ways of applying, buying and transacting would return things to business as usual.

Why did companies choose to use email?

There are many reasons why email was the channel of choice, such as:

  • Email is ubiquitous (4 billion people use it)
  • Most companies can put  an email campaign together fairly quickly
  • Information that is complex or lengthy can be presented in a customer-friendly way

While this uptick in email volumes, combined with changes in consumer behavior has affected email engagement rates, some of the changes are not what you’d expect.

How email engagement statistics changed this year and why

The change in consumer circumstances has led to changes in email engagement statistics.  Based on an analysis of hundreds of millions of emails, Oracle CX Marketing Consulting identified the following behavioral changes:

  • More people are working from home, which means no daily commute and a less structured workday. This has affected email open times, suggesting marketers should review the ideal times to send an email campaign.
  • Email volumes spiked in March 2020 and have been tapering off due to restrictions on industries like hospitality and travel. Retail and telecoms volumes are increasing, while financial services haven’t changed significantly.
  • Open rates increased, but click-throughs were low, possibly because many campaigns sent at the beginning of the outbreak were purely informational and had no call-to-action. Conversion rates (revenue attributed to email) are down.
  • Unsubscribe rates fell by more than 50%, which is counter to what you’d expect, considering the deluge of commercial email during March and April, and people’s need to free up their inboxes.

Email has once again proven its ability to drive engagement between brands and customers. However, communicators should take this opportunity to tweak their email strategy.

There is an opportunity to take advantage of the changes in consumer behavior driven by these special circumstances.

James Hall

James Hall

Commercial Director, UK

Let’s help you tweak your email strategy to align with your customers’ changing needs

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